In this Pursuitist exclusive Q&A, we chat with Jose “Pepe” Hermosillo, the CEO and founding partner of Casa Noble Tequila, an ultra-premium tequila brand.
We’re particularly interested in hearing more from the Guadalajara, Mexico-born tequila master, given that agave-based spirits bars seem to be popping up left and right. Who better to walk us through how to sip (not shoot) this plant-based spirit than Hermosillo, a 7th generation producer and maker of the New York Times-named best silver tequila on the market?
Under Hermosillo, innovative concepts such as triple-distillation, French white oak barrels for aging, and most recently the Single Barrel category have been put into practice by other distillers. He’s even partnered with the likes of Carlos Santana (now a member of the company’s board) to launch his own single barrel tequila
Here’s a glimpse into our conversation:
What made you decide to begin your own tequila brand? Why enter the “ultra premium” market?
Back in the 90s, the premium and ultra premium category were just making strides in the international markets. It was a very exiting idea to create a new brand that represented Mexico and showcased the best of what tequila could be. Casa Noble was born from that – our mission was to always be true to the craft but with an ultra premium approach – from the finest agaves down to the packaging.
Casa Noble has a unique process, including triple distillation – how else are you continuing to innovate in the space?
Casa Noble Tequila was the first to do triple distillation in pot stills. To this day we are still involved with putting a spin on the process and looking at every angle on how we can improve. We created together with Consego Regulador del Tequila to define the Single Barrel category in tequila. We [were] one of the fist to go organic back in 2009 and then one of the first to get our “green” industry certification.
We love the idea of creating small batches and think it gives Casa Noble a step up in terms of quality.
We’ve seen a rapid rise in single spirit consumption and single spirit cocktails and specialty bars of late. How do you ensure that Casa Noble stands out when it’s on a list amongst 100+ other tequilas in a specialty tequila bar?
Casa Noble is about integrity of the product. Our approach to sustainability I believe is distinctive to Casa Noble, we are organic (no synthetic materials), green (have zero spillage and special care for use of our resources) and finally, Kosher, which guarantees we are not adding anything to our tequilas.
There’s still a misconception that tequila is meant to be shot, not sipped, or only served in drinks like margaritas … how do you enjoy your tequila?
I love my tequila neat at room temperature, but also have learned to love a good cocktail that enhances Casa Noble, from a simple margarita made with fresh lime and agave nectar to a Casa Noble Negroni. There are other wonderful combinations, as long as they enhance the aromas and characteristics of the spirit.
If you were to drink tequila in a “shooter” like fashion, what type of tequila should you look for? Should you serve with salt and lime? Over ice or neat?
I would probably never shoot tequila, but I believe cinnamon and orange complement better for those that enjoy shooting… lime and salt just overpower it.
What about pairing tequila with food? What foods pair best with the spirit?
Wonderful question, I love pairing tequila with a menu. A Casa Noble Crystal with its peppery, citrus, earthy character will go very well with ceviche, scallops… Casa Noble Reposado with its vanilla, chocolate, nuts will go amazing with a nice mole… Casa Noble Anejo with its dark chocolate, orange peel, almond notes will go perfect with a nice orange/chocolate desert. Tequila can work very well with many things!
Can one collect or age tequila, like wine? If so, is there a specific variety that could be stored?
There are many collectors out there. It is wonderful to see how amazing their array of tequilas are. Tequila will not change in the bottle; you can choose to store your tequilas for a long time and it will be okay as long as it has a good seal.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
There is one tequila that we are very exited to have. Casa Noble Joven is 100% Blue Agave, and aged only for 6 weeks. This is a very small batch product. It is very much a fun spirit for the creation of specialty cocktails!