The Patron brand has always had a strong connection to tequila craftsmanship. Their latest brand rollout, Roca Patron emphasizes this by taking a traditional approach to how tequila is made. The difference in Roca Patron is spelled out in the first part of the name. The word roca refers to volcanic rock, specifically the rock used to make the tahona stone, a two-ton stone specifically used to grind the roasted agave to create the juice that later becomes tequila.

What difference does the stone make? It’s partly about tradition and partly about flavor. In the past most tequila distilleries in Mexico used stone grinding. However the growing popularity of tequila has led to the need for increased volume meaning that many distilleries have opted for more expedient methods. But as many luxury brands have learned, slow and hand-crafted conveys an extra level of prestige. The tahona stone is a nod to tradition but also to the idea that slower can be better. In this case the agave juice and fibers ferment together for three days before the juice is sent to copper pot stills for distilling. The Roca Patron offerings are also aged in single-use American bourbon barrels, capitalizing on the current trend for bourbon flavors.

The tequilas, Reposado, Silver, and Añejo all are slightly sweeter than the traditional Patron offerings and have a taste that is woodsy and herbaceous, keeping a bit more of the concentrated agave notes. The proofs are all individually adjusted (84 proof for Reposado, 90 proof for Silver, 88 proof for Añejo) to allow the maximum expression of the spirit. Prices start at $70. The bottles are similar to the original Patron bottles, a classic case of if it isn’t broken don’t fix it; the handcrafted bottles are so popular that many people hold onto them and use them as decoration rather than consigning them to the recycle bin.