On to la fábrica (the factory) at La Perseverancia where all of the magic takes place. Sauza and Cuervo are literally next to each other in the town of Tequila and after a few turns and twists the two giants of the industry appear. Immediately a wave of baked agave rolls through the senses. Unique on it’s own right and virtually indescribable with words, it may best be compared to the sour sweetness of a pale ale brewery, only this one is distinctly over-sweet and fruity with an undertone apples. The entire distilling process is an overwhelming feat. The operation runs like clockwork in the open-air environment and the dedicated employees painstakingly monitor each step along the way.
Even though it is a fully functional, high-production facility, spectacular sights are found around every corner. The courtyard that greets visitors is simplistically elegant with a fountain at one end and eight mature blue agave in three-foot tall pots. Serving as the perfect examples for their species, these towering beauties lead guests to a wondrous mural depicting the legend and history of making tequila.
The gardens of the traditional style hacienda named La Quinta are a wondrous display of native plants and trees. Ficus tower above, hibiscus, palms, and cannas line the paths through the gardens and lead to sanctuaries filled with traditional Roman Catholic sculptures. Over the wall the sight of Jose Cuervo’s storage tanks breaks the feeling of the oasis. Nonetheless, Sauza’s attempt at marrying old with new, tradition with technology is an impressive success.
Cuervo Mundo, next door to Sauza, is like wandering through a golden enclave of spectacular sights. The home of the most popular tequila sold in the United States has many facets that are all fascinating and in the style of high-class Mexican culture. Simple, yet complex, statues and artwork line the open-air corridors. A five-foot cuervo, or crow, that stands silently alone in the entry courtyard and tells visitors they have arrived, a bronze statue of two life-size tequileros sharing a bottle of their newest batch of tequila stand next to canopied tables waiting for lunch guests and a multi-roomed, elongated art gallery featuring the hand crafts of local artisans are only the beginning of the splendor found inside the distillery walls.
The highlight of Jose Cuervo’s distillery is truly their famous Reserva de la Familia. The cava, or vault, stores barrels of the famously smooth spirit that is the pride of this best selling name. The dark amber color with rich legs and the fruity, woody aroma of this tequila adds to the mysterious atmosphere of the rock-lined walls where it is kept. It is extremely smooth and each sip is filled with an undertone of new flavors and surprises. You cannot help but feel warm fuzzies while tasting this super-premium tequila that is reminiscent of a fine Cognac.
Another room in the facility chronicles the designs used for the Reserva de la Familia boxes. Each year Cuervo commissions a different Mexican artist to design a contemporary, often times abstract, piece that is used to decorate the boxes that contain that year’s bottling of this fabulous tequila.
Images from Tequila Country:
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary trip for the purpose of reviewing the industry. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.