Retirement; like your parents, but way cooler
In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Tequila Buying Adventures
in The Golden Triangle
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
Imagine living in the best
wine regions of France, California, Spain, Italy, Chile or Argentina.
Imagine any birthday,
wedding, anniversary, graduation or celebration of the markers of life observed
with an appropriate selection from the best of the region's distilled grapes.
Now, imagine you live in
Triangle of Tequila in Mexico, where the best tequilas in the country are
We live about 2 hours from
our favorite tequila finca,
in Jesus Maria,
The route we took, Chapala to Arandas,
We have been to
El Pandillo previously and wanted to
visit again, bringing a world-traveling friend of ours, Paul.
But first, we decided to have lunch in
Arandas, one of
the 3 cities named in that famous Golden Triangle of Tequila-Making.
We were going to make a day of it, and hired
our private driver, Arturo, for 2,000Pesos for the day (about $100USD).
Leaving about 10:30 in the morning of a
glorious day, we arrived in Arandas,
Mexico about 2 hours later.
Church of San Jose Obrero
We had a bit of time to kill, and the Church
of San Jose Obrero in the center of town is stunning. It was worth another look
before we went to our restaurant for lunch.
This church was begun in 1879 and is still
under construction today! Just as in the "olden days" when a large church was
being built, those who started the construction were not alive when the building
was finished. The back of this church still had rebar and was sectioned off to
prevent accidents to passers by on the sidewalk.
Inside San Jose Obrero
Church, Arandas, Mexico
The inside of the church
was elegant as a service was being held. Music echoed throughout.
Billy and Akaisha in front of the church
As many of the churches of the time when San
Jose Obrero was built, this one reflects the Notre Dame style.
After about 20 minutes or so of wandering
around the Plaza, Arturo took us to our chosen restaurant for lunch, Rincon De
Since this restaurant was an Argentine grill,
it was named after a resort city in the foothills of the Andes in Argentina,
famous for its skiing.
Bread with dips at
Restaurant Rincon De Bariloche
It was 1pm - early for any
self-respecting Argentine to be eating - so we entered an empty restaurant.
The menu was varied, as we
expected, with cuts of meat, fresh seafood, salads and pastas.
After giving the waiter our
order, fresh warm herbed bread with several dipping sauces was brought out.
Notice the black ball next
to the sliced loaf. This is butter, rolled in ashed habanero pepper skin. It
sort of looked like a truffle, so we asked about it.
Ojo de Bife
Billy and I both ordered
the Rib Eye, our friend Paul ordered the Vacio, and our driver wanted the
Notice the branding mark of
capital "B" on the zucchini - "B" for Bariloche. The top of the sirloin
hamburger was similarly branded.
Our bill for 4 people
Before tip, our bill for 4 people came to
We were not here to wine and dine, and needed
to get going to the finca, as they close to the public at 4pm.
The Rib Eye was $16USD per portion, the Vacio
(a flank steak) was about $15USD, and the sirloin hamburger was just over $9USD.
Glasses of the house red were about $4.50USD each.
G4 Anejo tequila, El Pandillo, Jesus
Arturo drove us to El Pandillo distillery,
where Felipe Camarena, his son, Allen, and Oscar, the Chemist were waiting for
us. We have been through the tour previously, but our friend, Paul wanted to see
the famous tahona, Frankenstein.
So Allen gave us a quick tour.
G4, representing the 4 generations of the
Camarena family members making this fine tequila, is their special brand.
Raw agave pinas at El
Pandillo distillery, Jesus Maria, Mexico
When the hearts of the
agave plants are harvested out in the fields by jimadores and brought to the
distillery, they weigh about 30 kilos each.
Jimadores must cut them in
half before they are placed into the stone ovens to cook for 22 hours.
Jimadores slicing unroasted pinas with
their coa de jimas
Jimadores use a special
cutter called a coa de jimas, or simply "coa."
The way the agave is
harvested has remained the same for several centuries, and jimadores have been
using the same tools and methods for generations.
Most people don't know
this, but without these skilled workers, tequila production wouldn't be
That's because jimadores
are able to go to the unreachable destinations and hillsides where the agave
grows. No truck could hang on such a slanted hillside as some of these locations
Jimadores removing the flower and bitter
leaves from agave pina
At this time in history,
there is still no machine that can do what jimadores do with their coas. This
skill is passed on from generation to generation, and they take pride in their
Cuts to the pina have to be
made at a certain angle, so that the spines don't get roasted along with the
center pina, giving the end product a bitter flavor.
It takes a team of six or seven people about
four hours to fill a 20-ton truck with agave, which is then taken to the
distillery where it is cooked, crushed, and fermented into tequila.
Raw agave pinas in oven
Jimadores are also
responsible for quality control. They select which agave plants — those that are
the healthiest and highest quality — to harvest. Depending on the policy of the
finca, agave plants are ready to harvest between 8 years and 12 years old.
Some fincas want to "push"
the sugar, and others want a cleaner, finer, less sweet taste.
Roasted agave pinas in wheelbarrows
Pinas are loaded into the ovens and water is
sent in to remove the dirt and debris. This takes about 3 hours to have that
process finish and the water drained.
Then the heat comes on from various locations
in the stone oven - both above and below - to make heating more consistent. The
pina cooks for another 22 hours before being removed and placed into these
At this point, the agave sugars are present,
and any of these leaves can be pulled and eaten like a caramel honey treat.
One simply pulls the agave fiber through your
teeth, scraping the sweetness out.
The famous Frankenstein Tahona, first of
The cooked pinas are then put on a conveyor
belt up to a shredder where they are
pulverized, and put into this flat holder, with drainage on the sides for
the "agua miel" (honey water) to pass through.
With water in the center to add
weight, this 1 horsepower mechanical tahona weighs about 8,000 kilos! It takes 4
minutes to travel one pass over the fibers and 4 minutes to return.
The juices are squished through, and then
drain into tanks to be prepared for fermentation.
In the "olden days" a large volcanic rock
would be pulled by mules over and over in a slanted circle to crush these agave
fibers. Today, the mechanical tahona is used by this distillery.
Vats to hold the liquid from the crushed
El Pandillo distillery prides ittself on its
ecological and practical use of energy. Almost everything is gravity fed and
there are only a few places where pumps are used.
Copper is preferred in the
construction of a still and is an excellent conductor of heat:, dispersing it
evenly across the entire surface of the metal. This creates a more even
Copper will not put harmful
chemicals into the final product, and tequila masters say copper simply tastes
better. It has to do with a chemical reaction with the yeast, canceling out the
sulfur taste which would add a bitter flavor to the tequila.
Master Tequila Maker,
We have met and spoken with
Felipe several times. This man is passionate about his work, and his product. He
knows every facet of the process, has been taught by his own father, who was
taught by his father... and Felipe is teaching his own sons the business, hence
G4, the 4th Generation.
G4 and Terralta tequilas
Felipe has often told us the the #1, most
important ingredient in making tequila is the water.
His finca has 3 sources of water to continue
production: collected rain water, pure spring water, and deep well water.
Depending on the mix of the waters in the
distillation, the profile of the product changes significantly.
They will use the same agave plants from the
same fields, but mix the water differently, and the flavors of the tequilas will
We came to taste some new tequilas since our
last visit - G4 now produces an anejo and an extra anejo. We also wanted to try
the Terralta anejo and extra anejo as well.
Some tequila factories try to "wow" customers
with fancy bottles of different colors, shapes, sizes and shades. Felipe has
said "I'm not in the business of making fancy bottles. I'm in the business of
making great tequila."
Billy, our friend Paul,
Here we are, looking
forward to doing some tasting.
Oscar, the Chemist at El Pandillo
Oscar lays out the two brands of tequila -
Terralta and G4 - ranging from the blancos, reposados, anejos and extra anejo.
We could choose what we wanted to taste in
order to make a purchase.
In the States, Terralta Blanco runs about
$40USD per bottle. Terralta Reposado, about $53USD per bottle, Terralta Anejo
around $60USD and Terralta Extra Anejo around $120USD per bottle.
G4 tequilas with tasting
In the States, G4 Blancos
go for $44USD, G4 Reposado about $50USD, G4 Anejo about $90USD and G4 Extra
Anejo up to $140USD.
This was our order, paying Mexican pricing
and with a discount.
Total came to about $660USD.
Cash payment for tequila order
We thought it would be fun to lay the cash
out for our order and take a photo of it.
We don't get up here very often, so we
We highly recommend that if you are in the
Highlands of Mexico, in the Golden Triangle area of Tequila Making, that you
visit this distillery.
Distillery in Jesús María, Jalisco (Nom #1579)
For more information,
photos and stories about Mexico,
For more information on
The most extensive tequila
database on earth, Tequila
VIDEOS! See Mexico for yourself! Beaches, Bars, Babes, Great Food, Live
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.
Retire Early Lifestyle Blog
About Billy & Akaisha