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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Siete Leguas, a Premium Tequila

Atotonilco, Jalisco, Mexico

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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Siete Leguas, a premium tequila, is made in the Mexican Highlands town of Atotonilco El Alto. It is located in the "Golden Zone" of the tequila-making towns of Atotonilco, Arandas and Jesus Maria.

Years ago, we had already visited the town of Tequila and learned how Mexico's national drink was made. But we wanted to pursue the tasting of some of the best tequilas in the world, so off to the Mexican Highlands we went!

Siete Leguas Tequila Fabrica, Atotonilco, Mexico

The Siete Leguas Tequila Factory

 

 

 

Our personal story of tasting Siete Leguas begins a few years before.

Billy and I were at one of our favorite beaches on the Mexican Pacific Coast, when we passed by a collection of tables at Chico's Restaurant. The Grandmothers, Mothers, Sisters and Aunts had already gone home, but the Grandfathers, Fathers, Uncles and Sons were still at the table, reverently sipping on a family traditional tequila.

"The Best in the World!" an older gentlemen confidently stated.

"Here. Sit with us and try some."

The name of the tequila, Siete Leguas, was named after Pancho Villa's horse who was known as a distance runner. This tequila would go the distance, just like Pancho's horse, they assured us.

So we sat down with this family of gentlemen of all ages, and sipped on a legendary beverage.

Agave fields in the Mexican Highland Golden Triangle

Agave fields in Mexico's Golden Triangle region of the Highlands

Tales were told and stories of Pancho Villa's horse and the education of their sons were shared.

It was this night that we decided, come heck or high water, we were going to the Siete Leguas distillery.

Located in some town whose name we couldn't pronounce (Atotonilco), we found that it was only a few hours from our own adopted home town of Chapala.

The decision was easy, but finding the time to go, and arranging for a tour proved to be a challenge.

Fresh pinas right out of the field before roasting, Siete Leguas, Atotonilco, Mexico

Fresh agave pinas (pronounced PEEN-yas) right from the fields

For months we called Siete Leguas to set up an appointment for a tour. This, that and the other was explained to us, but translated, the answer was "No."

What?!

But we love your tequila! People in Mexico already know about it, why not let Americans and Canadians hear of your premium brand?

"Well, um... No."

This made no sense to us, so we decided to simply arrive and take our chances.

These pinas above are about 6 years old, cut in half before they are roasted. In the center is a flowering stalk, called a quiote, and it is removed to prevent a bitter flavor seeping into the fermenting tequila beverage.

The heart of the pina has no fiber and is able to be eaten easily after roasting. the outside sections growing from the heart have more sugar to them, but they are fibrous and you must scrape these fibers between your teeth to get the agave. Whenever you go on a tour, you are given a piece of roasted agave to sample.

Both parts are used to make the tequila, balancing the sugars between them for the flavor the maker wants to express.

A worker in front of a pina oven at Siete Leguas, Atotonilco, Mexico

A worker in front of a pina oven

Well, we did arrive to the factory, and knocked on a closed royal blue metal door that was flush to the sidewalk.

A worker opened it up to us, and we explained our situation to him. He kindly allowed us to stand inside, and he spoke with Bertha, the tour guide and manager of Siete Leguas. Again, Bertha said "no" to him about us, but left some telephone numbers for us to call.

Grateful to the worker, we thanked him and said our good byes.

Little did we know, but as we walked out the door of this section of the factory, there was Bertha giving a tour to about 15 people! We learned of this the following day when we met her.

It's all very strange...

traditional tahona made of volcanic rock, pullled along by the donkeys.

A volcanic stone wheel, called a tahona, is pulled by donkeys

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These tahonas can weigh up to 3 tons each. They are pulled by oxen or or in this case, donkeys, to smash the pina pulp to extract the aguamiel or sweet honey water from the roasted pina.

This is the traditional manner for centuries in which the pinas have been crushed to release that coveted liquid.

As you can see here, the pina has turned brown due to the roasting in one of the 8 ovens that Siete Leguas has. This crushing goes on and on until the worker sees the pinas have given up their golden honey.

Then these dry bits of pina are put back into the agave field for fertilizer.

Two donkeys pulling a tahona at Siete Leguas, Atotonilco, Mexico

Donkeys pull the tahona as a worker arranges the shredded pina into place.

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The donkeys were hooked up to the tahona and began their circular walk, over and over again. The worker arranges the shredded pina to be in front of the wheel so it will be crushed, releasing its juice.

Some of the minerals from the volcanic tahona get mixed into the aguamiel, adding a "bottom" flavor to the juice that will be fermented into the tequila. In some complex tequilas, you can taste the minerals from the tahona!

As you can see, we finally made our way inside the distillery through Bertha, the tour guide. We joined another four people who were also on tour.

Maybe the "No's" we received were simply to add mystique to this already enigmatic tequila.

Fermentation area of Siete Leguas, Atototonilco, Mexico

Fermentation area of Siete Leguas

Siete Leguas ferments the pina juice naturally, using no yeast. Instead they utilize the natural bacteria present on the biomass.

Each distillery has a different approach in order to pull from the agave plant the flavor they find to be the best.

Bertha said Siete Leguas has about 100 employees, including the 4 chemists, the truck drivers, the workers in the fields (the jimadores), the men who cut and carry the agave pinas, the office personnel and the miscellaneous people it takes to run the distillery.

The agave pinas can weigh 20-40 kilos each, so the men who have cut them and then form a chain line to get the pinas into the ovens are quite muscular.

a special aging barrel at Siete Leguas, Atotonilco, Mexico

A special aging barrel at Siete Leguas distillery

 

 

 

Even though we were allowed into this particular tour, the mystery continued. We were told we were not allowed to take photos of anything other than the donkeys and the tahona.

The other four tourists we had joined had their cell phone cameras snapping away, but it was only when we brought out our "real" camera that Bertha admonished us over and again for breaking the rules.

So... our photos to share with you are limited...  (the ones Billy sneaked by Bertha).

We highly recommend Siete Leguas as a premium tequila, ranked #5 out of 106 at Tequila Matchmaker.

Siete Leguas tequilas, Atotonilco, Mexico

Some of Siete Leguas tequila choices

Here you see an advertisement for Siete Leguas tequila in Blanco, Anejo and Reposado.

If you see this brand in your liquor store, be confident to purchase. A premium tequila, the flavor is smooth and complex, one to be sipped from a copa. This is not to be thrown back to your throat and followed with a bite of lime and salt.

Oh. No.

Not ever.

Enjoy!

For more information, photos and stories about Mexico, click here

The most extensive tequila database on earth, Tequila Matchmaker

For more information on tequila, where to find it, how to taste it, and how it's made, click here

VIDEOS, VIDEOS, VIDEOS! See Mexico for yourself! Beaches, Bars, Babes, Great Food, Live Music.

 

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About the Authors

 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

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