100% Agave Tequila from South Africa
Ok so we can’t call it tequila due to legal implications, but on a recent road trip we came across the discovery of the year. Azul, 100% Blue Agave, triple distilled “tequila”, made right here in Kimberley.
In South Africa most of the tequila we have on offer only contains 51% Agave, with the other 49% made up by fermentable sugars or cane spirits of which the results are a volatile concoction we blissfully consumed for instant memory lost during our student days. To find 100% Agave tequila we have to look at specialize liquor retailers and forked out a pretty penny, but that will hopefully change soon.
In 2011 Aubrey Schutzler established the new Azul Distillers in Kimberley, the only Agave distillery outside of Mexico. Agave distilled here compares with some of the world’s best. After being triple distilled to 88% it is blended and diluted to between 38 and 43% alcohol content. The Agave is then flavored with concentrated Agave syrup and infused with various flavors e.g. coffee, chili, strawberry, citrus and caramel amongst others. The chili flavor took us on a taste discovery we’ve never experienced before. Truly something very unique and a must for every bucket list.
Agave (commonly known as Tequila) is distilled from Agave Blue, a succulent, that grows in abundance in Mexico. The story goes that the pinas from Mexican Agave plants were used as ballast in a ship from the North Americas that beached here in South Africa. A schoolgirl threw three of these pinas in her horse’s saddlebags and these landed on their farm Wellwood near Graaff-Reinett. Today the plants can be found growing all over the Karoo and is known as “Garingbome” in the local lingo.
While these plants strive in the Karoo, we can only hope that Azul Distillery is the start of a blossoming new Agave industry in South Africa.