During the 2021 edition of the Top World Spirits Awards, the raicilla from Vallarta, Hacienda el Divisadero, obtained the highest recognition after receiving the Gold Medal, thanks to the quality of its accentuating flavor and aroma that exalts this distillate of the agave angustifolia known locally as Chico Aguilar.
of its accentuating flavor and aroma that enhances this distillate of the agave angustifolia known locally as Chico Aguilar. This distinguished contest was held in Paris, France and was made up by a jury of 16 members, including the renowned spirits and distillates taster Christopher Guitard and somaliers Miriam Huet and Mona Khalife, who qualified more than a dozen brands of spirits and distillates, choosing Hacienda el Divisadero's raicilla from Vallarta, in the hands of Jorge Luis Carbajal, as their favorite. In an interview, the businessman commented that Hacienda el Divisadero was founded in 1999, taking on the task of recovering the artisanal process of raicilla, from the moment of the jima to its distillation, currently producing up to 1,500 liters annually of the highest quality and aiming to spread the culture of this beverage as part of the identity of Puerto Vallarta and Cabo Corrientes.
Part of the 18 denominations of origin in Mexico, and exclusive to 15 municipalities in the state of Jalisco as of 2019, raicilla is a distillate, whose extraction dates back to colonial times and continues to this day, thanks to the dedication of raicilleras families. "I explain that the artisanal extraction of raicilla, which takes 30 days in total, is divided into five stages and retains the same procedure since. The 15th century11". Jima is done by hand with the help of axes and machetes to extract; it is the process of cutting the leaves and roots of the agave, until the pile or head is exposed. Hornada: it is an inverse conical oven with brick walls and underground, which takes 10 hours to heat up, the agave is baked in the heat of dead wood and volcanic stones, the cooking takes 72 hours.
The agave heads or "piña" are placed in wooden canoes and pounding is done with "crushed" wooden mallets. Fermentation: The previously pounded wooden heads are. Deposited in the fermentation rows. This process, with the action of yeasts found in the environment, takes 16 days -in hot weather it can take 12 days. Distillation : two distillations are carried out. The first distillation takes two days in an Arab alembic still used since colonial times. The second distillation is carried out in a still of Asian influence (Philippine still), used for four centuries with the variety of using copper pots instead of clay as it is done in XV11 in the antiquity this distillation takes a full day.
The raicilla is beginning to gain strength at a national level and thanks to recognitions such as the Top World Spírit Awards, the work of all the raicilleros is gaining importance at an international level. "It is an honor to leave the name of Mexico, the state of Jalisco and, of course, that of Puerto Vallarta and Cabo Corrientes very high with this worldwide recognition.