Clase Azul is an exciting tequila producer based in Jesús María. The company was founded by Guadalajara-native Arturo Lomeli, who launched his Reposado in 2000. Today the brand produces four tequilas and a mezcal, all from organic, non-genetically modified agave. These are serious agave spirits, designed to be sipped and savoured.
Along with the sheer quality of its spirits, it is the company’s commitment to sustainability that sets it apart – earning them a Luxury Butterfly Mark, something boasted by the likes of Glenmorangie, Macallan, Château d'Yquem and more. In addition to reducing its plastic and water use, the company’s distinctive tequila and mezcal decanters can be upcycled, and Clase Azul tries to work with fair labour providers and sub-contractors. In 2012, Lomeli created a foundation for local artisans to showcase the crafts of Mexico. The producer also partners with NGOs and is involved in a programme called Inroads which aims to help students from impoverished areas gain an internship with the possibility of full-time employment.
Clase Azul tequila is produced in Jesús María, a small town near Arandas in the highlands. The altitude here imparts fruitier, sweeter, more floral notes, versus the more peppery, spicy, vegetal notes of lowland tequilas.
The production process is painstakingly slow. After nine years in the earth, their organic, non-genetically modified agave is harvested and slowly cooked in traditional stone ovens for 72 hours, before being crushed, fermented and double distilled. Their Reposado and Añejo spends eight months and 25 months, respectively, in ex-Bourbon casks, gaining honeyed vanilla notes to complement the earthy agave base. Clase Azul Ultra – their top tequila – is aged between five and seven years in ex-Sherry casks.
Clase Azul Mezcal, produced in Nombre de Dios, Durango, is made from wild, 12- to -15-year-old Cenizo agave which can only be harvested once a year. The Cenizo is slowly roasted using firewood and volcanic rock, then milled by hand using an axe. Next it is fermented using stone piles with red oak and double-distilled using an alembic copper still known as El Viejo.
The tequila and mezcal are both bottled in hand-made and painted decanters, which take two weeks for local artisans to produce. Symbols on the back and bottom of the Añejo decanter represent fertility, paying homage to the Mazahuas craftswomen behind them, in the town of Santa María Canchesdá.