Drink Life Beverages

Tequila Filtration – The Good

Tony Salles, Master Distiller at tequila El Tequileño, had a dilemma

He knew that this was because the fatty acids that hold aroma and flavor components, called esters (

“We’ve mostly sold in Mexico, where it is warm, so in 60 years of producing we never

However, Salles believed this process would change the profile of his tequila

“If you scrape the fat from the top of the broth and reheat it, it will not

Producers often use paper, cellulose (a more porous plant-based material), or activated carbon, to remove any unwanted

It can also improve the texture, and create brilliance in the tequila

But filtration is rarely talked about as an essential step in tequila making

of Tequila Cascahuín, who runs the distillery along with his father, Salvador Rosales Sr

Some methods are known to cut the alcohol burn, or make the tequila smoother for drinking, such

But it may also take a little bit of the aromas and flavors away, making the tequila

The recent rise of cristalinos – aged tequilas that are filtered until they appear clear, like a blanco –

While filtration is the defining step in the process for cristalinos, in other expressions it is considered

These have different capabilities for “adsorption”, or the concentration of molecules on the surface

Micropores help in removing odors, whereas macropores remove stronger colors and pronounced flavors, Espinosa de los Monteros

But all carbon filtration will change the profile of a tequila to a certain extent, depending on

So when it came to the issue fatty acids, he was thinking more about education

It is not the same as vodka, which is valued for its neutrality,” Salles says

But to address his customers’ comments, he ran an experiment using cellulose to filter his “ordinario” (the

) The cellulose vendor assured him that filtering at this stage would eliminate the issue of solids forming

) His team tasted all the samples against their normally produced blanco

Although Tequileño decided not to filter their ordinario, a number of other producers choose this method

“We did a lot of trial and error,” says José Valdez, General Director & Maestro Tequilero of

“For us, carbon filtering and cold filtering removed too much flavor

(They too recently started producing cristalinos, and use carbon filtering for those products

At Distilleria Cascahuín, they steered away from cold filtration of their core Cascahuín line in

“We use cellulose cartridges to filter by gravity, not even using a pump, so it gently removes

They use cold filtration for some products produced for export, except when it comes to Cascahuín

For finer tequilas, they use a gentle filtering method, allowing the liquid to pass through cellulose using

“These products usually don’t need much filtering because we take care through every part of the

However, when it comes to more economical products, he may pump the tequila through cellulose and activated

“It also depends on the product, and the region (where it is sold),” says Cruz

Will education around tequila production lead customers to see solids floating in their bottles as a sign

We were fortunate enough to taste Tequileño’s filtered samples from their experiment

– Comparing the 100% ordinario filtered sample against their normal product, both the aroma and flavor are noticeable muted

There is also a mouthfeel change: It smooths it out somewhat, but also flattens it

– Even at 25% filtered there is a slight flattening of the aroma, but less affect on the mouthfeel

However, if it is a well-made tequila you may lose some complexity

– Is it OK to put my tequila in the freezer? Our opinion? No

Doing this could cause the natural fatty acids in the tequila to separate out

– My tequila is cloudy/has particles it it? Is it still good? Usually, yes

If there are blue particles floating at the top, that’s usually copper from the still

When we see this happen we just carefully pour it out of the bottle and continue drinking