What is blue agave spirit?
Agave spirit is technically any distilled spirit make from the agave plant. There are many varieties of agave and many types of agave spirits. The most notable are tequila and mezcal, which are produced only in certain regions of Mexico and protected by Appellation of Origin Rights. These rights are an international agreement which give exclusivity to a county’s legacy products such as champagne, Roquefort cheese, Cognac and many others.
So even if a spirit is made from the same agave plant with the same methods, it cannot be called tequila. For Waikulu, we refer to our product simply as agave spirits.
-- IN THE WORKS --
What is agave?
Agave are long-leaved succulent plants that form a rosette shape when fully formed. The leaves have spiky tips and often produce a flower spire. There are over 250 species of agave which grow predominantly in Mexico and the southern U.S. The plants like day-long sun, and can handle severe heat and drought, but thrives in temperatures around 79 degrees (26c), which happens to be our average year round temp in Makawao!
Many people think the agave plant is a cactus, but it’s more closely related to the Joshua tree, yucca and asparagus. The similarities to asparagus can be seen when an agave becomes very mature and send up a giant stalk from its center that looks like an enormous stalk of asparagus.
The variety we use to make Waikulu is Agave tequiliana Weber var. azul, or blue agave.
How is Waikulu made?
Waikulu is made from 100% blue agave grown on our farm in Hawaii. There are no additives, flavorings or color added. Even the yeast we ferment the agave juice with is derived from the agave plant.
Harvesting is all done by hand, first by removing the leaves with a very sharp tool called a COA, then cutting the large center ball from its roots.
Once brought to the distillery, it is chopped up and cooked in a large steam oven for over 42 hours. This turns the plant starches into useable sugars.
The cooked pieces are then crushed to loosen the sugar from the plant fibers and water is added. The sweet juice is then pumped into tanks where our natural yeast is added to start the fermentation. The yeast consumes the sugar and turns it into alcohol.
The fermentation takes roughly a week to complete.
The juice, or mash as its called, is then double distilled to concentrate the alcohol and separate out unwanted compounds. Once fully distilled, the spirit has an alcohol concentration of around 130 proof (65% abv). It is then proofed down with filtered water to be bottled as SILVER, or placed in oak barrels to age.