ATOTONILCO EL ALTO, Jalisco, Mexico – Guillermo del Toro, the Oscar-nominated and widely celebrated Mexican film director, designer and screenwriter, has brought his creativity to an unlikely canvas: a partnership with Patrón Tequila.
The "Patrón x Guillermo del Toro" collaboration is multi-dimensional, as it incorporates an exquisite physical package, two bottles (both extraordinary blends of Patrón aged spirits), and the ritual of opening and enjoying it. Highlighting the meticulous art and artisanal skill that goes into every bottle of Patrón, del Toro's vision for this project truly reflects his creative storytelling and hauntingly poetic beauty, much of which was inspired by his early years growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the vivid culture and tradition that surrounded him.
"Tequila courses through the veins of my native land, Jalisco. It represents a communion between spirit and earth, steeped in time and tradition, and a source of pride that roots us and defines us both," says del Toro. "Through the years, I have been offered many collaborations in designing and executing different products. I have never been tempted. This creation has been an adventure, and a privilege."
For the outer package that houses both bottles in the "Patrón x Guillermo del Toro" piece, he designed a stark, matte black cover that peels away to reveal a box with carefully detailed black and silver drawings. These drawings were inspired by the "jimadores," the skilled laborers in Mexico who for generations have hand-harvested and trimmed the Weber Blue Agave that creates tequila. The images depict skeletons (one of del Toro's favorite expressions of the Mexican cultural celebration of life and death) working in the agave fields, the tranquil land where tequila is born.
The case then opens and unfolds to expose a warm red and orange color palate inside, in stark contrast to the black and silver exterior of the box. The beautiful and mysterious labyrinth of imagery furthers del Toro's narrative, with illustrations of the Hacienda Patrón distillery in the Highlands of Jalisco, where agave is transformed into Patrón tequila.
The most striking detail inside the box is the centerpiece glass bottle, which upon closer examination reveals not one, but actually two bottles. It resembles what looks like a fantastical winged creature straight out of one of del Toro's iconic films. A limited-edition 750ml bottle of extra añejo tequila sits upside down as the "torso," while the second, a 100ml bottle of aged orange liqueur, sits on top, a skull exquisitely carved into the crystal. The spirit in the larger bottle is a remarkable blend of rare Patrón tequilas aged for an average of more than five years in a combination of different new and used oak barrels. Complementing that tequila is the smaller bottle, a first-of-its-kind aged Patrón orange liqueur produced from aged Patrón tequila.
"This project is the meeting of two masters, one of monsters and film and the other of tequila. Guillermo honored us by visiting Hacienda Patrón several times, and experienced firsthand that tequila is the result of a world of values, customs, and traditions from Mexican culture," says Francisco Alcaraz, Patrón's Master Distiller who created the recipe and process for Patrón tequilas and liqueurs more than two decades ago. "Guillermo also has a deep respect for the basic philosophy of our production process at Patrón -- 'Tiempo, Vida y Madurez,' which means Time, Life and Maturity. The time it takes for the finest agave to reach maturity, the time it takes to cook, ferment and distill the agave, and the time that's needed for aging in oak barrels. And 'life,' to use all of our senses to enjoy this noble spirit."
In addition to creating a spectacular tequila and a masterpiece presentation, del Toro also envisioned a ritual, or process, for how the tequila should be enjoyed. Alongside the bottle are two candles, which are designed to be placed on a drawer that slides out from the interior of the box. Lighting the candle flames creates an alter, of sorts, where in the middle, one of several bespoke cocktails, also developed in collaboration to highlight these unique spirits, can be set.
The extra añejo tequila in the "Patrón x Guillermo del Toro" blend is characterized by its bright, golden color, with an aroma and flavor of light honey, nuts and raisins, slight vanilla, and oak. The sweet and fruity balanced taste makes way to a long finish of agave and oak. The orange liqueur is medium amber in color, with a distinctly sweet aroma and taste of citrus, clove, light French toast, and caramel.
This partnership marks one of the first commercial collaborations in which del Toro has engaged outside of the entertainment industry, and among a handful of partnerships carefully selected by Patrón throughout its long history.
"Like Guillermo del Toro, we very carefully consider partnership opportunities and only collaborate on projects that perfectly align with our brand and resonate with our consumers. It's rare, frankly, to have an opportunity like this to work together with someone as talented and recognized as Guillermo, who had a keen interest in learning and gaining a firsthand appreciation for our artisanal process, and our commitment to quality and craftsmanship," says Lee Applbaum, Patrón's Global Chief Marketing Officer. "This is not just Guillermo del Toro slapping his name on a product. He doesn't do that, and nor do we."
The original sketches and initial artwork for the project, several years in the making, are included in a hardcover book, "Tomo de la Creación," inside the box. The volume also contains personal introductions from del Toro and Alcaraz, as well as information and images about the tequila production process, and cocktail recipes.
Only a very limited number of sets were produced, and are currently available at fine spirits and liquor retailers across the country for the suggested retail price of $399.
About Patrón Tequila
From hand-harvesting the highest-quality 100 percent Weber Blue Agave, to the traditional, time-honored distillation process and individual labeling, numbering, and inspection of each bottle, Patrón tequila is crafted with meticulous precision and care. Though Patrón has grown to become one of the most-recognized and respected luxury spirits brands in the world, it is still exclusively produced in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, in the same small batches and with the same commitment to quality and craftsmanship. For more information about Patrón tequilas and liqueurs, please visit www.patrontequila.com.