Four Reasons Why Patrón Tequila is an Affront to Mexicans--And One Reason Why It's Not

patron
Something called National Tequila Day happened this past weekend, and one PR hack or another asked us to write about it promoting some brand or other. No go. However, it does give me an opportunity to bash the Lola Gaspar of the tequila world: Patrón, elixir for fools, favored by those who still think tacos come best in a combo plate. Patrón is an affront to everything good and wonderful about the drink, at least to us Mexis. Let me count the ways:

1. The taste:
Don't buy the company's hype about ultra-premium this or double-distilled that: the flavor of Patrón, from its "silver" to its "Gran" is consistently that of mineral water spiked with a drop of agave nectar. I've tried enjoying it various times and can say with authority it bests only Sauza and Jose Cuervo on the tequila goodness scale--and the latter two are legalized rotgut.



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2. Patrón is just another example of wily gabachos making fortunes off of Mexican culture: You have to admire the business acumen of Patrón founder John Paul DeJoria (also a co-founder of Paul Mitchell The School). He built a cult around a brand of a product that has existed in American restaurants for over a century, and something Mexicans have drank since Mexico's foundation, and made it seem new to gabacho consumers. Why couldn't a Mexican do this? Why did it take gabachos to make tequila hip? DeJoria now joins Glen Bell, James Pace, the founders of Chipotle, and William Gebhardt as Americans who made millions selling their countrymen safe imitations of the real pinche Mexican deal. Mexicans, as usual, slept under a cactus on this business opportunity.

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3. Patrón spawned a wave of imitators that complicated a classification system that worked just fine before: Before Patrón began its ultra-premium lies, tequila fell under three classes--blanco, reposado, and añejo, referring to how aged each category was. It was another category, oro, that inspired too many bad tequila memories for coeds during the 1970s and 1980s.

Then came Patrón, boasting their bottling process created an "ultra-premium" blend. Um, that was reposado, nectar of the gods. But because American companies, by default, are more trustworthy in the eyes of gabacho consumers than Mexican companies who have been at it for centuries, rivals who should know better began unveiling new lines, leading the Mexican government to create an extra añejo category in 2006. By the way, the difference between extra añejo and añejo is negligible.

4. Patrón is proof that Americans will never truly trust Mexicans on matters of taste on Mexican food: Somewhat related to #2, and definitely related to the luxe-lonchera craze of today. Simply put: American consumers didn't embrace tequila until other gabachos said it was okay to drink, just like jokes about Montezuma's Revenge reigned about Mexican food until Taco Bell spread across the land and Diana Kennedy began selling her cookbooks This trend really started with Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo brand, but Patrón's aura of "coolness" sparked the latest tequila fad. This point, however, is more an indictment of the American mind than against Patrón. Which leads us to...

One reason why Patrón is okay: DeJoria, by all accounts, is a mensch. "Success unshared is total failure," he told Forbes, and the man does give to charity while keeps his politics to a nil. At least DeJoria hasn't turned into another fast-food conservative blowhard ala Karcher, Kroc, and too many others...yet.


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2 comments
loucaruso
loucaruso

I taste tested many blanco's and I'm sorry but I like patron. I even like it "slightly" better than siete leguas, and they have a great reputatuion and of course history together. Patron has an oily, very smooth, soothing and pleasant taste.I don't know what this article means when it claims "the flavor of Patrón, from its "silver" to its "Gran" is consistently that of mineral water spiked with a drop of agave nectar". I dont know what they do to get the taste different but it is different than most other tequila blanco's and although I agree it is overpriced, I do love it. I wouldn't even use it to mix, as I love it neat. Listen, it sucks that an american, went down to mexico,borrowed siete leguas' factory, kept the headquarters in Las Vegas,promoted the hell out of it,made a fortune and made it seem better and convinced americans that THIS was tequila, but for these reasons I believe mexicans may be jealous and this is why they smear patron.Trust me, I'm not getting paid by John Deoria, but I believe this to be the case.I'm not saying it's the best,but it's very good.- LONG ISLAND LOU

thegoid
thegoid

I've been an avid drinker of Harencia de Plata for several years. I recently tried Patron Silver and I must say, it tastes very smooth and is honestly a very good tequila. It has no resemblance to Jose or Sauza in any way whatsoever. I don't agree with the price, since Harencia is about half that of Patron Anejo, but for you to say it nothing more than swill I must say you are incorrect. Seems to me you are basing more of your analysis on politics than actual Tequila quality, which is wrong. Maybe it's an affront to Mexicans, but I think more so the fact no one even understands the difference between Mezcal and Tequila would be the larger affront. Bottom line, alcohol companies, just like any other company, will try to find ways to charge outrageous prices for basic ammenities. You should be upset with your fellow man for putting up with this BS in the first place. But in the end, hardly anyone cares.

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