Unboxing “Batch Ceniza” from Distilería Santanera

Once a year, our friends at Santanera release a special, limited edition bottling of intensely terroir-specific blanco tequila. Each batch is produced from agave grown by the Santanera team in a unique parcel in Los Valles, fully certified organic in both agriculture and production processes. Sublime encapsulations of a unique place and moment in time, these releases will never be repeated and have become instant collector’s items. Join Mexico Portfolio Manager Justin Lane Briggs as he unboxes the newly arrived 2023 Edition and find out why it’s known as “Batch Ceniza”!

Read below for the video transcript and complete descriptions from the packaging and the bottle.



00:00:00:21 – 00:00:11:22
Hey, there! I’m “JLB,” Justin Lane Briggs, I manage the portfolio of Mexican distillates for Skurnik Wines and Spirits, and today, we’ve got the newest release from Santanera Tequila.

00:00:11:22 – 00:01:03:23
This is super exciting. Every year, they do one annual release that is fully certified organic. The company began as a kind of agricultural project, they were growing the best possible fully certified blue Weber agave in the valley of Jalisco really trying to focus on the raw ingredient. They don’t currently distill it themselves, they’re building their own distillery right now, they broke ground on it last year and it’s almost done now. Right now they do kind of a nomad brewer’s approach, they take their finished, mature, fully organic agave to other distillers, and distill it themselves. They bring in their own equipment, their own fermenters, their own stills, the whole nine yards. They do all the labor themselves, they just use that space, and every year they have one release that’s fully certified organic that’s unique to one parcel of land, one unique piece of terroir and this one, the 2022 edition, “Ceniza,” this is extra special–I just misspoke. It’s the 2023 edition. Should we cut that or just start over? (laughs)

00:01:03:23 – 00:01:23:09
This one, the 2023 edition, just dropped. This one is called “Ceniza.” Every year they’ll have a fanciful name for the parcel–the terroir–that they’re expressing but this one, Ceniza, ceniza means “ash.” This one is referring specifically to the tragic start of this release but this is kind of a glorious finish to it, this is a celebration happening here.

00:01:23:09 – 00:02:03:10
All around their parcels these days, there’s a lot of issues like poaching, and also dangers like wildfires, so they have security cameras watching all of their parcels of land, and last January, their security cam picked up movement, fire, in the field. And it turns out that someone had dropped a bottle of soda and the glass refracted the sun’s rays, caught wildfire in the foliage of the field, and the whole field went up in flames. So they’ve managed to do this rapid-fire jima to harvest all their agave. It was a race against time, they managed to pull it off just in the nick of time and salvage a majority of the field, but all of it took this kind of burnt, ashy quality, so very, very unique production.

00:02:03:10 – 00:02:40:24
They decided that this one will be one of their organic releases that focuses on this specific parcel, this specific experience, this capturing of a moment in time. Every year’s annual release of Santanera organic batches comes in this beautiful, super, super dope packaging. There’s always a bit of a manifesto statement here, as well as this kind of all recycled packaging on the outside. I love it’s got kind of like a for me at least, it feels like it reminds me of like the way we used to package vinyl 7-inches in the hardcore scene back in the day you know, it’s got this kind of like this kind of crust-punk appeal to me, but on the inside there’s something really luxurious. Bit of a contrast in a really cool way.

00:02:40:24 – 00:02:49:27
So I’m gonna go ahead and open it up. You only get to enjoy this experience once, right?

00:02:49:27 – 00:03:27:11
Alright, so the 2023 Santanera organic “Ceniza” batch. Full manifesto on the reverse. Everything they do is certified Circle-K kosher, it’s all certified USDA organic as well as the Mexican organic system. They can’t certify most of their batches for the regular releases as organic, currently, because if you distill at someone else’s distillery and use conventional agave in the ovens, then they can’t certify the entire process so it’s a really special thing when they do these one-off annual releases when a whole process every step is fully certified, but I’m gonna go ahead and open up the box now.

00:03:27:11 – 00:03:43:18
It comes with additional statements about the parcel and the experience of producing it. A statement from Pablo Lara, the founder. And we’ll take off the little decorative slide here. More tech on the inside there. How nerdy do you want to get? We got it.

00:03:43:18 – 00:04:02:01
Then the bottle, so beautiful. The bottle also carries a lot of really beautiful detailing, a lot of the tech and production data, and we also have this lovely embossment on the back. The champagne cage, (I always struggle with these…) Just gotta go ahead and break the paper.

00:04:02:01 – 00:04:11:22
One of my favorite details about the bottle–this is a really unique design–they actually put in a little pour spout, a lip here, to capture all the drips so that when you’re pouring you don’t miss anything.

00:04:11:22 – 00:04:31:08
But, let’s give it a taste. Maybe the first taste on US soil? Maybe? Maybe not. 42.5 percent, harvested from the remains of the parcel, only 1,166 bottles made. Salut.

00:04:31:08 – 00:04:46:06
Delicate herbs, but also some like something kind of rooty, something kind of like um, like carrots after the first frost snap when it kind of like sweetens up, or maybe like maybe even more like parsnips but like kind of a sweet root veg, or maybe like sun-dried tomatoes. Kind of citrusy.

00:04:46:06 – 00:05:14:06
I’m gonna dive in. A lot of rich clay, and fresh rainwater, real mineral kick to it. I keep expecting there to be a burn, like a real kind of like you know, hence the name, an ashy quality. There doesn’t really seems to be– The very end, there’s this slight kind of like char, this slightly toasty note, but it’s very, very subtle. Otherwise very, very clean, very again mineral, and like herbal and a little citrusy, and sweet, a sweet vegetal quality.

00:05:14:06 – 00:05:33:10
It’s really, really pretty. And really distinctly different than any other release from Santanera thus far or really any other tequila that I’ve had, which is one of the exciting things about all of their organic releases that are so terroir specific: they’re always something distinctly different. It may not always be your favorite tequila, but often times it will be something quite unlike anything else you’ve experienced which is always cool in my book. Cheers!


The Tequila

Bottle: 0419 of 1166

Batch: Batch Ceniza

Blend: Distillation 2nd & 3rd

Collection: 2023 Organic Silver Tequila

Terroir: El Llano Grande (20°45’36.0″N 103°39’37.0″W) located in El Arenal, Jalisco, was planted in March 2016. Only supreme agave cultivated and cared by Siembra Santanera SAPI de CV was selected for Lote Ceniza.

Agave: 2016-2023 organic

Harvest: January 1st, 2023

Oven: Masonry oven (19 hours)

Yeast: Airborne

Seasonal Fermentation: Winter (February, 11 days)

Rested in Glass: 196 days

Agave cared by César Gutiérrez, Agricultural Manager; Ing. Carlos Beltrán, Field Manager

Manifesto Santanera:

“We are against the current industry guidance with quantity over quality, where the art of making tequila and beer has been replaced by chemistry. Our origin is organic, harmonious and alive, our virtue patience, the patience to wait for what time transforms and improves. In every blend we pay tribute to those 5 magical senses where the interpretation goes back to the origin, to infinity.”

Note from founder Pablo Lara:

“The quality of Santanera begins with its origin, the terroir. It not only relies on the flavors and aromas but also depends on reducing the impact we have on our environment. Our organic and regenerative agriculture practices allow us to give back to the earth a portion of what it gives to us.

“From the fermentation process we expose with classical music by Mozart 24/7, we have verified that the music causes a more dynamic and harmonious movement in the yeast, which results in the creation of new and better aromas.

“At Casa Santanera we believe in organic, natural tequilas free of any artificial coloring, flavoring or additive for you to enjoy.”

This gift box is made of 100% recycled paper. It’s not only an organic tequila, it’s a project where sustainability is present in every decision we make.


Wine and Spirit Label 1
Tequila ‘Organic Batch – Ceniza’
  • Blanco Tequila produced at Tres Mujeres in Amatitán, Jalisco (NOM 1466)
  • Maestro Tequilero: Sergio Cruz with Pablo Lara G. and Senior Distiller Manuel Rivera
  • 100% Blue Weber agave (A. tequilana) matured 7 years
  • Agave harvested from organic-certified single estate ‘El Llano Grande’
  • Cooked in a traditional brick & volcanic stone steam oven
  • Milled using a mechanical roller mill
  • 11-day open-air spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel
  • Distilled 2–3 times using stainless steel pot stills
  • Blended and chill-filtered before resting in glass
  • Only 1,166 bottles produced
  • Jay Kosher and Organic certified
  • 42.5% ABV

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