Interior Designer Creates Mijenta, a Fine, Sustainable Tequila

In Mexico, people say “de buen gusto” to describe a delicious dish, an impeccably designed interior, or a person with an eye for art and beauty. Simply put, it’s both good taste and tastes good. Additionally, the collective of business-savvy idealists behind Mijenta, a fine tequila launched in September 2020, aimed to create a brand that also does good. The company’s founders come from different realms of expertise: Mike Dolan, former CEO of Bacardi, designer and environmental consultant Elise Som, and celebrated mixologist Juan Coronado conspired to make a best-in-class artisanal spirit, beginning with a search for the most pristine patch of earth in the Jalisco highlands to grow the healthiest agave plants. Next came their commitment to build an empowered, local community that could maintain timeless traditions of handcrafted tequila while protecting the ecosystem, leaving little-to-no carbon footprint. From concept to cultivation to cocktails, sustainability informs every ounce.

“We’re sustainable on every level,” says Som, who ran the interiors department at the firm of renowned architect David Adjaye before embarking on her own career and evolving into a sought-after sustainability adviser. “First and foremost, we take care of land and agriculture. Our agave has a great taste, also because of the richness of the land and the soil.”

With precise cuts to the heads and tails, Mijenta’s expert jimadores harvest mature, certified Blue Weber agave, a more responsible practice that patiently respects the plants natural 8- to 12-year growth cycle. Supporting this lifespan also respects the agaves role in keeping the air cool in this storied region known for its tequila-making and rich cultural heritage. Then and only then, the unfiltered agaves are slow cooked, patiently fermented and distilled in pot stills, and transferred into casks, boasting a blend of American white oak, French oak, and French acacia. The thoughtful process was devised (and is currently overseen) by renowned, Mexico-based Maestra tequilera Ana Maria Romero. She deftly and lovingly nurtures each, limited batch, like the recently released 6,500-bottle run of Reposado. As a nod to the name Mijenta, a spin on mi gente, or my people, Romero has said “each element of the journey has been crafted in order to celebrate the best of the land and its people—from the earth that graces us with its gifts, to our community who share their skills.”

Mijenta’s paper labels are fashioned from the waste of the agave plants. Their bottles are deadstock. “It was on the shelves, going to waste,” says Som. They were massively produced and not being used. We didn’t need to produce more, saving money and energy.”

The award-winning signature profile that elicits notes of caramel and vanilla comes from more restraint than interventions. Mijenta keeps to the roots—the old ways of cultivation and creation—resulting in a distinct terroir. True sustainability, like all good things, takes time. Blanco from $49; reposado from $69;

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