The Spirits are Calling. Will you answer? Join us July 15-19, 2015 as the international spirits community answers the call, returning for another spirited round of Tales of the Cocktail®.
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Wednesday, July 15 • 10:30am - 12:00pm
The Anatomy of Agave-Seductive Succulent

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Do you know where the complex flavors you love in mezcal and tequila come from? How much do you know about the chemistry that occurs in agave and how that chemistry translates into the agave spirits? Do you know that the sweetness of mezcal is created during cooking via a Maillard Reaction, in a very similar way meat flavor is generated in an oven? Are you keen to sample unique deconstructed flavor fractions obtained from mezcals, agave tissues and pulque? Have you ever wondered what the inside of a 'palenque' tastes like and why agaves are the base of the most complex white spirits on earth?

There is an intense love affair going on between bartenders and agave spirits from hand crafted tequila to smoky Oaxacan mezcal, and other innumerable expressions from all over Mexico, but what do we really know about the subject?

For the first time ever two of the world’s foremost experts on agave, Tomas Estes and Ivan Saldaña, will take the stage with their unparalleled knowledge taken from the academic and practical study of agave spirits. With a PhD in the topic of Biochemistry of the Agave Plant, seminar presenter Iván Saldaña will answer many of the fundamental questions on this special succulent. This seminar will offer rational and scientific explanations that will help to connect raw material, process and spirits made from agave.

You will discover the biological features of Mexico’s most famous plant, how it grows and what flavors are built from it. Subjects like agave plasticity and chemical adaptation (terroir effect), agave evolution and diversity will be covered. We will discuss other sources of flavor in mezcal. You will learn specifically, what impact wild fermentation and artisanal 'palenque' methods can have on the final spirit. You will be guided through the talk with experiential samples that will exemplify the core flavor and aroma groups in this distillate, to bring this detailed information to life in unparalleled depth.

avatar for Tomas Estes

Tomas Estes

Tomas Estes has been a bar and restaurant owner for 39 years, having founded the Pacifico Group in 1976. In addition, Tomas has been recognized twice by the Mexican National Tequila Chamber with the title of “Ambassador to Europe for Tequila” and received a Life Time Achievement... Read More →

avatar for Iván Saldaña Oyarzábal

Iván Saldaña Oyarzábal

Founder / Writer and Educator, Montelobos Mezcal
Iván Saldaña is a premier agave plant and distillation master, an expert in tequila and mezcal, and a certified doctor with a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Sussex in England. Born in Guadalajara, México, Iván has spent his life around agave, having worked on environmental... Read More →


Wednesday July 15, 2015 10:30am - 12:00pm CDT
Grand Ballroom South at the Royal Sonesta Hotel 300 Bourbon Street New Orleans, LA 70130