Karina Sánchez’s career is a glorious example of what happens when destiny shows you the way. Born in the region of Mexico where tequila originates from, she now stands atop an almost-20-year career in the world of the treasured spirit, most notably affirmed in her recent appointment as the global brand ambassador of Don Julio.
The lexicon of tequila is a rich and expansive one, paved by shot glasses and champagne flutes alike. But it’s firmly in the latter that the Don Julio legacy flows. As a premium producer of uncompromisingly authentic tequila, the brand has long transcended its humble origins since it was founded 81 years ago. Don Julio’s most premium offering, Don Julio 1942, is set apart by extraordinary taste and unparalleled craftsmanship. Rich notes of caramel and chocolate on the nose bloom into heady flavours of warm oak, vanilla and roasted agave on the tongue—the indulgent result of a masterful eight-year process.
It’s only natural, then, that Don Julio 1942 has earned a reputation for being enjoyed only at the most luxurious and sophisticated celebrations—such as the hyper-exclusive Oscars Vanity Fair after-party and the A-list-only post-Coachella party Neon Carnival. Cementing its status as a must-have for Hollywood’s A-listers, its parties have been graced by the likes of Victoria Beckham, Sandra Oh and Ke Huy Quan.
And who better to speak on the brand’s achievements than its first global brand ambassador? Here, Sánchez opens up on what makes Don Julio 1942 a favourite amongst A-listers, and why it is the only choice when it comes to luxurious spirits for momentous celebrations.
What is Don Julio’s origin story?
Don Julio González started the company from scratch, in a very small distillery back in Don Julio 1942. Five years later, he received a loan from a local merchant to build the La Primavera distillery in Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco. His first shipment of tequila was in 1975. In a nutshell, that was the start to how Don Julio became the top luxury tequila in the world. Today, it has become a universal symbol of good taste—as the nectar of choice for celebrities and A-listers at the most exclusive of celebrations. Each bottle of this rare liquid is the result of at least 8 years of dedication, ensuring it appeals to the most discerning of palates.
What first drew you to Don Julio?
I’ve been in the tequila industry for 17 years now. For my next step, I wanted to look at the most authentic brand—one that strongly resonates with people. Don Julio is the most Mexican tequila brand in the world, with a deep connection to its land. More than that, it is an aspirational brand that encapsulates the very idea of luxury. It is also my favourite tequila brand. After almost two decades of tasting tequilas, I still find that the Don Julio 1942 is the best tasting tequila out there. For all those reasons, I decided that I wanted to be a part of Don Julio’s team.
Don Julio 1942 was never meant to be sold. How did something distilled for Don Julio González’s personal consumption become a defining luxury tequila icon?
It is said that he kept special batches of spirits in his office. He was always trying to pioneer techniques in order to improve the tequila he made. Don Julio 1942 was created in one such experiment.
During the 45th anniversary of his tequila-making journey, Don Julio González decided to share a taste with his friends and collaborators. He was asked by a friend to produce a thousand cases of it but he immediately told them that it was a private reserve stored in his office. As the years passed, he continued to share the reserve with people on special occasions.
“Don Julio’s parties have been graced by the likes of Victoria Beckham and Peggy Gou”
What is one interesting thing about the brand not everyone knows?
Did you know that Victoria Beckham refers to Don Julio 1942 as “my friend Don” when she wants to invite her friends to toast or celebrate?
Don Julio is known for the care with which it produces its tequila. Why is it important to the brand that each bottling takes eight years to produce?
It comes down to the fact that Don Julio González himself was a perfectionist. He didn’t just love the spirit he produced, but the land and the agave as well. He used to say that great tequila comes from perfectly matured agave, which take six years to fully reach that stage. Factor in an additional two years of aging, and you have an eight-year process. Don Julio 1942 is the result of dedication, passion and passion. It is not by mere coincidence that it has grown to become the finest tequila in the world, and the drink of choice for celebrities everywhere. Each bottle of this rare liquid is the result of at least eight years of craftsmanship to ensure they appeal to the most discerning palates.
Don Julio 1942 is meant to be served in flute glasses and sipped, as opposed to being gulped from shot glasses. Why is this?
In a flute glass, the aromas take longer to reach your nose, as compared to in a shot glass, which is top-heavy and where the liquid is almost touching your nose. Drinking tequila in a flute glass improves the experience of how the tequila tastes. A great liquid should be enjoyed and savoured.
Lastly, what does it mean to you to be the first female brand ambassador in the world of tequila?
Being the first global ambassador of Don Julio is a huge point of pride to me. Significant progress has been made to achieve equality in the tequila industry over the years. After all, if you look at the celebrities who enjoy Don Julio, it’s not just men. This diversity needs to be reflected in the brand. I’ve been inspired by powerful women in the industry myself, and I want to inspire other women too. I want them to know that it’s possible to succeed in doing what you love, even while building relationships with your family and friends.
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