The best tequila I've ever had was in Guadalajara, Mexico, where the brand ambassador for Olmeca Altos popped open a rare bottle of tequila that isn't available here in the U.S. It was made with 100% Tahona-ground agave, which means that an old two-ton wheel made of volcanic rock (called a Tahona) was the only tool used to macerate the agave, as tequila-makers did for centuries. High-end tequila brands like Olmeca and Patron already sell tequila made with some blend of Tahona-crushed agave and machine-macerated agave, but now Patron has released a small-batch line of 100% Tahona tequila, sold here in America. And it is exceptional.

Only a handful of tequila distilleries in Mexico use the Tahona process, which is more time-intensive than machine maceration. (The harvesting of the agave plants, however, is still done laboriously by hand, with men called jimadores carving them out of the fields one by one by one.) But why does this old method taste demonstrably smoother and richer than machine-processed agave? The Tahona process, according to Patron master distiller Francisco Alcaraz, introduces more of the agave fibers into the distillation process, while the automated roller-mill method yields mainly agave juice. Fiber: you can never have too much!

Patron has introduced three varieties of so-called "Roca Patron" (roca is Spanish for "rock"): Silver, Anejo, and Reposado. The most drinkable, in my opinion, is the Reposado, a caramel-color spirit that's aged for five months in American bourbon barrels. If you're not that well-versed in tequila, forget all about salt and lime and slurping it out of a bartenders navel—this stuff is like a fine Scotch, and should be savored slowly, maybe with a couple rocks. It's velvety smooth with a hint of vanilla and citrus, and a nice, long finish.

The only problem we see with the Reposado is it costs $80 a bottle, but you can probably offer a swig to any bill collector who bangs on your door and it'll be all good. The Roca Silver, which isn't aged, is ten bucks cheaper, but if you're going to spend this much money on a bottle of booze, what's another ten bucks? For that matter, the Anejo, which is aged for two years, is only ten bucks more than the Reposado. Live a little, and feel free to send us a bottle too while you're at it.