“A Field Guide to Tequila: What It Is, Where It’s From, and How to Taste It ” is excactly what the name describes – it is a thorough well written introduction to most things tequila! And THAT is what I absolutely love about this book!
Clayton Szczech, who is the author of the book, has worked as a tour guide in Mexico since about 2009. The company, which was originally “Experience Tequila” has since evolved into “Experience Agave”. Experience Agave offers a great number of different tours to everything Tequila/Agave.
The book is divided into 4 main sections, Defining Tequila, Making Tequila, Personifying Tequila, Experiencing Tequila. After these sectioins, we have a nice, rich glossary, bibliography, and a small ressources chapter. The main chapters are subdivided into smaller chapters like Agave Planting, Agave Growth and Agave Harvest. Not mentioned in the TOC, is the well written tequila history which has been divided into small portions and put in between chapters. The history chapters are good and well informed and for the first time, I have read a proper (and exciting) article about why Tamaulipas became part of the DOT!
When you take an interest in tequila, you will soon be confused about the amount of acronyms. DOT, CRT, NOM etc. Fortunately this book come with some chapters which explain in plain language what they are about. All the chapters are absolutely filled with plain language facts. The texts about the use of diffusers is an excellent example. While the author does not advocate the use of diffusers, reading a text about what it is, and how they work without a lot of judgmental stuff, is refreshing. The long chapters about distillation are equally well written because they are so matter of fact.
The last of the main sections “Personifying Tequila” adds names and brands. Small articles on Patron, Sauza, Siete Leguas and even some celebrity brands are very illuminating and well researched. The texts are clearly well written and researched and not just some copy from the company websites and the are good at adding some perspective to the brands.
The book also comes some with excellent chapters which dives deep into tequila tasting, aromas, sensory experiences and even how to host tequila tastings. The last chapters comes with the obligatory recipes but then – at the very end of the book comes a nice surprise in the shape of a well researched article about the sustainability of tequila. The sustainability issue is one that pops up in almost all articles about agave spirits, but this chapters gives a short but good and thorough explanation of the issues.
This book comes with all our recommendations! It is THE best book about tequila and the tequila industry I have ever read!