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when creating Porfidio x Gatito.
Now and again we discover a special affinity with someone, and their work inspires us to collaborate ina few, very selective but fun, projects: material manifestations of a Platonic merger between ideals and people who have a high regard for each other's work.
Porfidio has just such anartistic-Platonic affinity with Yuka Ito and her husband Keiji Ito. She is an award-winning journalist with an artistic sensibility for all the finer things in life; he is a renowned Japanese graphic artist ( as well as a professor of the Kyoto University of Art & Design. However, for many people, above all, Yuka Ito’s name evokes "Gatito" her cult tequila bar with venues in Tokyo and Okinawa ("Elote").
Porfidio added our special expertise to this collaborative enterprise with what we do best, the spirit of the project, both allegorically and literally speaking, which is, distilled Agave Tequilana Weber, the Blue Agave.
And so we compiled this trinity of creativity, consisting of, firstly, an exquisite Super-Jalisco 100% Blue Agave spirit from our distillery in Jalisco, Mexico; secondly, a beautifully designed label which resonantly shouts "museum-grade art"; and, thirdly a planet-saving, artisan, hand-blown bottle made entirely from recycled Coca Cola bottles.
The spirit of the bottle, the finished opus, unifying and incarnating the unification of its three elements, is a journey of discovery. Epitomizing this, the front paper label does not contain any printed colors, only gradually releasing the secrets embedded in its engravings by a concentrated visual contemplation and the continual tactile caressing of its engraved elements.
The label is better felt and seen than described or read! So, looking at it and running sensitive fingertips over its texture is the only way to appreciate it fully. Studying the engraved skull image on the label in all its elaborate, delicate detail, as created by master Keiji Ito, is an art lesson in its own right. And of course, location is everything. For full communion with this trinity of artistic synergy, a pilgrimage to Gatito is obligatory.
Porfidio x Gatito is a pure 100% blue agave expression of Jalisco's finest terroir, the Tequila Valley home of the Blue Agave, with a subtle hint of America's finest oak from seven months of virgin barrel ageing. Ageing it for precisely seven months is cosmologically grounded in numerology. As in most of the world, the number "7", represents good fortune, but in Japan it also symbolizes "togetherness."
In the tequila world, the term of art for a spirit aged for 7 months is a Reposado, and as such, Porfidio x Gatito incarnates a noble spirit of tequila-political compromise to create a feeling of togetherness, a restful harmonious trysting place between the sometimes hostile factions of Blanco-lovers and Anejo-haters, who often are in schism with the Blancophobes and Anejophiles.With this gesture, Porfidio x Gatito extends an invitation to both groups to embark on the Gatito pilgrimage and jointly savor the product in the spirit of togetherness and agave amity.
Anejophiles usually argue that ageing in wood is essential to bring the spirit to its quintessential savor, while Blancophiles consider oak trees to be an alien Gringo intrusion into the inherent purity of Mexican tequila. Rather than arguing for one faction or another, we want to square the circle by asserting simply that Porfidio x Gatito tastes great. That’s it!
Rather than going Western by diluting a homeopathic splash of exquisite agave spirits with monstrous deals of sugar, alien-to-agave flavors and low-quality ice cubes in a cocktail, or even gulped as a shot, Porfidio x Gatito is explicitly crafted to be consumed in the “perfect highball" for which Japanese cocktail culture is globally renowned.
The Western highball, as adopted into Japanese, has become a distilled spirit blended with 'sparkling water', which in Japan has a lower, perfectly balanced bubble and mineral content explicitly designed for the task, with attention to molecular and ionic detail that one cannot find in Western style municipal fluids with their uncreative suspension of carbon dioxide and chlorine.
The perfection of a highball also correlates to its ice cube quality, which depends on the underlying water and the precise temperature at which it freezes. Japan excels at such sensitive molecular maneuvering and has evolved into unequalled world leader of an art movement for "the perfect highball," with no equals in the rest of the world.
Such a highball à la japonaise brings out the best aromas in any distilled spirit, but equally so, accentuates any minor fermentation, distillation and wood quality flaws, posing a challenge to the distiller, which we confronted heads-on
As with any pilgrimage, to avoid the lines of dedicated celebrants, we recommend visiting Gatito Bar at 4-Chome-10-7 Oi, Shinagawa, Tokyo, by appointment only and savoring the perfectly executed 'Porfidio x Gatito Highball', so skillfully prepared by Yuka Ito and her team, in the spirit of "Togetherness."

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