The Artists Behind Jose Cuervo's 2023 Reserva De La Familia Extra Añejo Box

In order for tequila to qualify as "Extra Añejo," it must be aged in an oak barrel for at least three years, substantially more mature than Blanco, Reposado, or standard Añejo tequilas. The Extra Añejo category was only officially created in 2006 (InsideHook), so it's a pretty new sector of the spirits world — but Jose Cuervo has been crafting tequila for more than 250 years. In 1758, King Fernand VI of Spain gave José Antonio de Cuervo y Valdés land for planting agave, making Jose Cuervo the first tequila producer in the world. Today, Jose Cuervo is the world's best-selling tequila, reports VinePair, and the company continues to make tequila in the town of Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico in Latin America's oldest active distillery.

Now, according to a press release sent to Tasting Table, Jose Cuervo is celebrating its history with the new Reserva de la Familia 2023 collectors box. Meet the artists who designed it.

An emphasis on Mexico and its landscape

Per the press release sent to Tasting Table, Reserva de la Familia is Jose Cuervo's line of ultra-premium small-batch tequilas. Jose Cuervo's Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo is made from 100% blue agave that has been aged for 10-12 years. The artists behind the tequila giant's 2023 box are Rolando Flores and Gabriel Cázares. They're a part of the Mexico-based Tercerunquinto Collective, which Jose Cuervo sought for its emphasis on field research. According to the Peter Kilchmann Gallerie of Germany, much of the collective's work focuses on spatial relations, particularly social spaces and the places where "private and public spaces" intersect.

The piece Flores and Cázares designed for Jose Cuervo is called "Structuring a Landscape." Inspired by the country's natural terrain, the piece is a geometrical reimagination of Tequila, Mexico. (Gazing at the angular artwork, it's no wonder that Tercerunquinto's past works have ventured into the architectural realm.) Flores and Cázares say the finished piece has a three-layered design: bright colors to capture the area's volcanic rock, smoothness to emulate the skin of the agave plant, and roughness to represent Tequila's volcano.

Jose Cuervo's commitment to fostering the arts

This isn't the first Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo collectors box to feature artwork from independent artists. Per the press release, Jose Cuervo has been recruiting artists with links to Mexico to design its annually released boxes since 1995. The distillery has worked with Gonzalo Lebrija, Ricardo Pinto, collage artist Carlos Aguirre, and legendary surrealist sculptor Pedro Friedeberg, among many others. 

Not just anybody can design a Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo box. At Jose Cuervo, the artist-vetting process is extensive. The panel is made up of the company's top authorities, including CEO Juan Domingo Beckmann (who is also an 11th-generation Cuervo family member). Patrick Charpenel (the Executive Director of El Museo del Barrio in New York City) and Zélika García (founder of the world-renowned Mexican art fair Zona Maco) are also on the panel.

The 2023 Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo collector's box has officially hit the market as a limited-release item. Every glass bottle is hand-blown, hand-signed, and hand-dated. The label on each bottle is carefully adhered by hand before being encrusted with the wax Cuervo seal. It's a showcase of art from top to bottom. Fans can find the collector's box via online spirits purveyor ReserveBar for $185 before shipping, or in-person at specialty retailers in the U.S.