The Art of Craft: Ceramicist Ángel Santos Honors the Spirit of Mexico With a New Handcrafted Decanter for Clase Azul

The is the first in a series of limited-edition decanters from the tequila and mezcal maker.

Clase Azul Master Artisans by Ángel Santos. Courtesy of Clase Azul.

On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, Mexican spirits maker Clase Azul has announced a series of projects that go well beyond the blue agave tequila and mezcal for which it has become known, with plans to open everything from an experiential space in Brooklyn, New York, to a hotel in its home state of Jalisco, Mexico.

Meanwhile, building on its luxury bottle collection—each is handmade using ancient techniques from the country’s indigenous Mazahua community—it has introduced Master Artisans, a series of limited-edition decanters created with Mexico’s most renowned craft artists.

Ceramic artist Ángel Santos. Courtesy of Clase Azul.

Ceramic artist Ángel Santos. Courtesy of Clase Azul.

For the first annual edition, the brand tapped ceramist Ángel Santos, co-founder of the Herencia Milenaria, a group of artisans in the ceramics hub of Tonalá, Jalisco⁠. Santos previously worked with Fundación con Causa Azul, Clase Azul’s non-profit arm, which supports Mexican craftspeople by way of collaboration while helping to preserve the country’s folk art traditions.

“This collection is important because people are invited, through the art of the decanter, to learn more about the community that is Tonalá and its crafts,” Santos said at a dinner celebrating the edition’s release.

With a team of five artisans, he created 300 handcrafted decanters, each of which took up to 12 hours to produce. Their intricate paintings depict flowers traditionally used in Tonalá’s clay techniques as well as long-plumed pheasants, cross-cultural icons of prosperity, in colors symbolizing the four elements (air, earth, fire, and water).

Courtesy of Clase Azul.

Courtesy of Clase Azul.

“For me, this bottle represents the value of life,” said Santos. “[It is] a work that goes beyond the times.”

Meanwhile, master distiller Viridiana Tinoco created an eight-year-old extra añejo tequila to match. As Clase Azul’s most aged tequila to date, it has been aged in four different types of casks, typically used for whiskey and sherry (amontillado, oloroso, and pedro ximénez).

The result? A fragrantly complex, full-bodied blend featuring notes of grapes, orange peel, plums, red berries, and sweet pear, with a toasted oak and tobacco finish.

“I wanted the flavors and aromas of the tequila to really convey the magic of Mr. Santos craftsmanship,” Tinoco said.

Clase Azul Master Artisans by Angel Santos is available exclusively at the Clase Azul Boutique in San José del Cabo, Mexico in one-liter decanters, each $5,000.

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