The Search for 1921 (Part 2 – Reference Guide)

If you read Part 1 of my 1921 post, you already know that it’s a favorite tequila of mine and that in researching the bottle history, I was fortunate enough to speak with Juan Francisco Collado, a partner with Tequila 1921. Through our conversation and some follow-up emails, Juan was able to clear up a number of questions I had about the production history of the 1921 tequila line.

Until recently, 1921 was produced at Agabe Tequilana Productores y Comercializadores in Jesus Maria, Jalisco under NOM 1079. During this production run, 1921 released their tequilas with a variety of subtle bottling variations, from the waxed caps to the importer to the type of bottle to the labels. With the exception of a roughly two-year phase where the production dates were actually imprinted on the bottles, they don’t give much of an idea about when they were produced.

My aim here is to provide a reference to anyone curious about this brand’s history. Using the blanco line, I’ve put together bottling notes based on Juan’s input as well as bottles in my small collection. While I highlight the differences in the blanco line, many of these same variances can be carried across the Reposado and Reserva Especial lines as well to at least provide a reference point.

Stoppers, Openers & Wax
The first bottles imported to the US market included a dangling leather strap encased in wax (pale green, pale yellow or pale red depending upon the style of the tequila). Peeling the leather strip broke the seal to a natural cork stopper. These fully hand-blown and highly-collectable “Leatherstrap” bottles were produced until 1998.

The second generation bottles continued to carry a wax seal and natural cork stopper, however, the leather strap had been removed. The formula for the wax was also being tweaked, as colder climates tended to cause the wax to crack and chip. In the case of the blancos, the color of the wax became a brighter, more primary shade. The interesting thing about most of these bottles is that they were not immediately distributed to the market, as I will detail mormentarily. Due to a 20% bottle breakage rate, the bottles also changed production techniques, incorporating a semi-automated manufacturing process, while still keeping its artisanal style.

The third and fourth generation bottles again saw the wax color and consistency change, as more plastic was incorporated. The resulting bottles appeared with dull and more muted colored wax seals that also had a plastic shrink-wrap seal around them.

The fifth and sixth generation bottles carry a slightly brighter colored wax seal, however, there is now a pull-tab incorporated into the wax with a synthetic stopper under the seal. The bottles once again changed at this point to a fully-automated production style.

Labels, Lots & Importers
The first importer of 1921 was Water Street Imports out of Houston, Texas. Their name is clearly listed on the back label on the first and third generation bottles. Generations four, five and six list Casa 1921 USA, based in Manhasset, NY. The difference between a Gen 5 bottle and a Gen 6 bottle is very small, however, it represents a significant change. The Gen 6 bottle carries the NOM 1535 designation, representing the company’s new distillery (Destileria Morales in Arandas, Jalisco). Here’s where the story gets interesting. Water Street Imports stopped buying/importing 1921 in 1998, at which time Frank-Lin Distillers began importing, paying a fee to Water Street to use their license. In addition to that, the second generation bottle lists Casa 1921, based in San Jose, CA, as the importer. Seems odd that a second generation bottle would get thrown in between releases of Water Street, doesn’t it? According to Juan, a large amount of Water Street inventory had been warehoused and never distributed. By 2003, Casa 1921 had opbtained the importing and distriution rights. With that, they also purchased the remaining undistributed and warehoused inventory. The company continued, however, to import and release new product under the license of Water Street Imports, just as Frank-Lin Distillers had. This continued into 2006, when the Casa 1921 name appeared on the labels. This is also when the warehoused inventory was distributed, which explains why a bottle that carries a hand-written lot number on it’s label appears to have been released after so many machine labeled bottles.

Speaking of lot numbers and labels, here’s a quick breakdown of how each generation is marked:
Leatherstraps: Hand numbered bottles on shoulder label (ex: 1234/6500)
Second Generation: a hand-written lot number on shoulder label (ex: 80)
Third & Fourth Generation: Machine stamped lot number on shoulder label (ex: 97) and inside of side labels (seen by looking through bottle) Some labels include the production month and year
Fifth Generation: Lot number included on inside of bottle, but no longer on shoulder label
Sixth Generation: Machine coded production stamp on bottle

The guide to the bottles I’ve referenced above will hopefully provide enough information for you to go hunt some 1921 of your own. Thanks again to Juan Francisco Collado for his invaluable assistance. Disclaimer: I do not claim or expect that this reference is 100% accurate but my goal is to make it as accurate as possible. To that end, please contact me about any missing or incorrect information listed herein. My next step is to complete the lot numbers for each generation bottle (I’ve included my best guess below – again, corrections requested!)

Quick Reference Guide to Blanco Bottles
While the summary below is likely overkill, I thought it was worth the effort to consolidate and note some of the key variations in the history of the 1921 Blanco line, as best I understand it.  Click on the photos to enlarge.

1921 Tequila Latherstrap
Generation 1
Stopper Style: Natural Cork, Pale Green/Yellow Wax, Hanging Leather Pull-Strap
US Importer: Water Street Imports Limited – Houston, TX
NOM: 1079
Bottle – Hand Blown, flat bottom
Collar Label: Front: “Blanco 100% agave azul”; Back: handwritten bottle number
1921 Tequila Casa San Jose
Generation 2 (Based on production & bottling dates) Lots 80-?
Stopper Style: Natural Cork, Green Wax
US Importer: Casa 1921 – San Jose, CA
NOM: 1079
Bottle – Mold & Machine Blown, Angled concave bottom
Collar Label: Front: “•1921•”; Sides: Blanco 100% de agave”; Back: Handwritten Lot number
Neck Label: Secondary wrap added – “Casa 1921”
Note: Delayed release – additional labels added after production, bottling & storage
Generation 3 Lots 87(?)-100
Stopper Style: Natural Cork, cellophane-wrapped Olive-Drab Green Wax, No pull-tab
US Importer: Water Street Imports Limited – Houston, TX
NOM: 1079
Bottle – Mold & Machine Blown, Angled concave bottom
Shoulder Label: Front: “Blanco 100% agave azul”; Back: Lote: Machine-Stamped
Lot number also on side label (looking through bottle)
Generation 4 Lots 101-104
Stopper Style: Natural Cork, Olive-Drab Green Wax
US Importer: Casa 1921 USA – Manhasset, NY
NOM: 1079
Bottle – Mold & Machine Blown, Angled concave bottom
Shoulder Label: Front: “•1921•”; Sides: Blanco 100% de agave”; Back: Lote: Machine-Stamped
Lot number also on side label (looking through bottle)
Generation 5 Lot 105
Stopper Style: Synthetic Stopper, Green Wax w/pull tab
US Importer: Casa 1921 USA – Manhasset, NY
NOM: 1079
Bottle – Automated Production, Angled concave bottom
Shoulder Label: Front: “•1921•”; Sides: Blanco 100% de agave”
Neck Label: Secondary wrap added – “1921 End of Mexican Revolution”
Lot number also on side label (looking through bottle)
1921 Tequila
1921 Label
Generation 6
Stopper Style: Synthetic Stopper, Green Wax w/pull tab
US Importer: Casa 1921 USA – Manhasset, NY
NOM: 1535
Bottle – Automated Production, Angled concave bottom
Shoulder Label: Front: “•1921•”; Sides: Blanco 100% de agave”
Neck Label: Secondary line added – “1921 End of Mexican Revolution”
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to The Search for 1921 (Part 2 – Reference Guide)

  1. Katie Dickson says:

    Very well done. I didn’t catch all the subtle changes in the bottles the first time I looked at the photo of all the bottles together but did after reading the blog. I do think the bottles are just way to full though and need to be sampled in the near future.

  2. Oscar Bueno says:

    So far , this is my favorite Tequila, the reposado. The only thing I didn’t like was trying to open the top. It fell apart when I pulled the tab. Maybe I did it wrong. Anyone run into this?

    • tequilabob23 says:

      I have not had one fall apart on me yet, but without the tab, they are definitely much tougher to open. Can’t imagine you’d be doing anything wrong. I was told that wax on some of the earlier bottles had a problem cracking due to the consistency of the wax, which is why it’s more plastic-like today. I’ve seen a few on shelves that were cracked pretty bad.

  3. *45* says:

    Good info & quite detailed! Did want to note that production @ 1079 is in the town of Jesus Maria, not Zapopan.

  4. Oscar Bueno says:

    Does anyone remember Big Red gum? I thought it had a faint smell of Big Red chewing gum. Anyone else?

  5. Great info Bob, thanks so much for sharing it. I recently found some 1079 blanco and repo and have been thoroughly enjoying it. Thanks to your site and post on BAF I know what the generations and lots are. They’re 5th gen btw. and the blancos are lot 105.

  6. Ryan Kelley says:

    I just started looking up some info to unravel this mystery — thank goodness you’ve done all the work for me! Salud!

  7. Jody Johnson says:

    Hey Bob! I just picked up a bottle of 1079 3G (lot 99) blanco tonight, and it is outstanding! It was pretty pricey at $58 plus tax, but I think worth it. They had two more bottles of blanco left, plus two repos. I may try to get a discount on the remaining blancos when the ‘daughter’ is working. The guy tonight couldn’t work with me because he’s not ‘family’. Think I should get the repos, too?

    • tequilabob23 says:

      Nice finds Jody! $58 is pretty high for retail, but then, every area is different and that might be the norm. Also might be worth it if you really like the juice, since those 1079 bottles are getting harder to find. I’d also suggest getting 1 repo to see if you like it. If you do, get the other one (unless you can make a better deal by buying both at the same time).

  8. Don Nom says:

    Bob Wolters, you rock! Great information here, and I’ll definitely be adding 1921 to my hunting list.

  9. Doug says:

    Curious if you have a # system for the 1921 reposados & reserva especials from NOM1079? (As I’m assuming the lot #s are different)

    • tequilabob23 says:

      Doug – I have not gone through the repos and RE’s with as much detail so I don’t have a “system” as detailed as the blancos, but they seem to follow roughly the same guideline from the bottles I’ve seen, which would make sense. I have yet to see a bottle of the Casa San Jose repo or reserva first hand, so that may be a unique bottling of just the blanco (if anyone has one, I’d love to see a photo).

      I don’t know how they determined the Lot # sequence (the oldest I have is a Lot 80 blanco, the newest a Lot 198 Reserva Especial. They were certainly not sequencial, as I have a Lot 87 blanco that says it was bottled a month before a Lot 145 reposado. I have a Lot # tracker that goes from 80 to 198 (the spectrum of lots I’ve seen). 22 are filled in while the rest are blanck. Always looking to hear what lot numbers others find so I can fill in the blanks and post it as a reference here. Hope that helps!

  10. Vanguero says:

    all the Reservas & Repos NOM1079s I´ve bought here in MX are machine stamped Lote 196, no pull tabs on top green wax with plasctic shrink wrap, no Neck Label: Secondary wrap added – “1921 End of Mexican Revolution”& bubbles in the glass – am I to assume these are Gen 4s?
    Cuz this wouldn´t jive with your blanco system then….

    • tequilabob23 says:

      Thanks Vanuero! That definitely would not jive with the blancos. Interesting that it’s a 1079 with a machine date stamp. The only bottles I’ve seen like that are from 1535. Also interesting to read that the green wax was used on anything other than the blancos. Happen to have some photos to share?

  11. Johnny Boots says:

    Bob,

    I found a few more 1921/1079’s recently. All were gen 5’s with the blanco being Lot 107, the repos were 207. I didn’t think they went up this high. Just thought you’d like to know this.

    Thanks, John

  12. Jeff says:

    Good info, I have never been able to find much about this tequila. I have an unopened bottle that I believe I received in 1998. On the back of the label collar it has the bottle number but on the front it says Aged 100% agave azul. It comes in a box with a booklet telling how the tequila is made and pictures of what I guess is the still.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Good info. I have not found much info on this tequila. I have an unopened bottle that I received in about 1998. It has a bottle number on the back of the collar label and says Aged 100% agave azul on the front. It comes in a box with a booklet that tells how the tequila is made and what I guess are pictures of the still.

  14. Brian says:

    I’ve got a bottle of repo with both nom 1079 and nom 1535. The nom 1079 is on the clear plastic label that overlaps the bottom band with nom 1535 on it. Machine stamp lot 192, Casa imports.
    What’s up?

    • tequilabob23 says:

      Hi Brian, thanks for reaching out. That’s the first I’ve ever heard of that happening. Is Casa Imports out of CA or NY? Can you post or email a photo? Purely a guess, but logically, it would be a bottle that went out as a transition was happening, possibly using up old labels. Is there a date code on the indie of the foot-band label? Interesting if that was the last batch from 1079, or more likely, the first batch from 1535. Maybe someone else has more insight…

      • Anonymous says:

        I purchased this bottle in Wisconsin at a blowout sale for $17.99 US. None of the rest that I purchased had the double Nom all were 1535. Needless to say I picked up a few bottles plus a couple of anejo’ s and all of the 1921 Creme they had all for the same price.
        Fast forward to today. In California I just picked up a Reserva 1079 lot #198 Generation4 $49.99. Lots of bubbles in the glass. While the 1535 was good in it’s own right, the 1079 is is definitely a step up. Delicious!!
        Sorry I haven’t gotten back sooner. I certainly can send a photo of the bottle.
        Vanguero I’ll have to look at the bottle for bubbles but don’t remember it being close to my generation4 bottle.
        Brian

  15. Vanguero says:

    Curious Brian do the bottles have any bubbles in the glass?

  16. Brian says:

    Tequila Bob I purchased this bottle in Wisconsin at a blowout sale for $17.99 US. None of the rest that I purchesed had the double Nom all were 1535. Needless to say I picked up a few bottles plus a couple of anejo’ s and all of the 1921 Creme all for the same price.
    Fast forward to today. In California I just picked up a Reserva 1079 lot #198 Generation 4 $49.99. Lots of bubbles in the glass. While the 1535 was good in it’s own right, the 1079 is is definitely a step up. Delicious!!
    Sorry I haven’t gotten back sooner. I certainly can send a photo of the bottle.

    Vanguero I’ll have to look at the bottle for bubbles but don’t remember it being close to my generation 4 bottle.

    Brian

  17. Brian says:

    Thanks so much for your website and all the comments here!!
    I found a generation 2 blanco and it is one of the tastiest tequilas I’ve had of any age. Great sipper and simply delicious!! ! The lot # was completely faded off this old bottle.
    Thanks again!

  18. Brian says:

    Brian,

    Just found a water street import just says Aged. Lot No 159. Not flat bottom, green wax no leather or anv strap. Paid $44 with tax in Colorado. Same store has water street special reserve for $50, same bottle type. Bottom line this is really delicious. Can’t believe these bottles are still out there.

    same store has Fina Estampa Anejo for $24.99 2006 bottling. Good stuff but side by side with the 1921 by my taste 1921 wins here but both are very tasty.

    Thanks again for leading me to this great tequila,
    Brian

  19. Teresa Caesar says:

    I have a 1st. Generation bottle with the leather strap. The lot # is hand written and is
    64/150. It was a gift and that seems like a pretty small batch. Could you tell me anything about it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s