It was April 2016 when Michael was introduced to the town of San Miguel De Allende, Mexico. It’s a place where people travel to let go and redefine themselves. A place to be free and consider what’s most important in life. A place that when you go you’ll start to contemplate what the story of your own life will be. For Michael its where he rekindled his passion for food and drink and more importantly a new passion for everything agave.
In order to understand and respect agave spirits you have to travel to the heart of Jalisco to the town of Tequila. A four-hour drive from San Miguel De Allende, across a railroad track, and down a cobbled road, he entered the gates of Distillery La Cofradia. The sweet smell of agave filled the air while an abundance of ducks sat patiently waiting for the next ripe mango to fall from the trees that surround the distillery.
It was here in this place that Michael met Master Distiller Luis Trejo where the two began to learn how similar their own national spirits were. Sure, they have obvious differences, one being made from agave the other from grain, but the flavor of both is enhanced by the oak they are rested in.
With a background in culinary arts and a love for oak aged drinks that are sipped neat Michael asked Luis “If Scotch is aged in more than just ex-bourbon casks, why can’t we add new flavors to tequila by using various casks from around the world?”. It was at that moment the two’s love for their own national drinks created the idea to use various types of oak casks from around the world to age tequila.
"Our mission is to bring new flavours to tequila through oak. We work with distilleries, wineries, and cooperages from around the world to hunt for the freshest casks that we can get our hands on. Our oak and flavours are what we love, but its the places we go and the people that we meet along the way that becomes our story. Storywood is our chapter one with many more to come."
- Michael Ballantyne