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Tasting Notes: Mezcalero #17

The latest in Craft DistillersMezcalero line which delivers extremely small production batches from a variety of locations around Oaxaca.

 mezcalero17The details:

– Location: San Baltazar Guélavila
– Agave: Cultivated espadín and agave de lumbre
– Maestro Mescalero: Cirilo Hernández
– Quantity: 184 cases / 1104 bottles
– Distillation Date: March 2014
– Bottled: June 2015.
– ABV: 48%
– NOM: O14X

 

 

The background:

These are the sort of one off distillations that used to define mezcal so this series is something of a relic of another era and testament to all the riches that remain. As I’ve said before, the mere existence of Mezcalero is fantastic, the fact that they continue to produce such high quality mezcals so consistently is even better. Read more

In Memorium: Don Lorenzo Angeles

Don Lorenzo with his daughter Graciela Angeles

Don Lorenzo with his daughter Graciela Angeles

We are tremendously sad to hear the news that Don Lorenzo Angeles, the patriarch of the Angeles family which is responsible for Real Minero Mezcal, has died of lung cancer. Anyone who met him can vouch that he was a fantastic human being and a link to a different era of Mexico and mezcal. He raised an incredible family which now operates Real Minero, the quality of their mezcal and the ethics they bring to the operation speak clearly to his own high standards. But more than anything their humanity speaks volumes about who he was. Always welcoming to visitors, working in the fields with his workers until very recently, in Yiddish terms he was a true mensch.

As word has filtered out through the mezcal community here in the U.S., folks have taken to Facebook to express their sadness. Pretty much anyone in the bar industry who has traveled to Oaxaca crossed paths with Don Lorenzo over the years, if not in Santa Catarina Minas, then certainly at the El Pochote Mercado where he could be found sampling and selling his bottles, always, always with a huge smile on his face that you wanted to crawl into.

Our world is smaller without him.

We send our condolences and best wishes to his family.

Tasting Notes: La Venenosa Raicilla Sierra de Jalisco

Since its premiere at Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle 2014 Raicilla Venenosa has been a constant presence at better mezcalerias. It was the first racilla legally imported into the United States and was only recently joined by a second. The distinctive flavors of this other Jaliscan mezcal are well worth seeking out.

Raicilla Venenosa Sierra de Jalisco Raicilla Venenosa Sierra de Jalisco

The details:

– Location: Mascota, Jalisco.
– Agave: Agave maximiliana.
– Maestro Mezcalero: Don Ruben Peña Fuentes
– Quantity: 800 bottles
– Distillation Date: April 2014
– ABV: 42%

The background:

Esteban Morales really brought raicilla to the United States and we’re all the richer for his work with Arik Torren to make that happen because raicilla is so different from other mezcals – once you try it you’ll instantly understand why it deserves its own category. Read more

Mezcal Week took over – relive it

mezcIt’s been weeks since Mezcal Week but we’re still living off the fumes. We had so many awesome events spread across the world that we’re in awe of all the creative ideas and fun times – all in the name of mezcal. Things went so well that we’re already setting up Mezcal Week 2017 November 5-12 culminating in Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle San Francisco on November 12th.

From Australia to New York, Seattle to Oaxaca, it was quite a celebration of all things mezcal, and a truly visual representation of how widespread the mezcal scene is now. Here are just five examples of all the cool stuff that happened during the week. We’ll be archiving the 2016 site pretty soon so all of this will be available through a link there – but the main thrust of the site will be on 2017 starting in January.

Read more

Tasting Notes: Los Nahuales Special Edition No. 1

The Los Nahuales Special Edition No. 1 is the first and, hopefully only the first, in a series of special editions from one of the longest standing and most prominent mezcal brands in the United States.

Los Nahuales Special Edition No. 1The details:
– Location: Santiago Matatlán
– Agave: 41.3% wild cuishe Agave karwinskii and 58.7% Sierrudo, a type of Agave americano.
– Maestro Mezcalero: Karina Abad
– Quantity: 1520 bottles. The majority only available through K&L Wines. 720 bottles are distributed by Craft Distillers
– Distillation Date: April/May 2015
– ABV: 48%
– NOM: O14X

 

 

 

The background:

This is the fruit of another of those mezcal world happenstances. While hanging out at Marco Polo with Karina Abad who manages Los Danzantes’ entire production Ansley Coale and K&L Wines’ David Driscoll cooked up the idea of Karina doing a batch all on her own. The rest is in the bottle but you can get a portion of the foreshadowing and narrative in Driscoll’s blogging about that trip. Read more

Is mezcal sustainable?

Left to right, Susan Coss, Raza Zaidi, Judah Kuper, and Ivan Saldaña.

Left to right, Susan Coss, Raza Zaidi, Judah Kuper, and Ivan Saldaña.

The evening before this year’s Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle San Francisco we hosted a panel titled “What We Talk About When We Talk About Sustainability” to dig into the raft of questions about sustainability in the mezcal industry. Aside from our debt to Raymond Carver the panel was inspired by the consistent questions from drinkers and bartenders throughout the world about how mezcal can be made in a way that ensures environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability.

The topic comes up in almost every conversation and since we had a team of brand heavyweights in town the moment was ideal for the discussion. Susan Coss moderated the discussion between Judah Kuper from Vago, Raza Zaidi from Wahaka, and Ivan Saldaña from Montelobos. We were also privileged to host many other brand representatives in the audience including Fidencio’s Arik Torren, Erick Rodriguez, William Scanlan, and more. Read more

Tasting Notes: La Niña del Mezcal Bacanora

Long known for her flagship espadín La Niña del Mezcal’s Cecilia Murrieta is releasing intriguing bottles that span the agave spirits universe.

La Niña del Mezcal Bacanora

The details:

– Location: San Pedro de la Cueva, Sonora
– Agave: Agave yaquiana
– Maestro Mescalero: Rafael Encinas
– Bottle: 627 / 1000
– Batch No. : B001
– ABV: 48%

The background:

Bacanora has had it’s own Denominación since 2000 but it’s been traditionally produced in Sonora for quite some time. Unfortunately not many variations are imported, mostly we’ve had to rely on samizdat bottles that we bring in ourselves or find on friends’ bars. To date the most prominent brand imported in the United States is Cielo Rojo. Read more

A new season of Mezcalistas t-shirts

Sure it’s the lead up to the holidays so it’s time for mammon to come full bore but no, we didn’t plan on unleashing our new t-shirts on you just to grab a quick buck from the consumerist whirlwind. No, we had higher motives, we wanted to get our t-shirts in front of Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle participants and, since that tasting was November 13th, it all just sort of worked out this way. And, there always was that idea of holiday related commerce in the back of our heads.

 

Anyway, we are happy to unleash our latest t-shirt design and two variations on previous classics. Everyone at Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle was in love with them, we sold tons, got tons more compliments, now it’s your turn. These shirts are printed on American Apparel or Next Level shirts in both men and women’s sizes so make sure to specify which. Women’s sizes run small so keep that in mind when ordering.

 

Our new design is Pinche Topes which translates into “F…..g Speed bumps” for, as anyone who has traveled to Oaxaca knows, speed bumps are everywhere, in town, the highway approaches to towns, unmarked in the middle of nowhere on a highway – the the exclamation is common and bundles together so many things that are wrong with Mexico. But it’s also a metaphor for life in a minor key, no matter what you’re going to run into speed bumps, the real question is how you deal with them.

 

We brought back our Quitapenas and El Prometido (men’s in orange, women’s in purple) designs because they’re much loved classics. Seriously, we strive to give the people what they want!

Lots of people have asked about these designs since our last print run so have at it!

Yo soy mezcal, a sneak peak

Just in time for the holidays we have a great way to burn through another five minutes of your boss’ time – watch this, then jump down below.

YO SOY MEZCAL | Documentary Trailer from Eric Wolfinger on Vimeo.

We’re proud to have shown this previous to our sustainability panel on Saturday, November 12th, the night before Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle San Francisco this year. The filmmaker behind this effort, Eric Wolfinger, introduced it and chatted with the audience a bit about the project. We’ll be talking to him in more detail soon because this is quite a stunner. Read more

Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle San Francisco 2016 in glorious photos

It’s a wrap! Sunday’s Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle is officially in the books as an unmitigated success. Thanks to everyone who attended, our ticket buyers had a fantastic time and everyone who presented, poured, cooked, imbibed told us they loved it and can’t wait to come back. Extra special thanks to Michael Skrzypek for taking the photos that you’ll see below because they really bring the entire tasting alive in ways that words fail.

Just to lay out the basic and highlights: Read more