Mezcalero Mezcal Joven
Mezcalero #4 (2011), 852 bottles, distilled at the Joel Antonio Cruz distillery in San Juan del Rio, from the extremely rare wild agave sierra negra and the large, contorted, and wild agave tepeztate. The tepeztate brings spiciness, with the sierra negra's long and suave finish.
Mezcalero is a vehicle for displaying the work of individual artisan distillers who work in tiny distilleries, often in remote village. The truly great distiller adapts centuries-old artisan methods to the particular characteristics of his local agaves. These bottlings are cleanly distilled.
Hector Vazquez of Los Danzantes works closely with these small producers to help them with the complex paperwork required to certify these local mezcals for export.
Each release of Mezcalero is a one-time batch from specific agaves. Very limited amounts, produced with rigorous attention to the details of artisan distillation methods. These tiny distilleries often have only one 60-liter still. Production at this level is laborious: pitchforks, wheelbarrows, long waits as the single still slowly processes its precious contents: after one month, perhaps 600 bottles.
Mezcalero #1 (2009), 170 bottles, came from the family distillery of Juel Antonio Cruz of San Juan del Rio. It was distilled largely from wild tobalá agaves, feral, focused, and intense, with an admix of the wild agave tepeztate, full-bodied and spicy.
Mezcalero #2 (2010), 620 bottles from the single-still distillery of the Hernandez family in San Balthazar Guélavila, was a blend of the agaves tobalá, tepaztate, and espadín. The espadín adds cultivated calmness and suavity to its wilder cousins.
Mezcalero #3 (2011)
Agave Mexicana (dobadán) and agave espadín from Don Valente of Santa Maria la Pila. The Mexicana is semi-wild and difficult to cultivate; the agaves came from Don Valente's own plantings at about 5800 feet. Rich, with beautiful citric overtones.