Any time an agave-based distillate is made, it is called mezcal; thus, all tequilas qualify. Tequila is a region, like Champagne or Cognac. The clichéd notion of gusanos (worms) in the bottle has no place in a serious conversation about true mezcal.
The art of distillation is in no place more evident than in the palenques (stills) of Oaxaca, where indigenous culture is being preserved, pre-organic practices are being protected and fair trade micro-economies are being created – one village at a time.
Using a strictly natural, rustic and pure process over five hundred years old, the village palenquero (maker) captures the true body and spirit of mezcal with only two ingredients: the heart of the maguey (agave), and 10% pure water added only to the fermentation.
Hillside Maguey Espadin
Harvesting Mature Maguey
Preparing for the Roast
Blessing the Covered Roast
Grinding the Roasted Maguey
Fermenting in Open Air Tanks
Clay Still & Bamboo Tubing
Las Perlas. Checking the Proof
Bottling by Hand
With the leaves removed, The hearts of maguey are roasted over hot stones covered with maguey fiber and earth in a conical pit in the ground for three to five days. They are then ground to a mash using horse-powered stone mills or hand held mallets, followed by a long period of natural, ambient fermentation in wooden vats (14 to 30 days), and finally distilled twice, very slowly, in wood-fired clay or copper stills.
Del Maguey, Single Village Mezcals are truly unlike any others. They are often noted as being the most rare and pure available in the world.