In essence, this methodology supports single village mezcal producers (palenqueros) with the freedom to produce mezcal using ancient practices that the indigenous people of Oaxaca have been employing before the Spanish conquest. The result is a distinct character and singular purity from village to village.
Single Village Mezcal – A Compelling Tradition
The state of Oaxaca’s topography is the most varied in the country of Mexico. The capital city of Oaxaca is in the center of a confluence of three great valleys at an altitude of 6,500 feet. There are mountains, plains, fertile valleys, tropical jungles and the Pacific Ocean all creating many differing growing zones for many varieties of maguey. The way we explain the general breakdown of taste is: The high, narrow mountain valley mezcals are simpler, more subtle, drier and smoother. They are more aromatic and go to the upper palate. The broad-low valley mezcals are fruiter, more complex and spicier. Cheeky, chewy, middle mouth with lots of body.
Mezcal is the mother of Tequila, and Del Maguey represents its true heritage. It is among the finest and purest spirits available in the world. The way mezcal affects one’s palate and the way it warms the chest, throat and mouth are quite different than any other alcohol. And Del Maguey, Single Village Mezcals transcend all others.
The word Mezcal comes from Metl or Mexcalmetl, the prehispanic Nahuatl language, meaning Agave. Today the commonly used word for Agave in Oaxaca is Maguey. Nearly twenty-five percent (900,000) of the total Indian population of Mexico live in the state of Oaxaca. The indigenous languages and cultures of Oaxaca are unusually diverse and un-industrialized or changed by modern society.
The Zapotec people are still producing one of the most important hand crafted distillates on earth. With minimal resources, they are up against multinational might and multimillion-dollar facilities, like those found in the state of Jalisco, where tequila is made. Like their ancestors, they still make offerings to deities, in exchange for permission and blessings, before harvesting for the revered spirit, which they regard as a spiritual entity.