Mexican Spirits: the mezcales
Mezcal is the generic name for all agave distillates in Mexico; it is the type of agave used for production that defines the kind of spirit. In the past century, people would also use the name of the town where a mezcal was produced to call their distillates; for instance, the original name of Tequila was "Mezcal de Tequila," referring to the town where this mezcal was born, Tequila, Jalisco.
Tequila is made exclusively from Blue Agave (Agave Tequilana), so to protect the tradition and quality of this Mexican booze, it was necessary to create the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) and protect this agave distilled by an appellation of origin. Later on, when Mezcal became more popular, it was also necessary to create a governing body in charge of overseeing best practices in the whole Mezcal supply chain.
Mezcal Industry, not really an industry
Mezcal also has an appellation of origin, but a difference from tequila, the type of Agaves used to produce Mezcal may be more than one. The more common is the Agave Espadin, but there is also the so-called "agaves silvestres" (wild agaves), this types of Agaves are quite strange and as it names said, grow in the wild, so there is no controlled cultivation of such plants.
Furthermore, Mezcal must be all made from Agave, so Mezcal is always a 100% Agave spirit. Remember that tequila has two categories, 100% Agave and Mixto. Most of the tequilas you find outside Mexico are Mixtos i.e. only 51% of Agave, the rest 49%, well, we don't really know.
Another big difference is that Tequila was industrialized long time ago, it 's hard to find a handcrafted Tequila as the agave plantations, and the production processes are all standardized so that the final product is pretty much the same in flavor and quality.
On the other hand, there are very few industrialized mezcales, in fact, there are plenty of families who produce small batches of mezcal. Flavor and quality also vary from batch to batch and also the Maestros Mezcaleros mix different sorts of Mezcales, bringing new and crazy but tasty flavors.
Mezcal Tasting Series #1
Agavera has chosen 4 Mezcales for the first tasting series:
Mezcal Enmascarado 45
From the Zapoteca Region of the state of Oaxaca, Mezcal Enmascarado is produced by Mezcales Milagrito. This Mezcal is produced with Agave Espadin from Santiago Matatlán. As most mezcales this is handcrafted, 100% organic and it is calibrated with spring water to precisely 45°.
Also original from the State of Oaxaca, Mezcal Atenco is produced by the López Sosa Family in the village of San Juan del Río. Once again this mezcal is handcrafted, 100% organic and has limited production.
Mezcal Bruxo - The elixir of the earthly
This brand was made by a group of friends who love and honor Mexican culture, more specifically the culture of the magic of mezcal. Brujo in Spanish is shaman which since ancient times have been a synonym of wisdom.
Mezcal Bruxo # 2
The first Bruxo selected for Friday's tasting series is the number 2 Pechuga de Maguey. This Mezcal comes from San Dionisio Ocotepec in the State of Oaxaca. Is a Mezcal Jóven made from Agave Espadín and seasoned with Chicken Breast, this types of mezcales are called in Mexico is called Pechuga de Maguey.
Mezcal Bruxo # 4
Bruxo 4, one of my favorites, comes from the village Las Salinas also in the state of Oaxaca, the most important mezcal region in Mexico. The product is a combination of three different Agaves: Espadín, Barril, and Cuishe; this combination creates an even more complex and wild flavor.
There is not much anybody can say about mezcal without tasting it so you should definitely come by to try and get to know better the mystical and colorful world of Mexican distils.