Mezcal Vago Espadin
***Winner 2019 San Francisco Spirits Competition*** BEST MEZCAL IN SHOW
Distiller Emigdio Jarquin's family has been making Mezcal for at least three generations. Emigdio learned it from his grandfather, and distills outside of Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz. Miahuatlán is a historically important town in Mezcal production as well as where both Aquilino and Tío Rey’s families emigrated from.
The horno is a conical pit dug into the earth, which can hold up to 7 tons of Espadin. Emigdio usually roasts his agave for 5-7 days, which is on the longer end of an average roast. He then lets it rest in the sun to cool for one to two weeks. He uses a cement tahona lined with rocks and pulled by mule to crush their agave. Once crushed, they use four Ocote wood fermentation vats with volumes of 1,470, 1,600, 1,600, and 1,700 liters, which usually take around three days to ferment to completion.
Distillation is done in a 300 l. copper refrescador still. Refrescador is a technique that is common to the area surrounding Miahuatlan, but one that Vago has never used before they joined forces with Emigdio Jarquin. The still looks similar to a copper alembique still with a stainless steel cylinder surrounding it. This cylinder is then filled with water, allowing it to cool the upper part of the still. This upper chamber now acts as a condenser and sends the alcohol vapor back down into the boiler before being heated again and passing out of the still and into the condensing coil. This method essentially allows for two distillations during a single pass through the still. Cuts are made using a carrizo to test for ABV as well as taste and smell. A full capacity 300 l. still will produce, on average, 100 l. of mezcal in roughly 14 hours.
The terroir shines through in this mezcal, you really get a sense of place when tasting it. Its well-balanced smokiness is contrasted against notes of mineral and salinity derived from layers of caliche, a flavor indicative of the region. This is a perfect sipping Mezcal, and is perfect to serve with ceviche and raw oysters.