About Erstwhile Cuishe Mezcal
Erstwhile Mezcal is an importer from Brooklyn, New York, specializing in artisanal mezcal. Founded in 2017 by Yuan Ji and Kevin J. Brown, they are laser-focused on helping smaller, family-operated mezcal producers reach the US. This involves education, curation, and extensive research — all in order to bring the best traditional small-batch mezcal to the consumer, while enabling the producers to expand.
They never meddle with the mezcaleros' production process and always pay them fairly, only stepping in when and where their help is needed. This includes fronting legal fees, finding a suitable bottling facility, and any similar hurdles which are overcome at the beginning of every partnership they make. Transparency plays a huge role in the way they operate, always stating where the mezcal is sourced from and actively communicating with the mezcal-loving community.
Their very first release was the Erstwhile Mezcal Espadín from Rancho Blanco Güilá. While the founders were scouring the Oaxaca countryside for a flagship Espadín Mezcal, they came upon master mezcalero Silverio García Luis. They immediately knew they'd found what they were looking for. Complex, elegant, balanced, as well as versatile and good value, it was the perfect fit for their first shipment from Mexico. Since then they have been partnering with some of the finest traditional mezcal producers.
Erstwhile Cuishe Mezcal is crafted in Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca by Juan Hernández Méndez & Hortensia Hernández Martínez. This expression uses the cuishe agave from the karwinskii family, a tall plant with slim leaves that takes between 9 and 12 years to mature. These agaves are harder to harvest, as the piñas are often difficult to reach. Fermented naturally in open vats and distilled using a copper alembic still, the karwinskii agave family produces a dry, grassy, herbaceous, and spicy spirit. Bottled at 90 proof, this expression is easy-drinking and smooth with a pleasant spicy kick to it.
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Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from roasted agave plants between two days and two weeks, which gives it a distinct smokey flavor.
What scotch is for whisk(e)y, mezcal is for tequila.
It can be made from different types of agave in different parts of Mexico, but most of it (60%) comes from the state of Oaxaca. Mezcal offers a large diversity of flavor profiles and ranges between 40 and 55% ABV.
Check out our impressive selection of mezcals, and find your new favorite in the Top 10 mezcal & tequilas, or explore The best gifts for mezcal and tequila drinkers.