About Mezcal Vago Cuixe
Situated along the banks of the Rio Atoyac River in the tiny village of Candelaria Yegolé (est. population 254), Aquilino Garcia Lopez is hard at work examining the Espadin agave maturing on his estate. His farm, which is situated over 3,500 feet above sea level, is surrounded by the Sierra Sur mountains and enjoys an intensely warm, dry climate along with a nutrient-rich soil, making it perfect for the maturation and cultivation of flavorful Espadin agave. The estate was constructed fifteen years ago, says Aquilino, by "my grandfather, father and me"(Aquilino is a third-generation mezcalero).
After the natural spring waters of the Rio Atoyac River have nourished his agave for nearly a decade, Aquilino searches for the most ripe and flavorful agave growing on his plantation. Then, he harvests the agave by hand and removes their hearts, or piñas
, which he takes back to his distillery (the distillery doubles as his home). The piñas are then cooked in an earthen oven that was built into the ground and is completely exposed to the elements. The heat from the oven caramelizes the piñas' natural sugars and gives the piñas a slightly smoky aroma and flavor profile. Once the piñas have been roasted, they are crushed under the weight of a traditional stone wheel that is pulled by a mule (a full oven of agave will take the mule approximately four or five days to crush). The remaining agave pulp and juices are placed into tanks made of pine wood and fermented using natural, airborne yeasts for approximately one week — the actual length varies depending on the temperature at the time.
In order to craft Mezcal Vago Cuixe, Aquilino harvests wild Cuixe agave. Cuixe agave are known for their height, shape and flavor profile — they grow up to 10 feet fall and resemble long tree trunks with narrow piñas situated at the top of the agave. In addition, the piñas have sugar levels around 25%, making them incredibly sweet and flavorful. Once the agave have matured for 13 to 15 years, Aquilino roasts the trunk of the plant together with the piña for approximately four days. The agave pulp from the Cuixe agave is mixed together with a small portion of the agave pulp from the Espadin agave, and fermented using natural yeasts. Then, the wash is twice distilled before each batch is bottled by hand. Mezcal Vago Cuixe has an aroma of bananas, coconuts and tropical fruits. The aroma gives way to notes of smoke and pine on the palate, and leads to a dry, slightly sweet finish.
Each Mezcal Vago represents a unique expression of Mexico's terrior
, and is made in a time-honored, traditional fashion by a single distiller who has studied the craft since childhood.
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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.