Pertaining to or noting a high-quality or distinctive product made in small quantities, usually by hand or using traditional methods: artisanal mezcal; Artisanal Mezcal-makers from Oaxaca.
So, what exactly is Mezcal?
Mezcal, the smokier, darker, and more sensual spirit from Mexico, has arrived. An artisanal spirit derived from the agave plant, it is in ascendance, praised for it’s authenticity and traditional craftsmanship. Think of mezcal as you would a single malt scotch, or better yet when comparing red wines of different vintages from the regions of France. Or perhaps grape varietals from the diversity of valleys and coastal areas in Australia. Forget about the worm for the time being, and forever the reputation with the college crowd of Mezcal's better known daughter, tequila. We travel to Oaxaca and other states in Mexico to scout the best and most traditional “Mezcaleros”, we acquire the small batches they produce and import them to the US and the world to be enjoyed and appreciated.
" Whom hasn't drink mezcal, hasn't lived"
Mezcal: 100% Mexican product
Before the arrival of the Spanish to Mexico in the 16th century, the alcoholic beverage that was known was the pulque, obtained through the fermentation of the agave; However, with the introduction of the distillation process began to produce beverages with a high alcohol content grade as the "agave wine", from which arose the mezcal, whose name is derived from the words maguey and cooked, which in nahuatl means: metl or meztl (maguey) and ixcalli (Cook).
Mezcal is one drink that is very rooted in the culture of the regions where it is produced; It is an important part within their main ceremonies and rituals, both religious and social. In 1995 the mezcal obtained the name of origin. Under the strict Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM) will have that-given registered as exclusive producers of mezcal, the following States: Oaxaca (1), Guerrero (2), Guanajuato (3), San Luis Potosí (4), Zacatecas (5), Durango (6) and Tamaulipas (7).
According to the NOM-070-SCFI-1994, (drinks alcoholics - mezcal-specifications), mezcal is an alcoholic beverage that is obtained by distillation of the sugars extracted from mature heads of the agave same that are previously boiled and subjected to fermentation. The above standard considers two types of mezcal, according to the percentage of the agave used in its production from carbohydrates: Type I. Mezcal 100% Agave. Product obtained from distillation prepared directly and originally with mature heads of Agave. This type of mezcal can be young, reposado or Añejo. Type II. Mezcal. Product obtained from the distillation and correction of musts in whose formulation they have added up to 20% of other carbohydrates permitted by the corresponding legal provisions.
Difference between Mezcal and Tequila The only tequila uses the tequilana weber agave variety, while mezcal has an extraordinary diversity; at least 30 varieties of agave are used to make it. Each of them has special aromas and flavors. Even some mezcals are made with a combination of several species. The mezcal agave also has more sugars and is larger. One of the most characteristic of this product differences is that mezcal is produced by hand, since not using chemicals, unlike tequila, which entails an industrial process and is not always a product 100% agave. Mexico has about 200 species of agave, of which only about 12 to 15 are currently mezcaleros magueyes. Each mezcal is associated with a species of maguey and a peasant region.
Oaxaca State sponsors each year the international fair of mezcal to support the mezcal industry. It's a magna international State fair, and we have attended it since 2013.
In this renowned cultural event, the Oaxacan and tourists can taste and buy a variety of mezcal produced in the State. Its first issue dates back to 1997, and thereafter is carried out in parallel with the Guelaguetza Festival.
The value of exports reached 97 million, proceeds from the sale of 4.8 millions of liters of mezcal to the United States of America, England, Spain, Italy, Japan, Taiwan and Turkey, among others.
This activity generates approximately 30,000 jobs, of whom 5,270 are direct.
In 2014, Oaxaca was the leading producer of mezcal to generate 54.4% of the national total. The second Zacatecas occupied it with 45.3%, while Durango and Guerrero produced 0.3%.
The categories of mezcal more demanded by foreign consumers are young mezcal, reposado and añejo, together represent the 93.3% of the exported mezcal.