“The Mezcalero series is without a doubt the best collection of mezcals I’ve ever tasted. Nothing from Del Maguey or any other bottler even comes close” –David Driscoll, K&L Wines
Mezcalero was conceived by Craft Distillers, which handles all aspects of sale into the US market, and is organized for production and bottling by Destileria Los Danzantes.
Each Mezcalero bottling is true to the fundamental batch nature of artisan mezcal production. Each bottling is distilled from a single integral batch of agaves that are at least 50% wild or semi-wild, and usually 100%. These “silvestran” agaves take a lot of work to harvest: searching for days in the mountains, packing the agaves back on burros. After that, it takes a month of continuous labor to produce a single batch of Mezcalero, usually 600-700 bottles.
Mezcalero is both a brand and an intention. The brand is a way for talented artisan distillers to work with, and gain part of their livelihood from, some very special agaves. The intention goes deeper: to help preserve a way of distilling that is also a way of life, deeply linked to the distiller’s family, to his social environs, to his pueblo, to an entire way of life largely deriving from indigenous culture that is at risk of rapid deterioration under pressure from the modernization of Mexico.
Mezcalero has used 8 wild/semi-wild varieties of agave:
arroqueño (americana) bicuishe (karwinskii) madrecuishe (karwinskii) mexicana (rhodacantha) papalote (cupreata)
sierra negra (americana) tepeztate (marmorata)
plus the forthcoming coyote (americana)
and serrano (ditto).
The classification of Oaxacan agaves is in its infancy. Arroqueño, coyote, serrano, and sierra negra are supposedly the same species, americana. Good F luck. They look different, they distill differently, they taste different, and everyone where they grow knows the difference.