Espadín de Joel Barriga

The newest addition to our lineup is 100% Agave Espadín produced by Don Joel Barriga Aragón. Joel is Aquilino García López' cousin and has been distilling mezcal for several generations. His farm and palanque are part of the Hacienda Tapanala, which is about 15 kilometers northeast of and 300 meters higher than Candelaria Yegole, in the high, rolling plateaus of the Sierra Sur. 

Joel Barriga

We are very excited to announce the newest addition to Mezcal Vago, Don Joel Barriga. Joel is Aquilino's cousin and has been distilling mezcal for many generations. His farm and palanque are part of the Hacienda Tapanala, which is about 15 kilometers northeast of and 300 meters higher than Candelaria Yegole, in the high, rolling plateaus of the Sierra Sur. Despite the difference in location, the climate and soil of Tapanala, the very beginnings of terroir, are nearly identical to the land surrounding Aquilino’s. Aquilino has been working with Joel over the last couple months to hone his technique in order to produce a style of Espadín that is very similar to his own. This will allow Aquilino to make more Elote and focus on smaller, more unique batches of mezcal. 

Tobalá de Emigdio Jarquin Ramirez

After the incredible responses we’ve gotten from the first few batches of mezcal from Don Emigdio Jarquín Ramirez, we are excited and fortunate to be able to share his incredible Tobalá. This incredible mezcal is produced by Emigdio at his palenque in the Nanche district of Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz (16°39'78.7"N, 96°55'07.5"W). It is produced from small piñas that usually weigh around 50 pounds, on average and only yield roughly 4% by volume!

S-010/04-CTOB-16 Ensamble en Barro

Okay, Chicago! Y’all in the Second City have been asking, begging, and clamoring for your own special batch from Vago. You have been huge supporters for a while now and its time! The amount of enthusiasm for agave and the copitas you go put down deserve something epic. Something new. Something wild.

Changing Conversations

Few can deny that we are in the midst of a mezcal boom. It seems like every week we are seeing either a new producer or new varietal get released. It has been great to be a part of this Golden Age of mezcal. And to be honest, we have definitely benefited from it. You have helped us to grow and produce some incredible mezcal, while helping to better the lives of our mezcaleros and the communities they live in. However, the industry is reaching a dangerous precipice; one where we will have to start making some important, conscious decisions about how we all, consumers, brands, and mezcaleros want the industry to proceed.

Madre Cuixe de Emigdio Jarquín Ramírez- Batch E-03-MC-16

We are incredibly excited to continue to bring Don Emigdio Jarquin’s magic to the world. We send out his microbatch of Pulquero in December and his Espadín to the Southeast. Now, after a couple of months resting at the Vago office, his 480 liter batch of Madrecuixe is ready to be enjoyed. We are excited to put out a mezcal of agave that is so prevalent around the Miahuatlán region. This batch was created from January to April, 2016 at Emigdio’s palenque in the Nanche district of Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz (16°39'78.7"N, 96°55'07.5"W).

Espadín Jarquín

This 100% Espadín is distilled by the newest member of our family, Emigdio Jarquín in El Nanche, Miahuatlán de Porfirio Diaz (16°39'78.7"N, 96°55'07.5"W). Don Emigdio is a fourth-generation mezcalero from the Nanche district of Miahuatlán. We searched far and wide for just the right mezcalero to ask to join our family. We knew it they had to have just the right mix of skill and character. After working with Emigdio for nearly a year, we are incredibly pleased to be sharing some of the best Espadín we have tasted. 

Mexicano en Barro - Batch S-30-M-15

New York, you all are some agave freaks. We could not be where we are without you. As a thank you, and after the incredible response to our Blanco y Negra release last year, we have decided to hook up NYC with another, even smaller, extremely limited production bottling. This stunning 53 liter batch of 100% Mexicano (a. Rhodacantha) was produced by Salomón Rey Rodriguez (Tío Rey) in Sola de Vega, Oaxaca (16°28'44.72"N 96°57'42.80"W) in late 2015.

Vago’s newest Special Release allows us to explore just a small bit of the genetic diversity surrounding Santa María, Sola de Vega. Batch S-25-CBSN-15 was produced by Salomón Rey Rodriguez (Tío Rey) in Sola de Vega, Oaxaca (16°28'44.72"N 96°57'42.80"W). We bottled it as a thank you to our friends at Bi-Rite Liquors in San Francisco, California. Their focus on the people that farm and provide our food made us feel they were a great group to partner with for this release, as those same concepts tie-in so directly to our ethos as a brand. 

Next in our series of Special Release small batch runs is a tribute to our friends in the East Bay. Batch A-02-MCM-16, or batch Curry-30, is a thank you to a community of die-hard agave fanatics that have had our backs since practically the beginning. This incredible mezcal was distilled by Aquilino García López at his palenque in Candelaria Yegolé, Oaxaca (16°29'41.36"N, 96°18'38.69"W). Curry-30 is a 162 liter batch produced from a 49%/51% ensamble of 493 KG of Madre Cuixe and 503 KG of Mexicano.

Fermentation

This is the first in a series of in-depth posts that hope to shed light on the process and culture of mezcal. While we have spent a great deal of time researching these processes, we also understand that there are many different styles and traditions in mezcal culture. It is one of the reasons we love it so dearly. These pieces are in no way intended to be dogmatic, but rather conversation starters. Please feel free to ask questions if you are just starting down the rabbit hole, correct us or comment if you have experiences that have shown you otherwise. These are hopefully ways for people that cannot spend their days traipsing through the Sierra visiting maestros to share ideas and learn different customs from throughout the mezcal heartland. 

Mezcal Vago Pulquero Special Release

We’ve done small batch releases before, but it doesn’t get much smaller or more special than this 15 liter gem. It was distilled by the newest member of our family, Emigdio Jarquin in Nanche, Miahuatlan de Porfirio Diaz (16°39'78.7"N, 96°55'07.5"W). This mezcal is 100% Agave Pulquero harvested in the hills surrounding Emigdio’s palenque.

Mezcal Vago Bien Picado

The term Bien Picado is one you hear occasionally when visiting palenques in Oaxaca. When Maguey is ripe it starts to sprout its quiote. When the quiote is about a meter high they chop it off so that the sugars stay in the plant. Almost immediately after being cut the bugs called picudos which are the adult form of the gusano de maguey begin to attack the plant. Picado can mean “bitten”, hence the term Bien Picado meaning “bitten up”

Mezcal Vago Espadín en Barro

Most of Tío Rey’s mezcals are “ensembles” of different agave types.  This mezcal, however, is made from 100% Agave Espadín.  It is a great opportunity for Tío Rey to showcase the wonderful traits of Espadín through his ancestral production techniques

Mezcal Vago Tepeztate

The Mezcal Vago Tepeztate is made by Aquilino García López at his palenque in Candelaria Yegolé, Oaxaca (16°29'41.36"N, 96°18'38.69"W).  This mezcal is made from 100% Tepeztate and is wild harvested in the surrounding hills of the Yegolé region.    

These agave varietals are quite large and can take an extraordinary amount of time to mature. The Agave Blanco used for this batch was planted by Tio Rey’s grandfather 45 years ago!  Tio Rey has been watching these plants grow on his property since he was 10 years old.  The Sierra Negra takes anywhere from 10 to 25 years to mature and has a slightly higher sugar content. The higher sugar content enabled a better fermentation and a touch more yield.

Mezcal Vago Tobalá en Barro

The Mezcal Vago Tobalá en Barro is our most prized Mezcal. The combination of 17 year old Tobalá plants with the ancient Olla de Barro techniques of Tío Rey result in an unbelievably unique spirit. The elegance of Tio Reys mature, cultivated Tobalá coupled with the earthy, minerality of the Olla de Barro distillation produces a complex and deep flavor and body.  Add the hand of Tío Rey and his unique spring water and the result is magical.  Turning heads in aficionado communities around the world, this spirit is in a class of its own.

Mezcal Vago Coyote en Barro

This batch was made from 100% Agave Coyote, which is a rarity in the mezcal world.  Not as rich and complex as some of Tío Rey’s other mezcals, the Mezcal Vago Coyote en Barro is approachable and delicate, yet still retains the classic Olla de Barro style.  It is also a great way to become more familiar with the less common Agave Coyote and it’s unique characteristics.