All in Production Process
For those of you mezcal nerds that have been paying attention, we over here at Vago have been slowly expanding our ensamble selections over the past year. You are all most likely familiar with Tío Rey’s Ensamble en Barro, which we have been doing since day one. But starting with the sought-after Curry-30 batch back in 2016, we have been encouraging the mezcaleros we work with to pursue their natural instincts to experiment with blending flavors from different agave varietals into a single, complete mezcal with an intriguing and complex profile.
This 49-liter release of glass-aged mezcal is a special treat bottled for our friends in the great state of Colorado. It was produced in the Spring of 2017 at Emigdio Jarquín Ramirez’ palenque in Nanche, Miahuatlán, Oaxaca (16°23'51.4"N 96°33'03.5"W) and is the newest expression in our line of post-distillation blended mezcals.
We here at Vago have always to go to the next level about not only mezcal culture but the science as well. Well, this time we decided to throw some more love to the real agave nerds out there! For the past couple of months, we have really wanted to spend some time talking about acids and how they affect your mezcal.
Some of you may have noticed some recent changes to our labels. These changes are a result of the new mezcal regulations that are part of NOM 070-SCIFI-2016. NOM-070 (also known as a ¨Norma’) was put into place in April 2017 in an effort to further regulate and categorize mezcal and make it easier for the consumer to understand what they are purchasing. At Vago, we have always made consumer education and transparency a guiding principle. However, the new Norma did force us to make some changes to our label design. We would also like to take this opportunity to explain some of the changes to the NOM and the classifications for mezcal categories.
Over the course of our travels, one of the things that people comment on the most and one of our favorite talking points is our labels. Made of 100% recycled agave fiber, or begaso, they have been designed not to distract someone in any way from what is actually inside the bottle but to be a tool to provide them with as much information as possible to truly understand and appreciate what it is they are drinking. While agave paper is by no means a new idea, having a rich cultural history in Mesoamerica that extends back thousands of years, it has seen a resurgence of late, with the recent mezcal boom and the rise of the "maker culture" of the last few years. Nor by any stretch are we the only label using this ancient technique for our labels, but we really believe the paper maker we work with, Eric Ramirez-Castellanos does an incredible job of making a simple and beautiful texture for Mezcal Vago bottles.
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.
The palenque and agave fields of Salomón Rey Rodriguez or “Tío Rey” (Uncle Rey) are located in the famous Mezcal region Sola de Vega. This town is the most famous spot in the world for Agave Tobalá. The region distills almost exclusively using clay pots “Olla de Barro”.
Aquilino is the father-in-law of Mezcal Vago’s co-founder, Judah Kuper. This family connection and his exquisite Mezcal were the inspiration to form Mezcal Vago. Aquilino has never produced commercially before working with Mezcal Vago and produces exclusively for Mezcal Vago.