Mezcal Vago Mexicano
The Mezcal Vago Mexicano is made by Aquilino García López at his palenque in Candelaria Yegolé, Oaxaca (16°29'41.36"N, 96°18'38.69"W).
The Agave Mexicano that Aquilino uses is sourced from his and his neighbor’s farm in Candelaria Yegolé. This strain is native to not just the region or the valley, but that actual hillside. Though cultivated, this agave is quite rare.
There are several different varieties of Agave Mexicano. Aquilino uses Agave Mexicano Penca Corta which has shorter, broader leaves than Agave Espadín. It’s Latin name is Agave Rhodacantha. At maturity it is about 30% smaller than an Espadín and takes 7-10 years to mature.
For Mezcal Vago’s Mexicano, Aquilino combines 10% (raw agave weight) of Agave Espadín with the Agave Mexicano in the roasting pit. This is done to add a touch of sweetness, help bring out the subtle flavors of the Agave Mexicano and leave a lasting finish. They are roasted, ground, fermented and ditilled together.
Mezcal Vago’s Mexicano is a treat for connoisseurs. It has a great balance of spiciness and sweetness that is distinct to the Agave Mexicano. Aquilino’s techniques highlight these characteristics from the spicy aroma through a touch of sweetness on the finish. This mezcal has become renowned for it’s elegance and is beautiful sipped on it’s own. The hints of cacao, cinnamon, and vanilla make it a perfect digestif or pairing with dessert.
Producer: Aquilino García López.
Location: Candelaria Yegolé, Oaxaca
The still (palenque) is on Aquilino’s ranch where he lives full time. He and his father moved it to its current location 15 years ago. It has moved around from nearby locations over the years. He believes his family has been making Mezcal for at least five generations. Aquilino and his son Mateo do nearly all of the work themselves.
The fermentation vats are made of pine and hold up to 1000 liters. The cooked agave and water ferment from the natural airborne yeasts in the air. No additional ingredients are used to make the Mezcal other than agave and water.
Each batch ferments for around a week. This varies depending on the ambient temperature at the time of fermentation. Aquilino distills his fermented mash before all of the sugar has fermented. This is sooner than other Mescalero’s’ techniques. He uses six fermentation vats. Aquilino has an alembic copper still that has a 250-liter capacity. He makes all the separations (cuts) by smell and taste. All of Aquilino’s mezcals are twice distilled. Aquilino’s Mezcals have a definite style. Bright, clean and bold without too much smoke. They have less bottom end (tails) than other mezcal lines, due in part to his “narrow” cuts on the still. This really lets the subtle notes of the agave shine through on the front end of the palate. All of Aquilino’s mezcal goes through a simple sediment filtration through a tubular cellulose filter before bottling. The bottling is done by hand in Oaxaca City. The very light filtration is the only way the mezcal is affected between when it was made on the palenque and how it ends up in the bottle.