The Lost Explorer Mezcal:
For the past 40 years, internationally recognized and award-winning Maestro Mezcalero Don Fortino Ramos has dedicated himself to mastering the art of distilling mezcal. A love for the craft runs in the family: his daughter, Xitlali, works closely by his side in her pursuit to become the family’s second generation mezcalera.
The Lost Explorer MEzcal agaves are grown in different parts of the arid and sun-soaked valley, on ancestral Miztec land in Valles Centrales, Oaxaca. Over the more than 50 varieties of agave that could be cultivated, the mezcals you have are produced from the Espadín, Tobalá and Salmiana, and each will bring something different to the final distillate.
The agave spend as long as 8-12 years growing until they’ve reached maturity, and are then harvested by hand by jimadores who call upon a centuries-old expertise to carve out the agave piñas using machetes. The piñas are cooked in the ground, using conical earthen ovens lined with volcanic rock, reclaimed local wood, soil, and river stone, and once roasted are milled, or crushed, using the donkey-drawn tahona stone.
The agave fibres are then placed in open-top oak barrels where they rest in pure spring water as wild yeast converts the sugar to alcohol. At the end of the fermentation process, the liquid and agave fibres are placed into copper alembic stills, where they are double-distilled in small batches.
According to NOM legislation, mezcal must be between 36% and 55% alcohol by volume (ABV), so a key skill of the Maestro Mezcalero is knowing when and where to make the cut. Don Fortino’s preferred bottling strength is 42% ABV, as he believes this offers the perfect balance of raw ingredients and alcohol.
Produced using Espadín from the arid valleys of San Pablo Huixtepec, this mezcal is notable for its sweet smoke and light fruits – apple, orange, pear – but also a slightly savoury note.
Stronger on the smoke, there’s a drier quality to this mezcal, with tobacco and wood at first. But there’s also a hint of chocolate in there and a hint of lemon on the nose. Incredibly complex.
Herbaceous with some lively fruit, this is the freshest of the trio, there’s a little chilli heat there, citrus peels, but also plenty of herbal notes on both the nose and in the taste
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