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Not part of the agave family , Sotol, colloquially know as the desert spoon, is an evergreen shrub that grows in the northern parts of Mexico and southern United States. For centuries it has been distilled in the Sierra Madras Mountains of northern Chihuahua into a spirit similar to mezcal. When we first asked about it, our friend Justin Briggs described it so: " basically it's like bell peppers, grass, smoke, fresh garden after a thunderstorm and slate." And we still haven't found better terms for this uncategorizable spirit. Oskar Kostecki
Produced from the wild agave Selmiana in the high altitude Central Mexican Plateau in the state of San Luis Potosi, this is a beautiful foil to traditional Oaxacan mezcal. The agave is not roasted, but cooked (similar to Tequila) resulting in a spirit that is not smokey, but instead bursts on the palate with a crazy array of flavors. Herbal and mineral tones weave their way through a bright citrus and floral character. There's a slight sourness, a funk that I associate with cheese rind, and noticeable acidity, which is quite shocking for a distillate. The wilder side of mezcal. What I also notice with my bottle of Selmiana is that it changes quite remarkably once open. When I first popped the cork, it felt slightly muted and withdrawn, but within 20 minutes all the exuberance I remembered from previous bottles was there again. It is fascinating watching the bottle change and evolve over a period of weeks. Oskar Kostecki
One of the only mezcales that is farmed biodynamically, Fidencio Clasico comes from the heartland of agave distillation in Oaxaca, Santiago Matatlan. Maestro Mezcalero Enrique Jimenez allows his espadin agave to mature for at least 10 years (most is cut down at 7) before harvesting and fermenting using only natural ambient yeast. An assertive smokiness on the attack gives way to fruit, specifically melon, grapefruit, and under-ripe banana. The finish resolves with a minerality reminiscent of hot stones and salinity. A perfect cocktail option. Oskar Kostecki
The perfect mezcal for whiskey drinkers, Vago Mexicano is full-bodied and rich, with notes of baking spices and cinnamon, tropical and citrus fruit, a slight hint of violets, and a mineral undercurrent. Distilled by Aquilino Garcia Lopez in the village of Candelaria Yegole, the agave mexicano is harvested wild from the surrounding arid highland areas. Oskar Kostecki
This bottling for Nuestra Soledad is the only Espadin-based mezcal that Maestro Mezcalero Pedro Vazquez produces. Made using agave cultivated in the highlands of Miahuatlan, this mezcal is broad, herbaceous and rich on the palate. Salinity and minerality interplay with tropical fruit, ripe banana, melon rind, and cherry making this a very textured and complex expression of Espadin. Oskar Kostecki
Siete Leguas makes some of the greatest Tequila you’ve never heard of. This distillery specializes in rustic, spicy spirits with lots of wild agave character. Agave hearts or “Piñas” are cooked and then crushed by a traditional stone wheel "Tahona," which seems to extract a more mineral-infused Tequila than more current sterile methods do. All of the Siete Leguas lineup is fantastic, but I love the tangy Agave purity of the Blanco. A truly complex sipping tequila, or perfect for a Margarita with a real kick. JR