Master Mezcalero Juan Abel Quiroz Agustín prefers to go by “Abel”. Born and raised in Santa María Sola where he still resides, Abel saved for years before achieving the dream of building his own palenque next to his house. He has proudly run his own palenque since around 2009.
Santa María Sola is a municipality in the district of Sola de Vega, in the Sierra Sur region of Oaxaca. Following the tradition of Sola de Vega, Abel distills exclusively with Filipino-style stills made with clay pots, and makes some of the most unforgettable ancestral mezcal expressions we know.
We met Abel by happy accident in early 2020. After getting lost and driving aimlessly around Santa María Sola, we were excited to catch alluring glimpses of his clay pots and hollowed tree trunk fermentation tank from the road.
Abel’s smiling eyes and relaxed energy made us feel at ease right away. One sip of his Tobalá confirmed that our five-hour round trip drive to Santa María Sola that day was not in vain. We were in the presence of greatness.
Abel’s path to becoming a master mezcalero is somewhat serendipitous and non-traditional. While his grandfather was a mezcalero, Abel did not learn the craft from his family. Nor did he have aspirations to follow his grandfather’s footsteps. Instead, he learned mezcal from a few local producers in his early 30’s, after returning from a brief sojourn in the United States and looking for a way to support his young family.
We at Erstwhile Mezcal are thrilled to partner with Abel and launch his singular Ancestral Mezcal expressions for the first time in international markets.
Check out Erstwhile Mezcal’s blog post about Master Mezcalero Abel Quiroz Agustín for more photos, videos, and stories!