This Espadin stood out from the (many) others we had tasted. It hit that magical sweet spot of taste, complexity, good value and versatility. Elegant. Balanced. Nuanced. Approachable but never boring.
It was the fall of 2017. My co-founder Kevin and I were on a multi-day trip through the countryside of Oaxaca, drinking cool hibiscus water at roadside stands and meeting producers who might want to be part of Erstwhile Mezcal’s first shipment out of Mexico.
Specifically, we were looking for a partner producer of great Espadín, one that we would be proud to introduce to the world as Erstwhile Mezcal’s flagship Espadín.
Silverio García Luis and Epifania Gómez Mejía are a producer family of Zapotec heritage based in Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca. We had met them years before on our first trip to Oaxaca. This time, we went to visit them again, and had a gut feeling even before leaving their palenque.
Epifania did not grow up in a mezcal family, but learned the ropes and became a mezcalera of her own right after marrying into the García family. She was recently recognized as a Woman in Mezcal in the January 2020 edition of El Mezcal, an online publication by the Mezcal Regulatory Council (also known as the CRM, short for Consejo Regulador del Mezcal).
Their Espadin stood out from the (many) others we had tasted. It hit that magical sweet spot of taste, complexity, good value and versatility.
Elegant. Balanced. Nuanced. Approachable but never boring.
Crafted by the García family for generations and now available for your collection, the Erstwhile Espadín is your workhorse mezcal. Delicious for savoring a neat pour on its own. But no less stellar in mixed drinks. The perfect gift for the bon vivant in your life. A dynamite addition to any home or professional bar.
Founder of Erstwhile Mezcal
Master Mezcalero: Silverio García Luis & Epifania Gómez Mejía
Agave Varietal: Espadín
Scientific Name: Agave angustifolia
Town / Municipality: Rancho Blanco Güilá, Santiago Matatlán
Fermentation: Natural, Open-Vat Fermentation in Wood
Still Type: Copper Alembic
Dates of Distillation: August 2017; March 2018; May 2018
Number of Liters in Corresponding Distillation: 1447; 1197; 997
Butterscotch, black tea, banana, and roasted maguey. A little sweet, a little creamy. Savory, spicy, and peppery, in a way that reminds us of smoked meats and Texas style barbecue. Followed by lingering, resonating notes of ash and soft smoke on the palate.
Espadin (Agave angustifolia)
Espadin is the most common varietal of agave used in mezcal production. It is indigenous to most mezcal-producing regions and adapts well to cultivation. Depending on the terroir and climate, Esapdin typically takes 5-7 years to mature, which is considered fast in the world of agaves.
Espadin piñas come in a variety of sizes, and can weigh as much as several hundred pounds. The agave is easy to work with. Subject to the hand of the maker, Espadin can yield a wide variety of flavors and profiles, depending on the climate, time of year at harvest, production style, altitude, and countless other factors.
Do not underestimate Espadin. Despite the fact that Espadin is the most “common” agave varietal used for mezcal production, and often less expensive than other varietals, it makes some of the best and most interesting mezcals. As a friend in the trade once said, Espadin mezcal is never “just an Espadin.”