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Jabalí by Silverio García (2023 Ancestral Limited Edition)

Epifania Gómez Mejía & Silverio García Luis

Only 100 liters made. Jabalí agaves are the most difficult, temperamental agave varietal to work with due to the foam – resulting from saponins, a naturally occuring compound in jabalí agaves – generated at every stage of production from roasting to fermentation to distillation.

Jabalí requires much more work and yields much less mezcal, compared to other agave varietals.  It took about fifty-five pounds of raw Jabalí agave to make one liter of mezcal (or 1 metric ton of raw agave for every forty liters of mezcal) for this particular batch.

A legacy of the era when Mezcal production was illegal in Oaxaca, this batch of Jabalí crafted by Silverio García Luis – a 2023 Ancestral Limited Release – rescues a García family tradition that had been forgotten for almost fifty years.

Don Lencho, Silverio’s father, used a hollowed out quiote (the flowering stalk of agave plants) instead of a copper turbante, to evade the military that would come and seize his distillation equipment by force.

$89.95 (375ml)

The Backstory

Only 100 liters made. This rare batch of Jabalí crafted by Silverio García Luis showcases both a fascinating agave varietal and a García family tradition that speaks to the tenacity, ingenuity, and oral history of Mezcal families from generation to generation.

Jabalí agaves make beautiful mezcal. They are also the most difficult, temperamental agave varietal to work with due to the foam – resulting from saponins, a naturally occuring compound in jabalí agaves – generated at every stage of production from roasting to fermentation to distillation.

Foam created by Jabalí during distillation

 

Jabalí requires much more work and yields much less mezcal, compared to other agave varietals.  It took about fifty-five pounds of raw Jabalí agave to make one liter of mezcal (or 1 metric ton of raw agave for every forty liters of mezcal) for this particular batch.

Moreover, Jabalí often needs three distillations to obtain a thoroughly purified spirit, because the foam can obstruct the distillation process by pushing fermented agave mash (tepache) instead of distilled vapor through the still.

 

 

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Mezcal production was prohibited and persecuted by the authorities in Rancho Blanco Güilá and other parts of Oaxaca.  Silverio’s father, Lorenzo Antonio García (“Don Lencho”, as his family likes to call him), remembers how the military would show up without warning and seize his distilling equipment.  Specifically, Don Lencho recalls how they took the valuable copper pieces like the coil and the turbante tube, because those were the most expensive and hardest to replace.

Creative problem solving ensued.  Don Lencho innovated and used a hollowed out quiote (the flowering stalk of agave plants) to replace the copper turbante distillation tube.

 

 

It was challenging at first.  The quiote, part of an agave plant’s natural growth cycle, is organic.  It is not a perfectly empty and hollow tube, ready for mezcal distillation.  The quiote needed to be – but was not naturally – sufficiently hollow for the mezcal vapor to travel unobstructed.

Don Lencho first tried cutting the quiote in half, in order to remove the insides before rejoining the pieces with tree barks.  That proved ineffective, because the mezcal vapor leaked excessively during distillation.  He eventually solved the problem by keeping the quiote whole, and hollowing it with a long wooden rod.

 

 

The García family used this unique method of mezcal distillation for about a decade, from the end of the 1960’s through the 1970’s.  The quiote fell out of use around 1980 when the military stopped confiscating their distillation equipment.  Don Lencho had acquired a copper turbante tube by then, with less fear that his investment would be taken away by force.

The quiote technique had been forgotten for almost fifty years in the García family … until now.  Silverio García, Don Lencho’s son, has resuscitated this innovative family tradition.

Now you too can partake in this unique mezcal tradition from the García family in Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca, available for the first time in the United States in partnership with Erstwhile Mezcal.

Videos

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Details

Master Mezcalero: Silverio García Luis & Epifania Gómez Mejía
NOM: NOM-0162
Agave Varietal: Jabalí
Scientific Name: Agave convallis
Place of Origin: Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca, 70442, Mexico
Fermentation: Natural Fermentation in Ocote pine wood tanks
Still Type: Clay Pot; Agave Quiote Distillation Tube
Dates of Distillation: June 2023
Total Liters: 100
ABV: 49%

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