About Raicilla      About Sotol

Xavier Villagrán, whose family has worked in mezcal for three generations, founded BALAM fifteen years ago. Villagrán sources excellent artisanal raicillas in Jalisco, sotols in Chihuahua and Durango, and the rare churique from the tiny agave lechugilla.


Villagrán sources Balam in several different artisanal destilerías, whose modes of production vary within the artisanal tradition. Some roast in rock-lined palenques, others in above-ground adobe ovens; some mill with canoas, others use shredders; all use potstills: copper, clay, stainless steel; and, of course, each product bears the mark of its distiller’s specific skills and methods. These are very beautiful agave spirits. More about Balam


Crushing by mazo (mallet) at El Tuito for the Balam Raicilla de la Costa


20% Off Special: Sotol 3-Bottle Set: A specially priced 3-bottle set of sotols contains one each of the following: BALAM Sotol Desierto: Dasylirion wheeleri distilled with artisanal methods by Enrique Valencia in the pueblo of Coyame, at 4000 ft in the high Sonoran desert of Chihuahua. BALAM Sotol Durango: Distilled using artisanal methods by Jesús Román in Peñon Blanco at 5200 feet in Durango. Hand-milled. MEXICAT Sotol Artesanal: From 4th and 5th generation distillers Norma & Bienvenido Fernandez, using artisanal methods in Madera, at 6500 feet in the mountains of Western Chihuahua.
ml / % ABV  
Sale! $172.00
BALAM Churique: An unclassified wild agave, found only in the Chihuahuan desert and locally called lechugilla (“small lettuce”), distilled using artisanal methods by Bienvenido Hernandez in Madera, at 6500 feet in Chihuahua. Hand-milled. The sparse & tiny agave looks intimidatingly thorny. Agave distillates from tough environments are intense: so is churique. Unique, mineral (chalky), appealingly slightly sour finish.
750 ml / 47% ABV  
BALAM Sierra Tigre: Ancestral distillation on a Filipino clay still by Chuy Lapian in Las Agujas (pop. 48, at 5100 ft) in the Sierra del Tigre southwest of Guadalajara. His distillation is as authentic as it gets: like many Jaliscans, he uses a masonry (brick) above-ground oven to roast wild agave inaequidens. The lengthy (23- day) fermentation and the single distillation to high alcohol of a 400-bottle batch yields a raicilla of notable focus and lactic complexity. BIG.
750 ml / 43.8% ABV  
BALAM Sotol Desierto: Dasylirion Wheeleri distilled using artisanal methods by Enrique Valencia in the pueblo of Coyame, at 4000 ft in the high Sonoran desert of Chihuahua. Hand-milled. Sotol growing in a dry and colder climate yields intensity, with plenty of minerality, and a touch of sweetness. Focused and nicely clean.
750 ml / 48% ABV  
BALAM Sotol Durango: Dasylirion Wheeleri distilled using artisanal methods by Jesús Román in Peñon Blanco at 5200 feet in Durango. Hand-milled. Sotol from the mountains is softer and fruitier. Long complex finish.
750 ml / 47% ABV  
BALAM Raicilla de Costa: From Rosalio Rodriguez in El Tuito in the mountains of Cabo Corriente, south of Puerto Escondido. Rodriguez distills chico aguiar (agave angustifolia) and agave rhodacantha, both wild and grown in his own fields. The climate is moderated by being close to the sea: spicy and nicely vegetal.
750 ml / 47% ABV  
BALAM Raicilla Del Llano: From Juan Jesús Ariaz Lugo in San Gabriel on the central plateau SW of Guadalajara. Agave angustifolia, the familiar espadín cultivated in Oaxaca, but tasting far more fruity and earthen, very accessible at the lower ABV preferred by many raicilla distillers. Nicely round.
750 ml / 40% ABV  
BALAM Raicilla Extra Anejo: Starting in 2012, Rosalio every year has aged a barrel of rhodacantha for a year, then added it to the earlier ones in a single tank. In 2019, he filled a small barrel with the aged solera for a month of integration, and filled 274 bottles. We are aware of no other distiller who does this: truly one of a kind. Deep and rich. Scarce.
750 ml / 43% ABV  
BALAM Raicilla Madurado de La Costa: From Rosalio Rodrigueaz in El Tuito, a solera of rhodacantha: Rosalio ages one barrel’s worth of his rhodacantha every year, then adds it to the solera; the oldest dates from 2004. 559 bottles only, average age over 8 years. There is nothing like it made from agaves. Complex and very mellow.
750 ml / 47.7% ABV  
BALAM Raicilla de la Sierra: From Benito Salcedo Rios in El Mosco, a tiny pueblo (pop. 148) at 3200 feet in the Sierra Madre, south of Mascota. Benito is an agronomist, and you can taste his feel for the plant: lechuguilla (agave Maximiliana), a wild agave he is working on cultivating for sustainability. Focused and very cleanly distilled.
750 ml / 46% ABV