Mezcal

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The last of the world’s great undiscovered spirits. Mezcal is distilled from the agave, an unusually complex, flavorful, and interesting form of life giving talented distillers a lot to work with.

Artisan mezcal distillers keep the agave solids in the still; tequila producers don’t. Well-made artisan mezcal is richer, more complex, than any tequila.

We carry only artisan mezcals, most of them made in tiny family distilleries in remote pueblos.  Making artisan mezcals is slow, old-fashioned, labor-intensive. These mezcals  get their flavor from the agave itself, from the soil and climate where the agave was grown, from local and regional traditions of how to roast, ferment, and distill.

 

 

Los Nahuales     Alipus     Mezcalero     Animas     Cuentacuentos    


Los Nahuales

Founded in 1998 by Jaime and Gustavo Muñoz to supply their wonderful Oaxacan restaurant with an authentic local spirit. They refurbished an old distillery in Santiago Matatlan, the epicenter of artisan mezcal distillation.

Los Nahuales mezcal is made in small old-fashioned double-distillation pot stills. Mezcals from the agave espadín are full-flavored and sweet. The Los Nahuales roasting pit is fired with mesquite, adding a smoky richness.

Los Nahuales is exactly the same as the mezcals sold as Los Danzantes in Mexico. The trade name  Los Danzantes could not be used in the USA because of trademark issues.

 


  • LOS NAHUALES Arroqueno

    Single-batch release distilled from a semi-wild sub-variety of the agave Americana. Arroqueno has good acidity, yielding great flavor definition. Nice intensity.

    750 ml / 48% abv

    $115.00

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  • LOS NAHUALES Sierra Negra

    Single-batch release distilled from a sub-variety of the agave Americana noted for its suavity. Rich flavor.

    750 ml / 48% abv

    $115.00

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  • LOS NAHUALES Mezcal Blanco (Joven)

    No blanco tequila can stand up to it: finest blanco mezcal in bottle. Carefully selected espadin agaves from all over the Oaxacan valley, pit-oven roasted, stone milled, fermented in pine vats & distilled by Karina Abad and Joel Antonio. Technical improvements in method result in a mezcal that is full, rich, balanced, and lightly fruity, with a hint of agave sweetness. Light mesquite smokiness from the roasting oven.

    750 ml / 47% abv

    $62.00

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  • LOS NAHUALES Reposado

    Six to nine months in French Nevers and American oak. The oak is subtle but utterly transforms the mezcal into an unusually elegant and subtle distilled spirit that rivals great malt whiskies. Brilliant, well-structured, and complex.

    750 ml / 47% abv

    $74.00

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  • LOS NAHUALES Anejo

    Just over a year in French Nevers oak. Beautifully and gracefully mature, with deep rich flavor and a soft enduring finish. Long finish: scotch whisky fans love it. Very little is exported. Scarce.

    750 ml / 45.2% abv

    $115.00

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  • LOS NAHUALES Metodo Antiguo (blanco)

    Made the authentic pre-Norma way by using tails from the first distillation run, instead of water, to descend the mezcal to bottling proof. The tails add a lovely flowery complexity. Good stuff.

    750 ml / 47.8 % abv

    $72.00

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  • LOS NAHUALES Still Proof (2nd release)

    2nd release/bottled without dilution. Produced 40% from wild jabalí (agave convallis) collected in the hills of San José Lachiguiri, west of Miahuatlan, in dark thin infertile soils. Jabalí is notoriously difficult to distill; here the acidic ferality is beautifully tamed by blending with a rich mature espadín from Pozo Blanco near Santiago Matatlan. 720 bottles only: Scarce

    750 ml / 53% abv

    $120.00

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  • LOS NAHUALES Special Edition no. 2

    One-time distillation of a blend of wild cirial, a variant of cuishe (agave karwinskii), and mountainside espadin (agave espadin) by Joel Antonio Juan and Karina Abad, director of production for Los Nahuales, Alipus, and Mezcalero.  Tasty, rich, nicely balanced.

    750 ml / 48% abv

    $84.00

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  • LOS NAHUALES Special Edition no. 4

    One of the finest mezcals ever distilled, a single batch of espadín (agave angustifolia) from March, 2013. The extraordinary quality of the batch was recognized when it came from the still, and it was matured in glass for five years, deepening and stabilizing its rich complexity. 770 bottles: Scarce.

    750 ml / 48% abv

    $105.00

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Alipus

Tons of photos on the newly launched AlipusUSA.com

Variation in soils, climate, and altitude (terroir) as expressed in mezcals from a single species of agave, the agave espadín. Alipus mezcals are distilled in artisanal family distilleries located in remote Oaxacan pueblos. The agaves are wood-roasted in hornos (conical below-ground ovens), then slow-crushed in stone mills. Fermentation is with native yeasts in open wooden vats; the liquids and solids are then double-distilled in small wood-fired copper potstills.


  • ALIPUS XX Anniversary Edition San Andrés

    A one-time single-batch distillation of semi-wild madrecuishe (agave Karwinskii) by Anastasio Aragón Martinez, a neighbor of Don Valente. Madrecuishe is a specialty of the Miahuatlan region, high-latitude rolling hills with red clay-shale soils; look for a refreshing acerbity and dark chocolate in the finish.

    750 ml / 47.5% abv

    $120.00

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  • ALIPUS XX Anniversary Edition San Miguel de Sola

    A one-time very small single-batch distillation of wild tobalá (agave potatorum): the San Miguel clay pots yield about 25 liters per second distillation. Tobalá is the most elegant mezcal.  Subtle and very deep. Clay gives it a lovely colloidal mouthfeel.

    750 ml / 47.5% abv

    $120.00

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  • Alipus XX Anniversary Edition Santa Ana del Rio

    single-batch using wild agaves, to celebrate 20 years of Alipus, the first exported mezcal with a social motive. Santa Ana's population is 376. You have to wade across the river to get to the destilería.

    750 ml / 48% abv

    $120.00

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  • ALIPUS San Andres Ensamble

    A richer version of a favorite Alipus: this blend contains about 20% semi-wild bicuishe. Don Valente Angel's agaves grow at about 5000 feet on thin calciferous-soiled low hills and terraces. He ferments his agaves in cypress. Very complex: the madrecuishe adds elegance and finesse. Limit 2 bottles per customer.

    750 ml / 43.7% abv

    $65.00

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  • ALIPUS San Andres

    Fermented in cypress vats & distilled by Don Valente Angel from agave Espadin grown at about 5000 feet on thin calciferous-soiled low hills and terraces. Complex, rich, intensely floral.

    750 ml / 44% abv

    $48.00

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  • ALIPUS San Baltazar

    Fermented in pine vats & distilled by Don Cosme Hernandez from agave Espadin grown at about 5700 feet in hilly, white, & rocky soil. Delicate and fruity, slightly sweet.  Fruity and delicate. Limited amount of bottles available. Limit 2 bottles per customer.

    750 ml / 44% abv

    $48.00

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  • ALIPUS San Juan del Rio

    fermented in oak vats & distilled by Don Rodolfo Cruz Gonzales from non-irrigated agave Espadín grown in sunny mountain-top plantings in ferriferous soil at 4600 feet. Fruity, rich, smokey, pleasantly sweet.

    750 ml / 44% abv

    $48.00

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  • ALIPUS San Luis del Rio

    fermented in pine vats & distilled by Don Baltazar Cruz Gomez from agave Espadín grown at about 4000 feet in steep and sandy soils. The day-time temperature is very hot: lots of flavor in the ripened agaves.  Spicy, round, and soft.

     

    750 ml / 47% abv

    $48.00

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  • ALIPUS San Miguel de Sola – Don Leonardo Rojas, Don Jesus Rios, Don Felix Garcia

    Small Batch. Fermented in pine vats; distilled in clay pots from agave Espadín (80%) and Arroqueño (20%) grown in thin, steep, ferriferous soils at about 6000 feet in the coastal Sierra west of Sola de Vega. Intense, complex, floral, with the distinctive soft mouthfeel that comes from distillation in clay. We only have 12 bottles available. Limit 2 bottles per customer.

    750 ml / 47% abv

    $72.00

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  • ALIPUS Santa Ana del Rio

    Fermented in pine vats & distilled by Don Eduardo Hernandez from agave Espadín at about 5200 feet in mountainous, white, & very rocky soil. Unusually cleanly distilled; soft and lightly fruity.

    750 ml / 47% abv

    $48.00

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Mezcalero

Unique one-time bottlings distilled at least 50% from wild or semi-wild agaves. A batch is 6-700 bottles only. It takes a month of work to produce one batch.

The fundamental reason for this collaboration between Craft Distillers (who conceived the brand) and  Los Danzantes (who coordinates production of and bottles the mezcal) is to keep something wonderful going that is at risk of disappearing. Many of these gifted family distillers find it increasingly hard to make a living by selling to local markets. They deserve a wider audience, and to achieve sustainable productivity,  artisan production of mezcal is crushed under the weight of commercial interest, as happened for example in Cognac.

Each bottling is something genuinely special.  The price is held down to allow affordable enjoyment of the best mezcals in production.

“The Mezcalero series is without a doubt the finest collection of mezcals I’ve ever tasted. Nothing from Del Maguey or any other bottler even comes close” – David Driscoll, K&L Wines.


  • MEZCALERO No. 24

    Hand-distilled October 2016 by Don Baltazar Cruz Gonzales in San Luis del Rio from wild tepextate (agave marmorata) and hillside espadín (agave angustifolia). San Luis gets hot, and this espadín is fruity and soft, perfect backdrop for the intense tepeztate. 768 bottles.

    750 ml / 46.4% abv

    $110.00

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  • MEZCALERO No. 25

    Hand-distilled March 2013 by Don Cosme Hernández and his son Cirilo in San Baltazar Guélavila from wild tobalá (agave potatorum). Beautiful tobalá elegance married to San Baltazar’s signature soft touch. 960 bottles

    750 ml / 47.5% abv

    $110.00

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  • MEZCALERO Special No. 5

    An ensamble (blended at roasting) of wild cenizo (agave durangensis) and 60% espadín (agave angustifolia), hand-distilled May 2019 by Don Rubén Solis Lozano in La Constancia, Durango. The upland agaves were wood-roasted, crushed by hand, fermented in a wood-covered underground pit using wild yeasts, double distilled in a 300-liter copper potstill, and bottled in August of 2019. The tiny cenizo is notoriously difficult to distill. Beautifully balanced: the calm rich espadín is perfect backdrop to the feral intensity of the wild cenizo.  960 bottles.

    750 ml / 47% abv

    $135.00

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Animas

Eber Villalobos has been in the mezcal trade for 11 years. He decided to use his knowledge to produce a genuinely excellent mezcal- no bells & whistles, no overblown hype; just the real thing.
Animas is focused on the rare wild agave cupreata, called papalometl where Animas sources it. Animas distills a 100% papalometl, a truly gorgeous espadin, and a rich ensamble of the two. Everything is done as it should be, or better. This is great mezcal.


  • ANIMAS Ensamble Artesanal

    Beautifully distilled blend of espadín and agave cupreata.  Herbal and fruity minerality, with a subtle sweetness.  

    750 ml / 48% abv

    $92.00

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  • ANIMAS Espadin Artesanal

    Agave angustifolia. Distilled by Humberto Juan in San Juan del Rio in Eber Villalobos' new (&beautiful) distillery. Serious mezcal: great presence.   

    750 ml / 44% abv

    $52.00

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  • ANIMAS Papalometl Artesanal

    100% wild agave cupreata sourced in the Mixteca. There is very little wild cupreata in Oaxaca: this is close to unique. Memorable mezcal with the characteristic hint of copper, perfectly balanced.   Scarce

    750 ml / 48% abv

    $120.00

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Cuentacuentos

A wide range of fabulous small-batch mezcals: Read Spear has brought on some wonderfully talented distillers. But making great artisanal mezcal happen is not just about finding talented distillers: it’s about doing business with them in a way that keeps this beautiful human activity alive. His real accomplishment is making his dream their dream too: people doing what they love, what they give their hearts to. It shows up in the mezcal.


  • CUENTACUENTOS Arroqueno Artesanal

    From Angel Cruz Robles in El Lazo in the mountains above Sola de Vega. Agave Americana var.

    750 ml / 50% abv

    $120.00

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  • CUENTACUENTOS Coyote Ancestral

    On clay potstills. From Ángel Cruz Calvo (Ángel Robles’ grandfather) in El Lazo above Sola de Vega. The Sola de Vega wild coyote has longer spines and a small piña than the Americana found in the Oaxaca valley.  Rare.

    750 ml / 45.67% abv

    $120.00

    Out of Stock


  • CUENTACUENTOS Coyote ARobles

    On clay potstills. A wild local sub-varietal of agave Americana. Another beauty from Ángel Cruz Robles in El Lazo above Sola de Vega  

    750 ml / 45.67% abv

    $120.00

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  • CUENTACUENTOS Cuish Artesanal

    Wild Agave Karwinskii from Serafin Garcia Geronimo near San Dioniso Ocotopec. Beautifully distilled.

    750 ml / 47.9% abv

    $86.00

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  • CUENTACUENTOS Desitilado de Agave Cupreata (Papalote)

    From Antonio Sonido in Pantitlan in Guerreo. The wild cupreata is so named because of the distinctive slight hint of copper on the palate. It’s one of our favorite agaves: complex

    750 ml / 49.63% abv

    $99.00

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  • CUENTACUENTOS Destilado de Agave Tobala

    Wild agave potatorum from Daniel Léon in Quielela near Sola de Vega, Ancestral distillation in a clay pot still. Tobalá from Sola de Vega distilled in clay is about as good as mezcal gets.

    750 ml / 45.88% abv

    $99.00

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  • CUENTACUENTOS El Barro – Entire 2nd Distillation Batch

    The entire batch (30 1-liter bottles) of the second distillation in a claypot still of joven (blanco) espadín, the batch number and your name on a strip label. Call Kristie Meyer at 707 468-7899 or kmeyer@craftdistillers.com

    30 x 1000 ml / 46% abv

    $2,500.00

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  • CUENTACUENTOS Espadin Ancestral

    On clay potstills. From Angel Robles above Sola De Vega. Agave angustifolia.

    750 ml / 48% abv

    $89.00

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  • CUENTACUENTOS Espadin Artesanal

    From Serafin Garcia Geronimo near San Dioniso Ocotopec. Agave  angustifolia

    750 ml / 48% abv

    $70.00

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  • CUENTACUENTOS Madrecuishe Artesanal

    Semi-wild agave Karwisnskii fron Everardo Garcia Salvador in San Pablo Mitla (the 1544 church stands on top of great Mizteca ruins). Soft minerality from chalky soil

    750 ml / 47.59% abv

    $96.00

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  • CUENTACUENTOS Tepeztate artesanal

    From Serafin Garcia Geronimo near San Dioniso Ocotopec. Agave marmorata.

    750 ml / 48% abv

    $99.00

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  • CUENTACUENTOS Tobala Ancestral

    From Ángel Cruz Calvo in El Lazo in the mountains above Sola de Vega. The rare agave Seemania: worth buying. Scarce

    750 ml / 47.3% abv

    $120.00

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  • CUENTACUENTOS Tobala Artesanal

    From Serafín Garcia Gerónimo near San Dioniso Ocotopec. Wild agave potatorum. Good price for tobalá.

    750 ml / 45% abv

    $96.00

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  • CUENTACUENTOS Tobala Everardo

    From Everardo Garcia Salvador in San Pablo Mitla. Agaves potatorum & angustifolia.  

    750 ml / 47.5% abv

    $90.00

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  • EL BARRO Mezcal

    Small 30-liter batches of joven (blanco) espadín (agave angustifolia), with the first distillation in copper, the second distillation in a clay pot still. Wonderful mouth-feel. Great price for clay-finished mezcal.  

    750 ml / 46% abv

    $65.00

    Add to cart


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