"At Vago, we believe in walking away from the beaten path, losing ourselves in the hills, and searching out the extraordinary. We seek out small batch mezcaleros, who for generations have been perfecting their craft deep in the mountains of Oaxaca. Each of our unique mezcals is naturally made in a traditional palenque with no additives. On the front label of each of our bottles, all the information is there about who made it, what pueblo, what agave, size of batch and more. This is connoisseur mezcal. We aim to empower both the master craftsmen with a celebration of his art, and also the consumer by giving them the knowledge they need to find a great mezcal. "
Emigdio distills outside of Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz. We are very proud and excited to have finally found a mezcalero from this area we can put in a Vago bottle. Miahuatlán is a historically important town in mezcal production as well as where both Aquilino and Tío Rey’s families emigrated from. By adding Emigdio to the family, we are able to extend the conversation of our history and tradition even further back in time.
Emigdio’s land is in the Nanche district of Miahuatlán de Porfirio Diaz (16°23'51.4"N 96°33'03.5"W), about 2 ½ hours directly South of Oaxaca City. The palenque sits at around 4,970 ft., among gently rolling hills and shallow arroyos in an arid climate. In the surrounding area grows Agave Espadín, Mexicano Verde, Tobalá, Tepeztate, Arroqueño, Pulquero, Madre Cuixe, and Bicuixe (Cuixe).
Mezcal goes back in his family at least three generations, Emigdio having learned it from his grandfather. Their horno is a conical pit dug into the earth, which can hold up to 7 tons of Espadin. Emigdio usually roasts his agave for 5-7 days, which is on the longer end of an average roast. He then lets it rest in the sun to cool for one to two weeks.
Emigdio uses a cement tahona lined with rocks and pulled by mule to crush their agave. Once crushed, they use four Ocote wood fermentation vats with volumes of 1,470, 1,600, 1,600, and 1,700 liters, which usually take around three days to ferment to completion.
Distillation is done in a 300 l. copper refrescador still. Refrescador is a technique that is common to the area surrounding Miahuatlan, but one that Vago has never used before. The still looks similar to a copper alembique still with a stainless steel cylinder surrounding it. This cylinder is then filled with water, allowing it to cool the upper part of the still. This upper chamber now acts as a condenser and sends the alcohol vapor back down into the boiler before being heated again and passing out of the still and into the condensing coil. This method essentially allows for two distillations during a single pass through the still. Cuts are made using a carrizo to test for ABV as well as taste and smell. A full capacity 300 l. still will produce, on average, 100 l. of mezcal in roughly 14 hours.