Tasting Notes for Alipus San Juan del Rio Mezcal
Aroma: Delicate smoky and vegetal nose with faint chocolate and mocha coffee.
Taste: Herbacious, faintly sweet and delicate smoky palate with crispy smoky bacon, and tar coated char grilled broccoli.
Finish: Lingering smoky finish with lingering tar and cracked black pepper.
The Alipus label is dedicated to finding and distributing traditionally made small village mezcal from family run distilleries. The recipes used have been passed down through the generations, and the love and knowledge that each family infuses in their mezcal keeps the traditions alive for future generations. There are several expressions of Alipus mezcal and the idea was to create a map of Oaxacan mezcals showing how the conditions where each is produced differentiates the final product, with distinct soils, waters and climates having a singular influence on the land where each mezcal is grown.
San Andrés Mezcal is produced in Sierra Norte, Oaxaca by Don Joel Antonio Cruz and his family. Distilled from 100% agave Espadín, grown at an altitude of 1250 to 1700 meters above sea level, in white soils poor in organic material with a clay and silty texture. The agave is harvested in the traditional manner by Jimadores and is roasted in a stone lined food fired roasting pit. Fermentation is done in 1500L pine vats using wild yeast and the resulting liquid is double distilled using copper pots. All bottling and labelling is done by hand at the distillery.
Alipús Mezcal originated in 1999 as a social impact project by Distilería Los Danzantes, that sought to support traditional family producers. Each version of Alipus is a unique expression born from the soul of the land, connecting us to the families which have been keeping traditional recipes and production methods alive through the generations. Through the Alipus project, these family producers are now able to offer their particular elixir for the delightful enjoyment of the world.
There are hundreds of small palenques in Oaxaca reached only on dirt roads. Small artisanal distilleries preserve – uncorrupted – the traditional centuries-old ways of distilling mezcal. Often the makers of these fabulous Mezcals are unable to navigate the bureaucracy necessary to sell their spirits abroad. Master Distillers Hector Vasquez and later Karina Abad Rojas from Distilería Los Danzantes have worked closely with selected small producers, both to improve their distillation methods and to help them with the complex paperwork required to certify their Mezcals for export.
Today they work with nine mezcal producers in Oaxaca, all of which contribute to the development of rural economies. These family distilleries are very old-fashioned operations. Some still lack stone mills, and crush the roasted agaves by hand, using long-handled wooden mallets, in canoas, hollowed out logs; others distil in potstills made from clay. The process is slow and labour-intensive, tied into the agave itself, tied into the pueblo where the mezcal is distilled, tied into local and regional methods handed down for generations.
Producer Don Joel Antonio Cruz and family in their family palenque in Sierra Norte, Oaxaca Style 100% maguey Espadín Joven Mezcal Volume 75cl ABV 47.9%