If Tepextate sounds rare to you, that's a pretty safe assumption.
Ron Cooper of Taos, New Mexico, loves Mezcal. He loves everything about it from the choice agave plants used to the local "palenques" (distilleries) brewing up this sacred elixir. "Maguey" is the Aztec word for "agave". So he established Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal in 1995, spending his days searching the back roads of Mexico discovering the small family farm distilleries making Mezcal with local flair. He bottles up their local Spirit and sells these previously unavailable, small batch artisanal releases to a grateful public.
Del Maguey is a brand that prides itself on its sustainability and focus on village producers. Taking their processes back to the ancient traditions of the Oaxaca people, Del Maguey ensures that these traditions are enshrined in their product. Sourcing their Mezcal from individual villages, they support micro-economies. This allows them to take a step back from all that mass produced Mezcal and present something unique to the market.
This time, Del Maguey got their hands on another rare wild agave – the Tepextate. Joining their Vino De Mezcal series, this maguey variety has leaves about 10 inches wide and grows almost vertically out of rocks, very high up in the mountains (5577 feet high). It needs 18-25 years to reach maturity. And what does this mean for our Mezcal? Well, first of all, a lighter body with a bright candied fruit nose. Then, some banana taffy and spun sugar on the nose as well as passion fruit and marzipan notes saying hi from the palate. The palenqueros responsible are Rogelio Martinez Cruz and Leopoldino Miranda who make it in the Sierra Norte region. Roasted for 15 days and fermented for a week, it’s bottled at 90 proof and it got 96 points at the 2016 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.