Each Wahaka Espadín is tended up to eight years in the fields of our Oaxaca estate by owner Alberto Morales and his team of craftsmen. Our strict standards for farming and sustainability, like our organic certifications, are unrivaled in our industry. We also replant wild agave to keep their populations healthy for years to come.
Part mountaineer, part expert swordsman, our skilled cortadores conquer field and forest to harvest our organic agave. Few can attempt the meticulous process of carving out the piña, the heart of the agave plant, from the dense and unforgiving landscape.
You can begin to see what makes mezcal so special: It's a prize reserved for the adventurous and brave.
After harvest, the agave piñas are immediately placed in earthen pits lined with rock that's been super-heated by an ocote wood fire. There they cook for up to five days. In that time, the starch in the piña turns to sugar and takes on the delicate taste of smoke.
This step embodies the essence of artisanal mezcal. There are no shortcuts when you defend tradition.
Once the agave piñas have cooked for the optimum time and reached a golden caramel color, they are moved from the pit to our mill just a few yards away. The mill stone is pulled gently by our horse Pacquiau, crushing the pinas to a pulp ready for fermenting. Once again, this step leaves no room for compromise to achieve our standard for artisanal mezcal.
The cooked and crushed piñas now are ready to ferment in our open air oak vats. The fermenting process for mezcal is unique for distilled spirits. Instead of adding yeast strains, fermentation happens naturally as a result of yeast in the air around the palenque. This takes extra care to cultivate the fruit trees around the vats to help nurture a healthy yeast population.
To properly distill our mezcal, we consider quality above all else. That means we cut out what others keep. Each batch, either in our copper stills (for our Traditional and Signature lines) and our clay still (for our Pechugas) is tested by Alberto Morales until impurities have been removed and only our standard of mezcal remains.