Sazerac has recently partnered with Oaxaca-based Casa San Matias and a group of local mezcaleros to introduce a new family of mezcals called Los Vecinos del Campo. Some detail:
These hand-crafted spirits are produced by 10 families in the Valles Centrales of Oaxaca who have been utilizing traditional methods to create rich agave spirits for generations. The name Los Vecinos del Campo is a nod to those families and their communities, as it translates to “Neighbors of the Field.”
Los Vecinos del Campo Mezcals hail from the Valles Centrales of Oaxaca and are produced by a group of 10 master mezcaleros who use time-honored processes passed down by their ancestors to distill the small batches of mezcal.
The mezcaleros use locally grown and hand-harvested agave and slow-roast the agave hearts, or piñas, underground to create the sultry, smoky-sweet artisanal mezcals. The piñas are crushed using a stone molino, then naturally fermented in wooden vats, and, finally, double distilled using copper pot stills.
Los Vecinos del Campo is releasing its “Espadin” expression in several markets, while two other expressions, “Tobala” and “Ensamble No. 1,” will be released in 2019.
As the name implies, this joven (unaged) mezcal is made from espadin agave, one of the more common varieties used to make the spirit. Let’s give it a try.
The nose here is a classic example of the spirit, with a slightly beefy barbecue character, with gentle notes of black pepper, thyme, and sage. There’s a slight saline character here that lifts up the aromatics with a unique briny quality. The palate is surprisingly gentle, an easy slide into roasted meat and campfire smoke quality, with more of that sage character kicking in later in the game. There’s a gentle brown sugar sweetness here too, which melds well with the lingering, easygoing smokiness of the finish. All told, this is a versatile mezcal that is delightful on its own — but which may work even better as a cocktail base.