El Buho / Mezcal / Please click for sizes
While learning to cook traditional farm-to-table cuisine in 2007, NY-based Michelin star chef and mezcal connoisseur TJ Steele found the source provider for an excellent Espadin mezcal at the Don Isaac Distillery, owned and operated by the 5th generation Jimenez Mendez family.
The Jimenez Mendez family has made mezcal in copper pot stills for five generations and are currently teaching the sixth. Patriarch Octavio Jimenez Monterroza presides over each batch made by his children Jose Isaac, Beatriz and Octavio as the family works as a collective unit.
Mature agave plants are carefully selected, then slowly roasted for one week in an underground stone pit with local mesquite wood. The roasted agave pieces are crushed on a traditional Tohona stone mill, well water is added to the resulting aguamiel, and the mixture fermented for a few days. The mash is then double distilled in a fifth generation alembic still and packaged by hand in a distinctive bottle featuring "el buho" himself.
An inviting nose of sweet agave, vanilla and delicate smoke leads to a rich, full-flavored palate with herbaceous notes of roasted agave, sweet potato, vanilla and earth. The finish is long, spicy and peppery, enhanced by an elegant touch of smoke.