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Erstwhile Mezcal Henequén 750 ml

45% ABV | 90 Proof | Oaxaca, Mexico


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Erstwhile Mezcal is an importer based in Brooklyn, New York. We specialize in artisanal and ancestral mezcal. Yes, we sell mezcal. But we always aspired for Erstwhile be more than just a mezcal brand. Our founders created Erstwhile to be a platform for the core values and social missions that we believe in: Mezcal education. Promoting and helping small producers to export for the first time. Women representation and empowerment in the mezcal industry. Transparency in who we are as individuals, and in every aspect of how we do business. We set ourselves apart from others in several ways. First, the small producers we work with are independent family businesses.  They are Erstwhile’s partners, not employees. We pay our producers fairly. We do not ask them for exclusivity or discounts.  We care about our producers’ economic empowerment and put our money where our mouth is.  We seek out small producers who are interested in exporting out of Mexico, but do not have the means to do so on their own.  We help them get certified and licensed for export. We feel good about the fact that we help our producers clear these hurdles from the get-go, independent of their work with us in the future. Unlike family-owned brands, we are not encumbered by loyalty to any particular family.  When you support Erstwhile, you support not just one but all the family producers we partner with. Second, we are committed to transparency.  Look at the back label of every Erstwhile bottle: it gives full disclosure of where you can find our partner producer in Oaxaca and buy directly from the source if you so choose.  Talk to us in person.  Read our website, product pages, blog posts, newsletters, social media.  We are proud and open about who we are, who our partner producers are, and every aspect of how we do business. Third, we are committed to mezcal education, both as teachers and as students.  That is why Erstwhile takes a curatorial, rotating approach when deciding which mezcals we want to bring you.  We bring you not one but a variety to showcase mezcal’s infinite nuances: different agave species, different flavor profiles, different producers,and different production methods. Our vision and commitment to you: keep on discovering kickass distillations by small family producers who want to grow through export; promote these producers and their mezcals; introduce them to you and to mezcal lovers all over the world.  We do not sacrifice excellence to maximize profit or convenience. We commit the Erstwhile name if and only if it is an excellent or extraordinary mezcal. No matter how small the volume. No matter how cumbersome the logistics. Erstwhile is a woman-owned, woman-operated business. We support fellow women in mezcal production and all aspects of the mezcal / wine & spirits industry whenever possible.
A must-have for any serious mezcal collector. Erstwhile Mezcal is the first mezcal importer to launch an artisanal Henequén in the US market. This distillation, made from cultivated Henequén agave, is a small-batch limited edition of only 397 liters.
Henequén (Agave Fourcroydes) is an agave varietal indigenous to the Yucatán Peninsula. It is not indigenous to, and thus rarely seen, in Oaxaca or any of the other mezcal-producing states of Mexico. Consequently, mezcal made from Henequén is rarely seen even in Mexico, and practically unheard of outside of Mexico.
Henequén, also known as sisal, has been cultivated since Pre-Columbian times for use in fiber and textile production. Henequén is a large fibrous agave with dramatic sword-shaped leaves.
Henequén matures in a “fast” 5-7 years. Nonetheless, when processed into mezcal, it yields a complex product notable for its intense minerality, verdancy, saline notes, and a tingly numbness reminiscent of Sichuan peppercorns. As the first importer of Henequén mezcal in the United States, Erstwhile Mezcal has written a lengthy blog post on the topic.
Master Mezcalero: Juan Hernández Méndez
Tasting Notes: Mineral and saline notes of clay and wet earth.  Reminds us of the smell of fresh rain in the Oaxacan countryside. Also the subtle fragrance and sweetness of corn meal, evoking fresh atole and tamales.  It is a smooth easy sipper, so the finish may surprise you: slightly spicy, with a tingly numbness that lingers on the tongue and reminds us of Sichuan peppercorns.