Year 1

A bit behind schedule (let’s call it Mexico time) but here is a quick summary of 2018: our first year of sales.

January sales got off to a strong start with listings at Dandelyan (No.1 at World’s 50 Best Bars 2018) and Happiness Forgets (Best International Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards 2018), two of our all-time favourite bars.

In February we had some award success in The Spirits Business Tequila & Mezcal Masters. Pensador was awarded a “Master Award” – their highest accolade – beating all other mezcal entries.

April brought the next headline listing at The American Bar at The Savoy – a bar steeped in cocktail history that has managed to remain at the top of its game (No.1 at World’s 50 Best Bars 2017). We also had our first experience of event sponsorship, stocking the bar at the opening of Cornerstone Restaurant (Best Newcomer at the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2018).

Come May and it was time to return to Oaxaca to help bottle batches A2 and A3. We were lucky enough to spend over five weeks in this beautiful part of the world, much of which was spent living and working at the Palenque. It was great to have an opportunity to bond further with our producers and get a taste of their lives in Miahuatlan. In addition to bottling we had some time to explore the state and scope out potential new releases. More news on this soon.

Early July we found ourselves back in London for a hectic couple of days – a weekend spent running a secret mezcal bar at 24hr music festival, followed immediately by two days on a stall at Imbibe Live. Somehow we still found the energy to watch England in their first ever successful World Cup penalty shoot-out. It was emotional.

In a sweltering August we received our second award – a “Silver Outstanding” in the IWSC 2018 – the highest scoring mezcal in the competition and joint second in the entire agave category. We also lined up our first export market – to The Lebanon via importer distributors Gabriel Bocti Sal. Pretty soon we were getting fan posts from night clubs in Beirut. Who’d of thought it?

September was agave season in London with London Mezcal Week and The Tequila Mezcal Fest. We contributed to both events and had a great time spreading the agave love. Such a great time that we completely drained our stocks. Batch A1 was over.  

Luckily batches A2 and A3 arrived early October, which gave us the opportunity to run our first solo event – The Batch A2 Launch Party – hosted by our good friends Sin Gusano at their bar in Haggerston. The event was a great success, beginning with Afro-tacos and £1 singles and ending with rowdy garage bangers and a Donald Trump Pinata. We went through 31 bottles of Pensador.

November was spent gearing up to Christmas. We opened new retail accounts at Harrods and Fortnum and Masons, and hit a peak of no. 1 top selling mezcal on masterofmalt.com.

Finally, we rounded off the year with a couple of parties. A raucous night of Loteria (Mexican bingo) back at Sin Gusano with Pensador prizes all round, followed swiftly by a Christmas throwdown at The Mezcal Bar featuring potent mezcal margaritas and a huge subwoofer. It was merry.      

Many thanks to everyone who’s supported the brand so far. Hold tight for news updates for 2019. Its going to be a big one.    

Ben Schroder
Batch A3

Batch A3. Closer in profile to A2 than A1, this batch had an unusually high content of Madrecuishe producing rich, earthy mineral notes in the distillate. We love it. This will be appearing in shops and bars over the next couple of months. For our list of stockists see people.   

Details details details.

 

Year: 2018

Region: Miahuatlan, Oaxaca

Master Mezcalero: Atenogenes Garcia

 

Agave:

64.7% Espadin, 35.3% Madrecuishe

100% organic estate grown agave

Crops grown near to agave: maize, squash and beans.

 

Harvest:

12th – 13th March

53 Espadin pinas (3300kg)

21 Madrecuishe pinas (1800kg)

Total raw weight: 5100kg

 

Roasting:

15th-23rd March 2018

Earthen ground oven

Guamuch and Mesquite smoked

Total cooked weight: 3700kg

 

Milling:

29th March – 1st April

Composite Stone Tahona

Ox-drawn

 

Fermentation:

1st – 15th April

Sabino wood vat

Well water added

Natural airborne yeasts

 

Distillation:

7th – 24th April

Copper pot still

Fire powered

Number of distillations: 2

527 Litres produced

48.2%ABV

Ben Schroder
Batch A2

A1 is out. A2 is in. As with all artisanal mezcal’s, there is a small but noticeable difference between the batches. In this case, the principle difference in production was the ambient temperature during fermentation – A1 was fermented during an unusually cool January and consequentially took over 40 days to complete, in warmer conditions A2 took just 17 days – but many other variables of weather, ingredients, and chance contribute. This is just the wonderful, irreplicable nature of mezcal. Importantly, they share core recognisable features, and in our opinion A2 tastes even better than A1 :)

Here are the gory details. 

 

Year: 2017/8

Region: Miahuatlan, Oaxaca

Master Mezcalero: Atenogenes Garcia

 

Agave:

68.4% Espadin, 31.6% Madrecuishe

100% organic estate grown agave

Crops grown near to agave: maize, squash and beans.

 

Harvest:

28th – 29th December  

52 Espadin pinas (3450kg)

16 Madrecuishe pinas (1600kg)

Total raw weight: 5050kg

 

Roasting:

3rd-10th December

Earthen ground oven

Oak, Guamuch and Mesquite smoked

Total cooked weight: 3500kg

 

Milling:

19th-21st December

Composite Stone Tahona

Ox-drawn

 

Fermentation:

21st December – 6th January

Sabino wood vat

Well water added

Natural airborne yeasts

 

Distillation:

6th – 16th January

Copper pot still

Fire powered

Number of distillations: 2

500 Litres produced

48.4%ABV

Ben Schroder
Batch A1

 

Details from batch A1. For all my mezcal nerds out there :) 

 

 

Year: 2016

Region: Miahuatlan, Oaxaca

Master Mezcalero: Atenogenes Garcia

 

Agave:

70% Espadin, 30% Madrecuishe

100% organic estate grown agave

Crops grown near to agave: maize, squash and beans.

 

Harvest:

14th – 16th December  

55 Espadin pinas (3500kg)

52 Madrecuishe pinas (1550kg)

Total raw weight: 5000kg

 

Roasting:

21st-26th December

Earthen ground oven

Oak, Guamuch and Mesquite smoked

Total cooked weight: 3589kg

 

Milling:

3rd - 27th January

Stone Tahona

Horse-drawn

 

Fermentation:

3rd January - 14th February (unusually long due to cold weather)

Sabino wood vat

Well water added

Natural airborne yeasts

 

Distillation:

14th - 28th February

Copper pot still

Fire powered

Number of distillations: 2

407 Litres produced

48.49%ABV

Ben Schroder