A REGIONAL NICHE WITHIN THE MEZCAL CATEGORY

A REGIONAL NICHE WITHIN THE MEZCAL CATEGORY

the spirit

Raicilla is a type of mezcal produced primarily in the western Mexican state of Jalisco but also neighboring Nayarit.  While there are similarities to other agave spirits, the types of agaves, cooking, cultivation, terroir and flavor are distinct.  Raicilla is produced in micro-distilleries called tabernas.  These tabernas are either owned by families or communities, serving as a collective – not unlike grain or coffee production. 

the HISTORY

Over 400 years ago, in the late 1500s and early 1600s, there was a mining boon in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range that cuts through Jalisco and Nayarit.  It was during this time that raicilla as it is now known today started to be produced.

the NAME

Old lore has it that producers used the term “vago de raicilla” to confuse the Spanish and thus avoid the heavy taxes and fines levied on local spirits in the New World.  Raicilla translates to tiny root, or rootlet, and others believe the name of the spirit originated from the literal context of producing using the roots of the agave leaves, the piña.

, n. the small surface bubbles, or pearls, that form when taberneros measure the alcohol content in a batch of raicilla – a time-honored tradition
Maestro Raicillero
Santiago Díaz Ramos
Las Perlas is distilled at Hacienda El Divisadero by 5th generation raicilleros, The DÍAZ Rubio and DÍAZ Ramos families The taberna is located near the village of Las Guásimas, about 30 minutes north of El Tuito, the largest town in the Cabo Corrientes municipality.
TASTING NOTES Deep agave flavor with floral and vegetal undertones of green pepper and melon. Hints of salinity, minerality and smoke.
Coastal raicillas are typically made from the Angustifolia and Rhodacantha varieties of agave, which include verde, chico aguiar, cenizo and amarillo.
agave
Made with single-origin amarillo and verde agaves grown for over 12 years on the hilly, coastal terrain - without the use of pesticides or other chemicals.
cooking
Cooked in a stone-lined underground pit oven with firewood and sealed with clay. After one day, water is added to create steam. Total cooking time - 72 hours.
Milling
Cooled agaves are chopped using sledge hammers and machetes in a wooden trough and are run through a mechanical chipper.
Fermentation
The chopped fibers and resulting juices are then put into masonry fermentation tanks along with spring water. Fermentation occurs from wild yeasts over 20+ days.
1st Distillation
The first distillation occurs in a small stainless steel pot still. 400 Liters.
2nd Distillation
The second distillation occurs in a smaller copper “Filipino” still. 80 Liters.