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Erstwhile Henequén

Erstwhile Henequén Mezcal is produced using agave Henequén which is native to the Yucatán Peninsula. Erstwhile Mezcal is the first brand to release an agave Henequén mezcal in the US market.

Rating: (1 review)
Brand:Erstwhile Mezcal
Mezcalero:Juan Hernández Méndez
Town:Santiago Matatlan
Age of plant:5-7 years
Batch size:397 liters
Release year:2018
About this mezcal

Erstwhile Henequén Mezcal is produced by Juan Hernández Méndez in Santiago Matatlan, Oaxaca using agave Henequén (var. Fourcroydes) which is native to the Yucatán Peninsula. A batch of agave Henequén piñas were originally bound for Jalisco to be used in some sort of industrial mezcal experiment. However, the experiment didn’t get off the ground and the piñas had to be sent back south. Somewhere along the way, Erstwhile’s partner mezcalero Juan Hernández Méndez intercepted and purchased the lot of agave Henequén piñas. They were crushed by tahona, fermented in open-air wooden vats, and distilled in copper alembic pots. A 397 liter batch was distilled in December 2017. This mezcal has slightly spicy notes with a hint of tingly numbness on the tongue reminiscent of Sichuan peppercorns.

Erstwhile Mezcal

Erstwhile Mezcal is a Brooklyn-based mezcal brand specializing in small-batch artisanal and ancestral mezcal. It was founded in 2017 by Yuan Ji (lawyer-turned-empresaria) and Kevin J. Brown (antiquarian map expert and Owner of Geographicus Rare Antique Maps). Their mission is to discover, curate, and connect both connoisseurs and novices with small-batch mezcal of the highest caliber. The team behind Erstwhile Mezcal is committed to mezcal education, transparency, sustainability and fair trade. Erstwhile Mezcal is a woman-owned business that supports fellow women in mezcal production. The first batches of Erstwhile Mezcal arrived in New York and California in the fall of 2018.

In the US, Erstwhile Mezcal can be purchased directly from their online store.


First Artisanal Henequén Mezcal in the US Market on the Erstwhile Mezcal Blog


1 review

4 out of 5



71 reviews
2 months ago

Lot 18-JHM-HEN, distilled December 2017. There is a lot going on in this one. It’s vegetal but in a dark way (if that is the correct way to describe the taste). It’s quite smoky and I also find notes of liquorice. But this is offset by dark berries and agave sweetness, creating a balanced and interesting mezcal.

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