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Erstwhile Tepeztate Ancestral

Erstwhile Tepeztate Ancestral was produced by Epifania Gómez Mejía & Silverio García Luis using an agave quiote to replace the copper turbante in distillation.

Rating: (5 reviews)
Brand:Erstwhile Mezcal
NOM:NOM-O162X
Mezcalero:Epifania Gómez Mejía, Silverio Garcia Luis
Maguey:Tepeztate
Agave:Marmorata
Distillation:Clay Pot
Style:Joven
State:Oaxaca
Town:Santiago Matatlán
ABV: 48%
Batch size: 700 liters
Release year: 2021
Website: https://www.erstwhilemezcal.com/, opens in new window

About this mezcal

Erstwhile Tepeztate Ancestral was produced by Epifania Gómez Mejía & Silverio García Luis. From the brand:

A legacy of the era when Mezcal production was illegal in Oaxaca, this batch of Tepeztate crafted by Silverio García Luis – a 2021 Ancestral Limited Release – rescues a García family tradition and speaks to the tenacity, ingenuity, and oral history of Mezcal families from generation to generation.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Mezcal production was prohibited and persecuted by the authorities in Rancho Blanco Güilá and other parts of Oaxaca. Silverio’s father, Lorenzo Antonio García (“Don Lencho”, as his family likes to call him), remembers how the military would show up without warning and seize his distilling equipment. Specifically, Don Lencho recalls how they took the valuable copper pieces like the coil and the turbante tube, because those were the most expensive and hardest to replace. Creative problem solving ensued. Don Lencho innovated and used a hollowed out quiote (the flowering stalk of agave plants) to replace the copper turbante.

It was challenging at first. The quiote, part of an agave plant’s natural growth cycle, is organic. It is not a perfectly empty and hollow tube, ready for mezcal distillation. The quiote needed to be – but was not naturally – sufficiently hollow for the mezcal vapor to travel unobstructed.

Don Lencho first tried cutting the quiote in half, in order to remove the insides before rejoining the pieces with tree barks. That proved ineffective, because the mezcal vapor leaked excessively during distillation. He eventually solved the problem by keeping the quiote whole, and hollowing it with a long wooden rod.

The García family used this unique method of mezcal distillation for about a decade, from the end of the 1960’s through the 1970’s. The quiote fell out of use around 1980 when the military stopped confiscating their distillation equipment. Don Lencho had acquired a copper turbante tube by then, with less fear that his investment would be taken away by force.

The quiote technique had been forgotten for more than forty years in the García family … until now. Silverio García, Don Lencho’s son, has resuscitated this innovative family tradition.

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.

Member rating

4.2 out of 5

5 reviews

Forpowder

Forpowder

96 reviews
Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars1 month ago

Batch 2023 SGL bottle 541//720 Aromas out of the bottle are typical Agave that was over roasted and just a little bit of sourness. Not a lot of alcohol or sweetness flavors follow this is a somewhat of a difficult drink for me it’s good but not great a lot of sourless and funk salty and Briny with nothing to back it up. I will say no that the bottle is opened up some that I get a lot of clay and minerals the green Agave flavors are very sharp and makes my tongue tingle

James Christian

James Christian

46 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars1 year ago

Don’t have the batch number…. tried recently at Mexico In a Bottle, Match 2023 (I assume this was the latest batch)

VERY nice Tep! Outside of the Sotol, this was my favorite bottle on the table. Spearmint, clay and cream are spot on from HighWine’s review. I thought perhaps more clay and leather as well.

The crazy way this bottle got into existence is worth seeking it out, as well as the flavors. Well done.

HighWine

HighWine

77 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars1 year ago

Erstwhile Tepeztate
2021 Ancestral Limited Edition
Silverio Garcia Luis & Epifanía Gómez Meija
NOM-0162
Batch# 2021-SGL-TEP-ANCESTRAL
Bottle #495

I was attracted to this bottle because it is distilled in a clay post with. hollowed out quiote (the flowering stalk of agave plants) instead of a copper turbante. There’s a cool story behind the process and I was anxious to try it and it exceeded my own expectations.

Nose is wet clay, minerality, and green leaves. The taste is spearmint, clay,and marshmallow crème with a touch more than a hint of smokiness. Medium mouthfeel that numbs the palette. I was skeptical at 96 proof but I think they nailed it here. It’s all flavor and no burn. A real treat.

4.5 stars

Erstwhile Tepeztate
2021 Ancestral Limited Edition
Silverio Garcia Luis & Epifanía Gómez Meija
NOM-0162
Batch# 2021-SGL-TEP-ANCESTRAL
Bottle #495
I was attracted to this bottle because it is distilled in a clay post with. hollowed out quiote (the flowering stalk of agave plants) instead of a copper turbante. There’s a cool story behind the process and I was anxious to try it and it exceeded my own expectations.
Nose is wet clay, minerality, and green leaves. The taste is spearmint, clay

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SoloAgave

SoloAgave

86 reviews
Rated 5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Incredibly kind family if you ever get the chance to visit them and their mezcal is amazing. Spot on review above from Zack above – captures the Tepeztate flavors we all know and love. This distinct expression is unique because its got some of the clay pot magic along with the copper pot in your face punch. This type of distillation with both clay/copper working in conjunction is so interesting so make sure to give this a try!

Zack Klamn

Zack Klamn

542 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Nose – Granny Smith apples. Uncut jalapeno peppers. Powdered sugar.

Palate – Turnip with a bit of garden soil. Quite grassy. A big leather note. Salty finish with a hint of dry asiago cheese. Pretty solid mezcal, this batch was by Silverio Garcia Luis.

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