Our process begins with the Agave itself. Xicala is made with 100% Espadin Agave grown in the Valley of Tlacolula Oaxaca, known as the Mezcal Land due to its perfect soil, climate and altitude. The Agave is allowed to mature for the longer period of between seven and ten years to develop a fuller and more complex flavor.
Once the Agave is deemed mature by the expert Jimadores it is harvested, the leaves are removed and the heart of the Agave, the ‘Pina’ is then ready for roasting.
UNIQUE ROASTING PROCESS
Xicala’s roasting process is unique and begins with a wooden fire started in the bottom of a volcanic stone-lined conic oven built in the ground. The conic shape of the oven allows for the heat to be evenly distributed throughout the entire roasting process. Once the rocks are heated, the ‘Pinas’ are placed in the oven and covered with Agave leaves, straw mats and topped with dirt and rocks to seal the heat in.
Roasting is a three day process. Once the roasted “Pinas’ have been dug up from the oven they are crushed using a traditional large stone wheel to ensure grinding consistency.
After the Agave is ground, it is stored in wooden barrels with a combination of hot and cold water to ferment for eight days. The fermented Agave is then mashed and distilled. The first distillation yields low-grade alcohol (20 to 25% APV). The heads and tails (the part of the distillation that does not contain as much alcohol) are removed. Only the heart of the distillation is kept and then distilled for a second time to render a higher quality final product, about 43% APV. Just as before, the heads and tails are discarded and only the delicate heart of the distillation is retained. The Mezcal is then rested for a couple of months in steel tanks before being bottled and adorned with its unique spirit animal.
It is this combination of exceptional terroir and provenance, traditional techniques and unique innovations in our process, that create the surprising smoothness and lightness of Xicala.