Alipus 'Ensamble'Mezcal Oaxaca San Andres
A rare blend of Espadin (the most common variety of agave in Mezcal production) and Bicuishe (Agave Karwinskii - a tall, slender plant that is among the most widely found wild species in Oaxaca), this is a complex style with an intensely floral nose, a sweet, smoky undertone in the aroma that leads to a fruit-driven, elegant palate. The best Mezcal under $75 we've had in a long time.
Alipus was started by Los Danzantes to provide a market for family artisan distilleries. There are still hundreds of small mezcal distilleries in Oaxaca, and a number of them make fabulous products. Hector Vasquez and later Karina Abad Rojas have worked closely with selected small producers, both to improve their distillation methods and to help them with the complex paperwork required to certify their mezcals for export.
The intent was to provide small distilleries with a wider market so that they could stay in business, and it has worked: Alipus producers have been able to add stills and - this is wonderful - to bring their children back from the USA because there is now enough work for them - as distillers! - at home.