This mezcal may have the best origin story of any of the offerings we have! Ron Cooper (Del Maguey founder) was in the village of San Pedro Teozacoalco seeking the palenquero who made this sensational mezcal he was tasting, the man's name is Fernando Caballero Cruz, and no one in the village knew him. Once Ron found him, Fernando told him that the village only knows him as his nickname, "El Bigote." A good laugh was had and Ron knew this was a variety he needed to have in the Del Maguey arsenal. Notes of tropical fruit, avocado, fried plantains, and a hint of leather leads to a palate that has a warming cocoa spice and a touch of orange peel. A limited offering, this Wild Papalome is truly a remarkable spirit from one of the most remote corners of Oaxaca.
In 1990 New Mexico artist Ron Cooper was working on an art project that involved 50 blue, hand-blown, glass bottles depicting the Aztec God, Ometotchtli. He wanted to fill these with a spirit called “mezcal” he’d encountered during his inspirational journeys to Mexico. Not known in the US at the time, he realized there was something more to this than just the art project. Ron started Del Maguey (del ma-gay) in 1995 to bring the unique Oaxacan culture and spirit he’d experienced, and found inspiration in, to the United States. Working only with individual family palenqueros (producers) dedicated to the ancient, original process, he began to introduce these artisan products to a new audience: one that generally understood mezcal to be “the stuff with the worm in it.” Single-village bottlings represent a purity from place to place, with an expansive, and varied, topography Oaxaca is home to many microclimates and each village gives the liquid its own expression of terroir. Ron’s passion for the culture of Oaxaca, and its native spirit, is infectious, and he is almost singlehandedly responsible for the popularity of artisan mezcal today. Without his efforts many of the brands we have featured in the past would have made their way across the border and onto your home bar.