Why Buy: Ultra-artisanal, highly-limited “declassified mezcals” (mezcals made by rebels with a cause, i.e. those operating outside the designation system to arrive at a more distinct, more personal expression.) Their makers belong to a vanishing breed of mezcaleros who hew to centuries-old practices developed by the ancients. Which is why some industry observers call these bottles ancestral mezcals. We just call them mind-blowing.

The Story: 

* Located in the village of Santa María Ixcatlán, in the Cañada region of Oaxaca, Ixcateco is the culmination of the life's work of a man named Amando Alvarado Alvarez, who has been distilling agave spirits since the age of fifteen. He harvests his maguey in the dry season, when the sugar content of the agave is greater. Papalomé (or, agave potatorum) is traditionally the only maguey used by in Ixcatlan to make the agave spirit, and Alvarez uses mainly wild papalomé, which, in keeping with his ancestors, he ferments in rawhide and distills in clay — giving the spirit an incomparable earthiness, depth, and dimension.

* Tio Pedro Hernandez first began working in palenques (mezcal distilleries) in his hometown of Santa Catarina Minas when he was 20. That was more than half-a-century ago.   In his 60s, Hernandez was able to finally realize his life's dream: the fourth-generation mezcalero built his own small distillery, La Esperanza, outfitted with a small underground oven that can fit about three tons of agave, although he often roasts much less. He maintains the time-honored tradition of Santa Catarina Minas, of using only clay pot stills for his distillations, which lend a fuller body and mineral texture.


Our Tasting Notes: 

* You might expect the Ixcateco to be all leather and hide, given its method of production, but this is a stunningly complex expression that spans a gamut of aromas and flavors, from a grassy, lightly creamy nose to a palate of citrus, spice, cherry, and herbs, with a note of roasted almonds carrying you home on the finish. Each sip holds something different, a rare achievement.

* Hernandez's mezcals often offer up a distinct ripe banana sweetness and notes of cocoa powder and honey, and this one is no exception, delivering, in addition, hints of buttercream, vanilla, and — surprise — a touch of menthol that would not be out of place on some single malts. It all adds up to an alluring and affable drinking experience. But that's not to say this is all smoothness and light. On the contrary. Those melodic top notes sit atop a deep and resonant bass and a steady, pulsing drum — in other words, this is an intricate and layered rhythm track that has been built the right way, the painstaking way.


Fun Fact: Mezcal holds the distinction of being the oldest distilled spirit in the Americas, with the earliest known accounts of its production dating back approximately 500 years.

Our Guarantee: We always buy and source direct, so you can be confident that your spirits will arrive in your hands with pristine provenance. Don't hesitate to secure yours today!


*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with wines estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in Winter 2023 (Dec. 21st - Mar. 20th, 2024). All sale prices are the lowest available at Total Wine & More and ONLY valid through Concierge Sales. No further discounts or coupons may be applied. Offer not valid in CT, GA, KS, MI, NC, NY, TN, VA, & WA. This offer is for ONE WEEK, or until sold out, and will expire on Saturday, November 4, 2023.