Arroqueño Ancestral, Real Minero
From the Ángeles Carreño family in Santa Catarina Minas comes the brand Real Minero, helmed by fourth-generation mezcal producers Graciela Ángeles Carreño, and her brother Edgar. Graciela is considered one of the thought-leaders in the field, conducting extensive scientific and historic research into agave and mezcal. She employs several botanists who work with the brand to maintain a nursery and laboratory dedicated to protecting, preserving, and studying the plants, vigorously champions social justice and economic and labor issues within the mezcal industry, and funnels a portion of proceeds into creating the first library in the rural mining community of Santa Catarina Minas. Yet, Real Minero is as deeply rustic and culturally historic as mezcal production can get. Roughly translated as “royal miner”, the brand is exemplary of the minero style of mezcal which can only be certified from Santa Catarina Minas, specifically. Minero implies a production method otherwise referred to as en barro or en olla; distillation occurs in handmade, clay pots using a carved, wooden spoon suspended on string to collect condensed distillate. Much of their agave is broken down after cooking by hand-mashing with massive, wooden bats—like a mortar and pestle of overwhelming size. These countryside methods have not changed in hundreds of years.
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Arroqueño (Agave americana) are massive, beautiful plants which can take as much as 20 years to reach maturity before harvest. Arroqueño from the Angelés family is particularly sought-after; the late Don Lorenzo made just one batch which was ever shipped to the US, back in 2015, and it earned a cult status among enthusiasts in Mexico and the States alike. This release marks only the second batch of the variety exported to the US, this time made by Don Lorenzo’s son Edgar. An exciting return of a beloved mezcal, and a passing of the torch from one generation to another, this is a bottle not to be missed.