Bicuixe, 'Margarito Cortes', Mezcalosfera
If you’re a mezcal fan and you’ve been to visit Oaxaca City, there’s a 99.9% chance you’ve made the pilgrimage to Mezcaloteca. One of the first and still one of the most significant and educational mezcalerias in the world, Mezcaloteca’s name reflects their philosophy and method: “mezcal” meets “biblioteca” … it is not so much a bar as it is a library. Don’t expect cocktails and cervesas, don’t expect ice or even music; expect only to taste and to learn.
The goal, ultimately, is to introduce people to the biodiversity, culture and traditions of mezcal. The agave spirits in Mezcaloteca’s library come from all over Mexico. Not all are certified as mezcal by the CRM, perhaps, but they are all within the historic patchwork of mezcal history and culture. Mezcalosfera is the export label from Mezcaloteca, dedicated to sharing traditional mezcales and educating palates and minds outside of Mexico. Every release offers a single tiny batch, often less than 200 liters, and every batch is – like all traditional mezcal – by nature unique.
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A longtime staple in the Mezcaloteca stable alongside his sons Felipe and Job, Margarito Cortés has been distilling agave and many of the Pechuga-style “destilado con…” expressions for the famed Oaxaca City mezcaleria for years. This rare and pure example of the Agave karwinskii subspecies Bicuixe is a real treat to experience, made in one of the endemic homes of the variety, at the hands of a true master. Many commercial labels often lump Bicuixe in with Cuixe and other subspecies of the karwinskii variety; Mezcaloteca, however, are known for their prolific attention to detail and emphasis on colloquial biodiversity.
Distilled twice on a traditional copper pot still, with a condenser (or “refrescadera”) common to the Miahuatlán region which enables further rectification on each pass, this mezcal is weighty and autumnal, with earth-driven aromatics of damp soil & moss, peanut shell, fresh beets and sun dried tomatoes in turn lifted by waves of citrus zest. A thick mouthfeel, with savory vegetal tones like cornmeal, grilled romaine, sweet potato and Herbs de Provence is blanketed in soft sweet notes of butterscotch, tootsie roll, white chocolate and Oaxacan cacao. The finish is staggeringly long. A real gem.