Jabali, Rey Campero
With over 70 years of experience, Rey Campero represents the culture and tradition of Candelaria Yegolé, a small village in the Sierra Sur, in the municipality of Zoquitlán. The fertile soil along the Rio Quiechapa is home to more than seven species of agave that grow wild along the slopes and canyons. Helmed by Romulo Sanchez Parada, this collective of brothers, cousins, and nephews chose the name Rey Campero, meaning “King of the Countryside”, to reflect the relationship between the landscape and those who work so tirelessly to harvest the magueys from this challenging terrain. Espadín and wild agave are harvested, then cooked underground for 4–5 days before being allowed to rest for up to a week. Then, once milled by tahona, the fiber is placed in wooden vats where it open-air ferments for up to 12 days, depending on the season. Once fermented, the mash and juice from the vats are distilled in one of three small copper pot stills to produce the delicious elixir which is Mezcal Rey Campero. These distillates express an unflinching translation of the terroir and the agave that it produces.
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Romulo is well known for his innovations in the challenging distillation of the Jabalí varietal. Before his work, the accepted wisdom was that Jabalí—which tends to foam during distillation and literally blow up the still—could not be made in batches large enough for commercial release. Using only the implements already at hand and a creative new approach, Romulo managed to bypass this issue, and subsequently, his new method for distilling Jabalí spread like wildfire among Oaxaca’s mezcaleros. Rey Campero’s Jabalí exhibits a flamboyant and sweaty nose before breaking into orange zest and slate on the palate. Chalk, tropical fruit, and rawhide push and pull on the dynamic finish.