Jabali, Rey Campero
Helmed by Romulo Sanchez Parada, this family collective in Candelaria Yegolé, Zoquitlán, 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. Romulo and his family have some of the most diverse and productive agave nurseries in Oaxaca; Espadín and rare varieties of agave such as Tepextate and Jabalí are cultivated side by side. When they achieve maturity, some are allowed to flower and seed, while the rest are harvested and cooked a traditional oven underground, rested, then milled, fermented and distilled using one of three small copper pots, finally offering the delicious elixir which is Mezcal Rey Campero. These distillates express an unflinching translation of the terroir, the family, and the agave which comprise it.
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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.