Mezcal is protected by a designation of origin. this is that in order to have the word mezcal on the label, it must first comply with the regulations. Currently the person in charge of supervising these regulations is the COMERCAM; mezcal quality regulator for its acronym in Spanish. Mezcal artisanal process mut be validated by them
As a way to validate the products they give a hologram which has its logo printed, so if there is a product that comes labeled as mezcal and does not have the hologram, it is likely that this is not regulated by what is risky consumption.
In addition to this to be able to grant the permission of authorized producer both on the part of impi and on the general direction of standards of the economy secretary to the products for sale as mezcal must comply with the following characteristics.
Be elaborated in the zones defined in the denomination of origin and these manufactured by certified agave within these same zones, these records which I enlist next.
Some areas included in the following states: Guerrero, Oaxaca, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Tamaulipas and Puebla.
This Craft Spirit must of these elaborated with a minimum proportion of 80% of agave, if the composition is of 100% of agave this definition must be included in the label.
The maguey or Agave used may be any as long as it belongs to the areas of the denomination and is allowed to be extracted.
Types of Agave to Use in mezcal
According to the standard, as mentioned above, any agave can be used in the denomination zones. In the world there are 210 species (information published by Abisai Garcia) of agave of which Mexico has 159 of which 119 are endemic (this means that they only exist in that region). However, for practical reasons and flavors, no continuous mixing of all agave species is done, the same article points out that commercially used 14 of which the agave angustifolia better known as agave sprat is the best known.
However, there are differences in the characteristics of the agaves depending on their origin that cause the same type of agave to process it to generate different flavors which increases the diversity of the raw material.
Some of the most widely used agaves are listed below by their scientific name since they are known by various names according to local customs.
Agave Angustifolia, Agave Rodacanta, Blue Agave, Agave Potatorum, Agave Kaswinskii, Agave inaequidens, Saline Agave, Agave cupreata, American Agave, Agave seemanniana.
Difference for mezcal artisanal process
In the current standard there is a difference of the mezcales because their type of process, this denomination is on the label and defines 3 different types:
Mezcal Ancestral : It is a mezcal made by distillation in mud still. With fermentation in wooden or clay vats, animal skins, holes in the stone or the ground or in logs, masonry piles. Grinding with mallet, tahona, Chilean or Egyptian mill, trapiche or heartbreaking. Elaborated with the heads cooked in a well or masonry oven
Mezcal Artesanal: It is a mezcal distilled in copper, mud or stainless steel stills. Fermented in wooden or clay vats, animal skins, holes in stone or soil or in logs, masonry piles. Grinding with mallet, tahona, Chilean or Egyptian mill, trapiche or heartbreaking. Elaborated with the heads cooked in a well or masonry oven Mezcal: Here all the industrially used processes for grinding enter, so the use of agave diffusers or milling train is allowed, as well as for the distillation with the use of columns.
Mezcal production size
This mexican Elixir is currently ranked as the fastest growing alcoholic beverage in the world. Of course, the size of this industry is still very small compared to other drinks such as Whiskey or even Tequila. According to data from the mezcal’s regulatory council in 2016, 3 million liters were produced, which, according to the figures of the same council, represented.04% in the volume of the global alcoholic beverage market.
With so many elements that influence its flavor as agaves and mezcal artisanal process, more than being able to define a mezcal superior to another, the selection should be differentiated and several favorites should be chosen. My very particular point of view is that there are 2 ways to evaluate a mezcal, the first one is by how any alcoholic beverage is evaluated in the same way that Sommeliers do it objectively by the following characteristics: Character, Softness, appearance, etc. Due to this statement the best ones could be these awarded by San Francisco Spirits Competition as tribal mezcal in 2016 or banhez mezcal in 2017 are examples of this type.
The other way is understanding the nature of the identity of the product related to the family and the region, since long ago the mezcal is a symbol of union, community, family so the best mezcal for each person was the one that produced by his father, or grandfather, uncle or the neighbor of the house. The products have an identity which has its origin both in the raw material of the location and in the historical process of each master Mezcalero. Here the best mezcal is that everyone defines it and the preservation of both the mezcal artisanal process and the agave of the locality is what gives a unique DNA to these brands that represent this type of products and that have managed to keep them as unique pieces.
Undoubtedly, the most interesting thing is to try and taste the most mezcales, to know their origin and their identity, this Mezcalero world gives us to have a busy life giving pleasure to our senses.
Information obtained in accordance with the Official Mexican Standard Nom 070 issued in its latest version of 2016. View this Nom070