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Agua del Sol Mexicano tasting notes


  • Location: San Guillermo Miahuatlan, Oaxaca
  • Agave: Mexicano / A. rhodacantha
  • Maestro Mezcalero: Francisco Garcia Leon
  • Batch: V/2020
  • Quantity: 600 liters
  • Vintage: May 2020
  • ABV: 49%
  • Tasting keywords: Round, balanced, cumin.
  • NOM: NA
  • Buy it today!


Lean and mean with touches of fresh ground granite, salt spray, and fresh crushed lemongrass. There’s a common palate behind Agua del Sol: Both labels are governed by restraint.


It opens with a bright starburst sensation and yields into a very gentle eddy, like the edge of a paddle sliding through the water. Garcia Leon has such a light touch for a Mexicano: He highlights hints of cumin, allspice, and expressed lemon peel without overburdening

Method / Background Notes

Maestro Mezcalero Francisco Garcia Leon has a long and storied history in the mezcal world. He started distilling when he was 12, later had to move to the US to make money but, when he returned, he found that much of the mezcal that he and his father had made hadn’t been selling. That ended up as a blessing in disguise because the Karwinskii agaves that are endemic to Leon’s native Miahuatlan weren’t as prized as other agaves because they weren’t as naturally rich in sugars as other local agaves. But when Leon returned from the US he tasted a Karwinskii batch that had been resting for eight years – that batch was revelatory to him and inspired others in the mezcal ambit to reconsider Karwinskiis, it even inspired Felix Hernández Monterrosa to launch Mezcales CUISH in Oaxaca.

But this expression is a Mexicano, a large broad penca agave that can deliver flavors that are both heavy and light. In Leon’s hands all sides of the Mexicano spectrum come into play. I’m especially impressed by the spice highlights that he has coaxed out of the agaves that went into this batch. The Agave del Sol background interview with Leon has a really interesting quote from him: “”My favorite maguey is the Mexicano because it has a high yield and doesn’t get many welts.” That’s a morphological characteristic that I’m going to have to pay more attention to the next time I can travel to Miahuatlan.

This is about as classic as it gets, roasted underground, crushed by tahona, fermented in sabino tinas, and then twice distilled in a refrescadera still before being adjusted with well water. It’s great to see more refrescadera mezcals in the world, while it is a really tricky distillation process, maestros and maestras can really get amazing results from them.

Max co-founded Mezcalistas with Susan way back in 2012. Before that he was a journalist at Salon.com and The San Francisco Chronicle.

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