Yesterday it was announced that a watered down version of NOM 199 passed: Except instead of mandating that any mezcal not produced within an already defined appellation and certified by the CRM be called "Komil," it says that these spirits must now be called "Aguardiente de Agave." To understand who will need to use this terminology see our previous post on the impact of the original proposal; all you need to do is replace "Komil" with "Aguardiente." This is being pitched as a triumph for everyone but
Part three in my series of articles exploring the possible outcomes of NOM 199. The big question is how can such a small, and woefully underfunded group of mezcaleros and afficionados fight NOM 199 aside from signing petitions and hoping for the best? Well, for a couple of organizations the answer is through Mexico's own constitution which has been amended over time to explicitly spell out a mandate to support the human and economic rights of the indigenous community.
[caption id="attachment_4219" align="aligncenter" width="600"] If you're going to play with the meaning of words and spirits, you had better be ready for some strange stuff.[/caption] Second in a series of articles breaking down the proposed NOM 199 into layman's terms. Read my first article on the three key things to know about NOM 199 and read the rest of our coverage of this topic. Let's imagine, Philip K. Dick style, that NOM 199 is now law and bottles of komil line the shelves of your local liquor store. The next big question for you, the faithful consumer of what were previously called agave distillates or mezcals, is "What exactly is in a bottle of komil?"
I doubt the authors of NOM 199 had this in mind when they were defining komil. Or maybe that was the idea after all. In case anyone was wondering, komil means "perfect" in Uzbek.
[caption id="attachment_4198" align="aligncenter" width="480"] An example of current wording on a label of an agave distillate in the DO but not certified. Under 199, the only thing that could be said is Komil.[/caption] With all that's being written about NOM 199, and there is a lot to write about, we wanted to drill down into the whole issue of the word Komil and exactly who will have to use it if the proposal is adopted. Wading through the legalese is not easy. Key language is deliberately buried in this sweeping proposal. In order to make it super clear and easy, here is a breakdown of who gets to use what words:
The good folks at the Tequila Interchange Project are circulating a petition in opposition to the newly proposed NOM 199 that came out of left field. This is the NOM put forward to streamling and regulate the entire spirits industry in Mexico, which in theory sounds great. Of course like so many good intentions, it has gone horribly awry and is terrible news for any producer of agave distillates that falls outside of the DO.