Mezcal is becoming more and more popular outside of Mexico, but it has a long and varied history. In its oldest and most accurate definition, mezcal is a spirit distilled from the fermentation of sugars derived exclusively from any species or variety of agave plants.
I have spent much time studying the processes of making this spirit, and I have broken it down into The Anatomy of Mezcal, a book that provides an introduction to the fundamentals. But it is more than just science, it is more than just a sip; it is a livelihood for generations of people and an intense relationship between man and his environment.
Why am I so passionate about Mezcal?
It is a very fragile thing. In a world where speed is so highly regarded, mezcal stands out because it takes so much time to create.
It consecrates nature but it is still human. It is matter and energy and can be shaped in extraordinary ways.
It should make us humble. There are dimensions of mezcal that cannot be grasped using rational information, history or biology. Perhaps it is the overall sensorial experience that it creates, the state of mind and the emotion it can bring on. The shamans of the Zapotex and Mixe regions use it to travel and to think.
Experience wisely and with gratitude.
Editor’s Note: Iván Saldaña Oyarzábal has a PhD. in biochemistry from the University of Sussex, England. He was born in Guadalajara, México and grew up with agave as part of his family’s business. In 2011, Dr. Saldaña founded Montelobos Mezcal and dedicated himself to developing and producing an organic, artisanal, Oaxacan mezcal. He maintains an advisory role in the spirits industry and remains devoted to agave and mezcal education, presenting at industry conferences and events and overseeing the current platform.