My journey to the heart of Oaxaca
I sat in silence as Hernandéz drove me across the captivating hills of the Oaxacan highlands. We had just passed the beautiful Templo de Santiago Apóstol and were now heading straight to the palenque of maestro mezcalero Guilhermo Serrano.
The sun shone on the horizon and the wind blew south, and I was about to taste the best mezcal I’d ever had.
A truck full of piñas was parked at the end of the road. We left the car and started walking. In the horizon, I could see jimadores working diligently in immeasurable fields of agave: Espadin, to be precise, as far as the eye can see.
Maestro Guilhermo, a petite and slender figure, was standing next to a big tahona with an inviting smile and two copitas of the finest mezcal. “Salud,” he said with a nod of the head.
We raised our glasses and drank. Sip by sip, I experienced the rich earth tones and the savory smokiness of a soft and fruity, yet bold and exotically intense mezcal. I was enthralled.
“How would you like to take this with you back home?” asked Hernandéz.
And so, I left my corporate job and found myself roaming the mesmerizing streets of Santiago Matatlán for three mind-opening and wonderful years. It is so hard to walk away from Oaxaca. It seizes you and captures your heart, and during this period, every time I had to go back to Montréal, I missed the palenque like it was my home.
During this time, I learned everything from the harvesting and the cooking of the plant, to the crushing of the piñas, the fermentation and distillation process, the storing and bottling of mezcal, and most importantly, the degustation of the finest of drinks.
When I returned to North America, it had just started to get acquainted with the powerful spirit: it was still a niche market, a “district”.
It is from this very passion to share my magical Mexican adventure with the rest of the world, that Mezcal District was born.
So please raise your glass with me, and discover the wonderful flavors of this organic, artisanal and 400-year-old traditional, handcrafted “elixir of the gods”; my most coveted mezcal.