Mezcal can be made from dozens of varieties of agaves,
the hearts of which are roasted in underground pits,
imparting a signature smoky flavor.
THEY GAVE US AGAVE.
Agaves are first planted and tended for one or two years and then relocated in the wild where they will eventually reach maturity beneath the Oaxacan sun in seven to twelve years.
WE RAISE OUR MACHETES.
Once the agave reaches maturity a quiote (flowering stalk) rises from the heart of the plant, indicating that it is ready to be harvested. The leaves are shaved off and the hearts of the agave (piñas) are taken to the palenque (distillery) to be roasted.
WE LIGHT THEIR HEARTS ON FIRE.
Once the piñas arrive at the palenque, a large fire is built in an underground pit using Mesquite and Encino woods native to the area. This fire heats large volcanic rocks that line the pit and act as an oven, roasting the piñas for four to six days.
WE CRUSH THEIR SPIRITS.
The newly baked agaves are then put into a circular stone pit and crushed using a heavy stone wheel (tahona) drawn by a horse.
WE WATCH THEM SIMMER.
The crushed agaves are then placed in large open fermentation vats. Wild yeast in the air kick starts the fermentation process, converting the sugars into alcohol. The fibers and liquid are then double distilled using small copper pot stills.
WE PERFECT THEIR ESSENCE.
In the case of Silencio's Joven expression, the Tobasiche and Mexicano agaves are produced separately and then blended by the mezcalero.
WE DRINK THEIR BLOOD.
El Silencio is bottled at the palenque, using materials sourced from Mexico. The entire process from harvest to bottle takes roughly three to four weeks.