Sombra Mezcal, a spirit distilled to sustain the land and the people of Oaxaca, unveils “Sombra Ensamble,” its first-ever, limited edition super premium blend. Sombra Ensamble is a unique marriage of spirits distilled from rare wild Tepeztate (61%) and Tobalá (39%) agaves harvested from high in the Oaxacan Sierra. Only 2,000 bottles of this elegant sipping spirit have been produced. Sombra Ensamble (SRP: $199, 51.6% ABV, 750ml) will be available beginning in Spring 2019 at select bars and retail stores nationwide.
“We are very excited to share this unique and rare blend that is the ultimate gift for mezcal aficionados,” says John Sean Fagan, Distiller and Director General, Sombra Mezcal. “In keeping with Sombra Mezcal’s commitment to sustainability, we were meticulous in harvesting mature agaves, leaving many untouched to flower and propagate. In addition, we planted 20,000 Tobalá agaves from seed and will replant them in the wild after two years of maturation to more than offset the 673 that were harvested for Sombra Ensamble.”
Tasting Notes on a Mezcal That Captures the Wild Side of Oaxaca
To the eyes, Sombra Ensamble beckons with rich and creamy platinum hues. On the nose, a vegetal and citrus aroma is undergirded by hints of honey and pepper. On the palate, notes of cake icing, tobacco, orange peel and salted caramel lead into a luxuriously long finish.
Premium Packaging Befits the Rare Offering Within
The premium nature of Sombra Ensamble is communicated through its elegant packaging. Its striking black glass bottle is made and decorated in Mexico with silver metallic foil and etched via sandblasting. It is encased in a simple yet sophisticated black box that also contains an informational booklet on the production process and a signed and numbered certificate. The black on black packaging conjures the mystery that surrounds mezcal, while emphasizing the meaning of the word, sombra, namely shadow.
A Sustainable Process, From the Fields to the Bottle
Once harvested, the agaves were roasted in an underground stone pit (horno) heated by a fire of sustainably harvested Encino wood. The intense heat caramelizes the agaves’ starches into fermentable sugars. The roasted agaves are then crushed by a traditional limestone millstone (tahona). Instead of being pulled by a donkey, Sombra reinvented the wheel to be electric and solar-powered. The crushed agave juice and fibers are then transferred to wooden fermentation vats (tinas) where ambient yeast do their work. The mash is then distilled twice in copper pot stills that are heated by clean-burning natural gas, rather than wood-fired, which produces harmful smoke.
The Sombra Adobe Brick Project
The spent agave fibers and the liquid remaining from the distillation are mixed with earth and lime and made into sturdy adobe bricks. These bricks are donated to local earthquake-stricken villages in Oaxaca where they are used to rebuild houses. Volunteers from all over the world have joined Sombra in making these bricks. To date, 12 homes have been constructed from Sombra adobe bricks.