The rare cupreata agave, found only on certain mountain slopes in the Rio Balsas basin in Mexico, produces an equally rare mezcal, known for its distinctly vegetal flavor profile. Today, Anchor Distilling Company makes this special mezcal more available in the U.S. with the introduction of Mezcal Amarás Cupreata, a 100% cupreata agave unaged mezcal. This new release joins the brand’s first expression, a 100% espadín agave unaged mezcal, released in January 2015 and named “Best Mezcal & Best Unaged White Spirit in Show” while earning a Double Gold Medal at the 2015 Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America 72nd Annual Convention, as well as the Chairman’s Trophy at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
“We’re thrilled to be importing the first mezcal made with 100% cupreata agave that will be available nationwide on an ongoing basis, and continue the expansion of a brand of such high quality and character as Mezcal Amarás,” says Dennis Carr, President of Anchor Distilling.
Mezcal Amarás Cupreata is produced by master mezcalero Don Faustino Robledo in the small village of Mazatlán in the State of Guerrero, Mexico. Of the more than 22 different species used to make mezcal, the cupreata agave, or maguey papalote (as it is referred to in Guerrero), is one of the least common agaves utilized. Semi-cultivated on the steep terrain of the Sierra Madre del Sur highlands at 4,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level, the plant has bright green, wide, fleshy leaves lined with copper colored thorns, and takes approximately 13 years to mature due to the harsh climate conditions of the region.
“It took us three years to find, test, and select the product of Don Faustino Robledo,” explains Mezcal Amarás founder Santiago Suarez. “Mezcal Amarás Cupreata delivers a completely different taste from the espadín; it’s bright and vegetal, and I imagine it to be what the color green tastes like.”
As with all Mezcal Amarás expressions, the production process is 100% artisanal from start to finish. After maturation, the agave plant is harvested and cooked for five days in a conical stone oven covered with palm leaves and soil and heated with sustainable red oak logs. Juice and fibers are then milled from the cooked agave and placed in small ayacahuite wood vats, incorporating natural spring water from a river close to the Palenque (distillery). The fermentation process is open air, and uses no yeast or other additives to accelerate the process, a crucial element that defines the nose and flavor profile of the mezcal. Finally, the agave is doubled distilled in copper pot stills with directly heated, using ro recycled wood from the local sawmill.
Mezcal Amarás is committed to supporting the local communities and economies of Guerrero and Oaxaca, a philosophy which is reflected in the brand’s use of sustainable farming practices. Ten new agaves are planted for each one that is harvested for mezcal production, and in 2014, over 28,000 espadín and cupreata agaves were planted by Mezcal Amarás representatives. The brand is also highly engaged in community initiatives, and aims to launch local nutrition and health education programs in the near future.
Tasting Notes: Mezcal Amarás Cupreata
43% ABV, 750ml, $59.99 SRP
Bouquet: Roasted pumpkin seeds, leather and cocoa on the nose
Palate: Bold, bright, vegetal flavors with a hint of bell pepper and spice
Finish: Finishes fresh and long, with a peppery spice on the mid palate
For more information on Mezcal Amarás, please visit AnchorDistilling.com.