STEP 1: WILD AGAVE
Mezcal Carreño uses only wild agaves from the central valleys of Oaxaca. These wild agaves are affected by the terroir of the land as they grow for 10+ years (see our VARIETALS). The climate, the soil and neighboring plants all add their essence to the final taste of our mezcal.
STEP 2: HARVEST
When an agave matures, the quiote (large flowering stalk) is cut off to allow sugars to concentrate in the piña, or heart of the plant. Once the sugars are maximized, the plant is harvest and the pencas (fleshy leaves signature to an agave plant) are removed with a special machete-like tool called a coa. Only the piña remains, ready for roasting.
STEP 3: ROASTING
The piñas are roasted in a horno, a conical shaped oven dug into the ground and lined with lava rocks. The piñas are split and placed over the rocks that are layered with bagaso (previously cooked agave fibers) which protect the piñas from burning. Once the oven is piled with a mound of piñas they are covered with burlap and two feet of dirt in order to seal the oven while they roast for up to five days. This gives mezcal its trademark smokey notes. After roasting, the piñas are removed and “rested” for a period of four to five days.
STEP 4: TAHONA MASHING
Next, our roasted piñas are mashed using the traditional tahona wheel, one of the oldest and most labor-intensive extraction process of any spirit. This is achieved by using a large, one-ton stone wheel attached to a central axle and pulled by a horse or mule. The massive tahona wheel slowly extracts the juices and sugars that better preserves the flavor than modernized machine shredding.
STEP 5: FERMENTATION
The resulting agave liquid and remaining fibers are then placed in wooden vats with water to ferment for up to seven days. We use open-air fermentation, allowing for the wild yeast of the region to contribute to the complex terroir of our agave, making each batch of mezcal unique and authentic.
STEP 6: DOUBLE DISTILLATION
Once proper fermentation levels are reached, the liquids and fibers are distilled using a copper alembic heated by a wood fire. This process is done twice to ensure our mezcal comes in at 45-46 percent, the sweet-spot for highlighting our agave flavor profiles and providing a smooth sipping experience.