Today William Grant & Sons (WGS), an award-winning family-owned independent distiller, officially launches Montelobos Mezcal Joven, the latest addition to its portfolio of super premium spirits. As the first major supplier to enter into the category, the international spirits company joined forces with Milagro tequila founders Daniel Schneeweiss and Moy Guindi, industry veteran and world renowned agave-derived spirits expert Ivan Saldana and fifth generation mezcalero Don Abel Lopez to introduce this limited-release product handcrafted in Oaxaca.
"In our conversations with bartenders and consumers alike, we identified a need for a high quality mezcal in the U.S. marketplace and, in response, created Montelobos – the first mezcal to refine age-old production techniques, creating a consistent flavor profile not traditionally observed in the category," said Gino Luci, Senior Brand Manager of Montelobos Mezcal Joven. "We see significant growth potential in the category overall and project it will be a major trend dominating the industry in the coming year."
Aiming to bring his vision of perfect mezcal to life, Saldana worked alongside master distiller Lopez for more than a year enhancing traditional processes with stricter production controls to handcraft his ideal liquid, one that offers balance between the sweetness of the agave plant and mezcal's intrinsic smokiness.
Montelobos is distilled from 100% organic agave espadin grown in the shadows of Oaxaca's Mountain of Wolves, where the climate stresses the agave just enough to make it ideal for mezcal production. Once the agave reaches maturity—up to ten years of age— the pinas are harvested and transported to the Palenque where they are roasted in a fire pit of wood and volcanic river stones. After nearly a week, the cooked pinas are removed and transported to a mill where the agave is ground to mash by a large stone wheel pulled by a mule. The mash is mixed with water and placed into small vats where it ferments for several days, allowing the agave's botanicals to present themselves. Following, the mash is twice distilled, bottled, labeled and numbered by hand. Throughout, Saldana designates check points, where the product is tasted and analyzed to guarantee the yield is consistent with the desired Montelobos flavor profile.
"When developing Montelobos, we were committed to producing a mezcal that truly represents all that the category has to offer," said Ivan Saldana, creator of Montelobos. "We've created a liquid that is perfectly balanced, and allows the true flavor profile of mezcal to shine through while still exemplifying the rich heritage and history of the category overall."
"Montelobos opens with green notes of anise and sweet notes from the roasted agave, closing with a very long finish of smoke that resembles chilli and chocolate, " added Saldana. "It has the peculiar ability to evolve between sips, making it a unique experience to discover again and again."