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Quiquiriqui

Rise and Shine: A Pristine Portfolio of Artisanal Mezcal

There’s a Mexican saying that you don’t find Mezcal, it finds you. Mezcal found Melanie Symonds in 2011, in the hills behind Puerto Escondido on the Oaxacan coast. The story of a youthful misadventure and a jerrycan of wild Tobalá is recounted in full HERE. To cut a long story short, what was meant to be a six-week holiday became a six-month immersion into Mezcal folklore and culture and spawned one of the agave spirit’s most authentic and sustainable drink brands.

The first law of Quiquiriqui Mezcal: these drinks are insanely delicious. In a nutshell, these unique spirits are must-tries for any lover of terroir-driven drinks and craft spirits in general. Each Mezcal in the range is a Single-Palenque, 100% agave spirit made strictly according to the newly ratified Artisanal category. Using locally grown agave plants, hand-harvested when mature, the piñas are traditionally roasted in fire pits for three to five days and crushed using a tahona (stone wheel). Fermentation occurs outside in tinas, or oak vats, relying only on the microbe-rich airborne yeasts. The final process is a double-distillation in wood-fired, small copper stills. Bottled unfiltered, each roast produces around 1000 litres of evocative, smoke-wreathed agave spirit.

Great artisanal Mezcal embodies a level of authenticity and raw site-driven quality that is almost impossible to match in the spirit world.

The Espadín is QuiQuiRiQui’s classic, highly mixable house-style mezcal. It’s beautifully crafted in Santiago Matatlán by Carlos Méndez. Méndez comes from prime mezcal stock; his family has made the drink for six generations and that experience manifests in a bold and complex spirit with intense, roasted agave flavours and a peppery finish that is characteristic of the lowland Espadín agave.

Alongside her flagship, Symonds now oversees a rotating series of limited edition silvestres; Mezcals made from decades-old wild or semi-wild agave species. Using traditional techniques and recipes, each made-to-order batch is hand-crafted by families who have been producing traditional Mezcals in their communities for generations.

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Quiquiriqui Espadin Mezcal
Bibendum Bar

Quiquiriqui Espadin Mezcal

45% ABV. Espadín is Quiquiriqui’s classic, highly mixable house-style Mezcal. It’s beautifully crafted in Santiago Matatlán by Carlos Méndez. Méndez comes from prime Mezcal stock; his family has made the drink for six generations, and that experience shows in a bold and complex spirit with intense roasted agave flavours. It has a super-smooth, mouth-filling palate with that juicy, peppery finish characteristic of Matatlán-grown Espadín. Expect cocoa butter, toffee apple and citrus flavours with a briny freshness. With an ABV of 45%, it’s got more succulence and smoky intensity than most house-pour Mezcals out there (which hover closer to 40%). And, while it has the purity and balance to be sipped neat, this Mezcal’s depth cements its role as a killer base for mixed drinks.It has a super-smooth and mouth-filling palate with that juicy, peppery finish, characteristic of Matatlán-grown Espadín. Expect flavours of cocoa butter, toffee apple and citrus with a briny freshness. With an ABV of 45%, it’s got, we think, extra succulence and smoky intensity than most house-pour Mezcals out there (which hover closer to 40%). And, while it has the purity and balance to be sipped neat, this Mezcal’s depth guarantees its role as a killer base for mixed drinks.

It has a super-smooth and mouth-filling palate with that juicy, peppery finish, characteristic of Matatlán-grown Espadín. Expect flavours of cocoa butter, toffee apple and citrus with a briny freshness. With an ABV of 45%, it’s got, we think, extra succulence and smoky intensity than most house-pour Mezcals out there (which hover closer to 40%). And, while it has the purity and balance to be sipped neat, this Mezcal’s depth guarantees its role as a killer base for mixed drinks.

Quiquiriqui Espadin Mezcal
Bibendum Bar
Quiquiriqui Ensamble 47
Bibendum Bar

Quiquiriqui Ensamble 47

An equal blend of the three agave types from three different regions. The espadín is crafted in Santiago Matatlán by Carlos Méndez, whereas the components of wild Cuishe and Terpeztate varieties are made by Mezcalera Isabel Rios from El Sitio del Palmar and Orlando Altamirano from Zoquitlan respectively. All are made to the same specifiations: the agaves are roasted in the underground pits then distilled separately using the same traditional practices. The three batches are then brought together and blended by the master distiller to the unique QQRQ recipe. The liquid is rested for 2 weeks before bottling.

Nose: green pepper, vegetal Palate: green pepper, nuts and cream Finish: peppercorn, sweetness and citrus

Quiquiriqui Ensamble 47
Bibendum Bar
Quiquiriqui Tepeztate
Bibendum Bar

Quiquiriqui Tepeztate

Tepeztate is only available seasonally, and grows wild around the state of Oaxaca. It’s part of the Marmorata agave family and has a very distinct appearance (wide and twisted leaves with erratic structure). Despite all odds it seems to flourish best on the sides of steep, rocky cliffs and so it’s difficult to find and to gather. Widely considered the jewel in the crown of all Oaxacan agaves, Tepeztate can take as many as 30 years to mature in the wild. The QQRQ Tepeztate was made by Orlando Altamirano from Zoquitlan, with purely traditional and artisanal production. After the mature agave was pit-roasted, it was crushed with a tahona, then fermented wild in wooden vats. It was double-distilled in alembic stills.This is perhaps the most reserved and yet aromatically complex of all the Quiquiriqui Mezcals, with a bright and perfumed, almost floral intensity, followed by sweet metallic notes, and some lingering fruitiness in the background. The palate is bolder, with meaty cured charcuterie characters and buttery sweetness, ahead of an almost ferrous zing and delicate wood smoke. The texture is supremely silky and slippery, coating the tongue before sliding away and leaving a finish abounding with classic Mezcal minerality.

This is perhaps the most reserved and yet aromatically complex of all the Quiquiriqui Mezcals, with a bright and perfumed, almost floral intensity, followed by sweet metallic notes, and some lingering fruitiness in the background. The palate is bolder, with meaty cured charcuterie characters and buttery sweetness, ahead of an almost ferrous zing and delicate wood smoke. The texture is supremely silky and slippery, coating the tongue before sliding away and leaving a finish abounding with classic Mezcal minerality.

Quiquiriqui Tepeztate
Bibendum Bar
Quiquiriqui Madrecuishe
Bibendum Bar

Quiquiriqui Madrecuishe

Agave Madrecuishe is part of the Karwinskii family, which also includes the agaves Cuishe, Cirial, and Tobasiche. It grows mostly in the drier climates of Oaxaca, and typically takes a tall, cylindrical form. It is harvested at between 14-16 years depending on the area where it grows. Due to the agave’s dense core and low water content, Mezcal made from Madrecuishe typically has an earthy tone. This is picked up during the cooking; the piña is long and thin, increasing the surface area for the roasting process. QQRQ’s Madrecuishe is made by Maestro Mezcalero Natalio Vazquez, at his palenque in El Palmar, from wild and semi-wild plantations in Sitio El Palmar, San Luis Amatlán, and Miahuatlán. Semi-wild means that wild seeds are sowed in community or private fields and then left to grow as they would in the wild. True wild agaves are increasingly scarce and Symonds feels replanting wild seeds represents a more sustainable way to enjoy these increasingly rare types of agave. To this end QQRQ re-sow ten times as many seeds as agave plants harvested for their Mezcals. Intense yet bright aromas of brine, dusky earth and a little vanilla lead to a gentle background of smoke in the mouth, with layers of zesty citrus fruits, flowers and roasted agave fibre. It finishes silky smooth, with a dried-herb-like quality and a clean mineral edge.

Intense yet bright aromas of brine, dusky earth and a little vanilla lead to a gentle background of smoke in the mouth, with layers of zesty citrus fruits, flowers and roasted agave fibre. It finishes silky smooth, with a dried-herb-like quality and a clean mineral edge.

Quiquiriqui Madrecuishe
Bibendum Bar
Quiquiriqui Destilado con Mole
Bibendum Bar

Quiquiriqui Destilado con Mole

Mezcal de Pechuga (Pechuga translates to ‘breast’ in Spanish) is made when a finished Mezcal is re-distilled with local fruits, grains and nuts, and a raw piece of protein (typically a chicken) is hung over the still to cook in the emanating vapors. Traditionally, this style of Mezcal is produced for special occasions and consumed locally, and there are as many different versions as there are distilleries. QQRQ’s version trades the poultry for a homemade mole paste. This paste is made to a traditional recipe by the Méndez family and includes guajillo and ancho chillies, sesame seeds, almonds, peanuts, garlic, onion, raisins, bananas and cacao. Crafted by Carlos Méndez at his palenque in Santiago Matatlán, this Pechuga uses the QQRQ Espadín agave as its base. Following the second distillation, the mole paste is added and the spirit is rested to infuse for two weeks before a final, third distillation. This stunning, vegetarian-friendly recipe is thought to be the first commercial release of its kind. The nose has that classic roasted agave sweetness balanced by Matatlán’s herbal vibe, and subtle wafts of earth, leather and white chocolate with wisps of smoke throughout. On the palate there’s a cornucopia of complex spices, roasted nuts and that earthy, botanical Espadín character. Terrific texture. A very long and nutty finish focuses in on roasted cacao and peppery spice.

The nose has that classic roasted agave sweetness balanced by Matatlán’s herbal vibe, and subtle wafts of earth, leather and white chocolate with wisps of smoke throughout. On the palate there’s a cornucopia of complex spices, roasted nuts and that earthy, botanical Espadín character. Terrific texture. A very long and nutty finish focuses in on roasted cacao and peppery spice.

Quiquiriqui Destilado con Mole
Bibendum Bar

Country

Mexico

Primary Region

Oaxaca

Availability

National

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