Daniel & Jesus Navarro
The Navarro family has been utilizing a unique clay pot still (campanilla) and other ancestral techniques for at least 4 generations. They are one of the last families to maintain this 400+ year tradition.
The Navarro's were honored by the Governor of San Luis Potosi as a part of the state's cultural patrimony. In 2017 and 2018 they received first place prize for best wild mezcal at the national encounter of mezcal and mezcaleros in Mexico City. Since their father passed away, the two brothers carry on the legacy of crafting some of the most unique and complex spirits on earth.
Daniel and Jesus gather wild Cuerno (Salmiana agave) from the desert hills of San Luis Potosi. These large and flavorful agaves typically mature in 15 to 16 years.
The Navarro brothers roast their agave hearts in an above ground earthen oven with mezotes (dry agave leaves & roots), dried palms, dry nopal cactus and volcanic rock. The roast typically takes 3 days.
The cooked agave is smashed with a horse-drawn grind stone (Tahona). While still considered an ancestral technique, a few years ago the family stopped milling by hand with a wooden mallet. This is the only aspect of the elaboration process that has changed in the last 400 years.
A rarely used practice, the Navarros deploy a large woven hammock to squeeze out the sweet juices from the roasted and smashed agave.
Instead of water, these master distillers use pulque (an ancient fermented agave beverage) to help stimulate the wild yeast during fermentation. The process takes 1 to 2 days depending on the temperature.
The fermented liquid is distilled in a three-part clay pot still. The third pot holds the mezcal and is weighed by fresh agave leaves. Its copper top holds the water that they continuously stir and switch out to control the temperature. The maestros attend to the distillation for 60 to 72 hours straight, yielding an average of just 90 liters per month.
The Navarro's combine only heads and hearts, discarding the tails to arrive at Luneta's Cuerno, 48.5% abv.