Abdias De La Luz Rodriguez
Master mezcaleros in the hills east of Volcano Popocatépetl have been using bull hides as fermentation vessels for centuries.
After a stint in the USA as a gardener, Abdias returned to his homeland of Puebla to study liquid wisdom from his aging father.
Years later, Abdias works with bull hides, a tree trunk still neck and other techniques his ancestors applied to craft Luneta's Papalometl.
To start, he gathers mature agave papalometl (potatorum family, known in other regions as tobala), which takes 8 to 12 years before it is ready to harvest. Historically, papalometl was only found in the wild but due to the increased demand and unsustainable harvesting, Abdias uses a semi-cultivated method to obtain the foundation of this rich elixir.
Once Abdias and his team gather the and sculpt the papalometl, they roast the hearts in an underground earthen oven for 4 to 6 days using volcanic rock and mesquite and encino wood.
Fermentation and milling:
Unlike many mezcaleros, Abdias ferments the cooked agave hearts twice in bullhide sacs with potable water. The first time around, he ferments them whole. He and his team then rise with the sun and smash the whole fermented hearts by hand with wooden mallets. The crushed agave is then put back in the bullhide sacs for another round of fermentation.
Heated over a carefully tended fire, the fermented agave is distilled in a copper still. The second distillation is conducted in a still made of a stainless steal pot and a tree trunk neck. Each batch yields around 150 to 200 liters.
The hearts, heads and tails are then mix to yield a balanced blend. Abdias keeps his mezcals still proof, ranging from 44 to 50 percent alcohol.