Mezcal Los Siete Misterios - Oaxaca, Mexico

Crafters Q&A
As you certainly know, we’re very much into all things Mexico. From tamales de chapulines, to tacos de chicharrón, and everything in between, we’re just in love with this country. From all the great things Mexico gave to the world, there is one we particularly love: Mezcal. No, it’s not a drug, but an exceptionally fine spirit which took over scotch and rum in our hearts. And, no, we’re not talking about the “oh, isn’t that a tequila with a worm inside?” horrors sold to tourists – but about an incredible drink with lots of history and mystery, that has been flying under the radar for way too long.
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Luckily, things have changed enormously in the last few years and proper Mezcal has become much easier to find in London’s finest drink shops, such as our much loved Amathus Drinks. They source a respectable selection of a few dozen varieties from the most well-known mezcal from great producers. They also run tasting session where producers showcase their goods and tell their story. It’s during one of those sessions we had the chance to meet with Julio Mestre, the co-founder of Los Siete Misterios Mezcal (The Seven Mysteries) and taste their incredible range.
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We had the chance to ask a few questions to Eduardo Mestre, the CEO of Los Siete Misterios (and Julio’s brother) and learn a bit more about their inspiring story and products. It’s one of our favourite Founders Q&A posts so far and their pictures are amazing, so read on!

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FC: Hi Eduardo – could you introduce yourself and tell us the story of “Los Siete Misterios”?

I’m Eduardo Mestre, Co-founder and CEO of Los Siete Misterios Mezcal (L7M). I have to say that is a family story that begun about 10 years ago in one of the holiday trips me and my brother Julio did to the beaches of Oaxaca. We used to go on vacations to Chacahua Lagoons, Puerto Escondido, Mazunte to escape from the daily city life, and in those trips we met different people and different traditions like drinking mezcal. Oaxaca was the only place where we drank this splendid spirit because you couldn’t find it in Mexico City, so it became a tradition to only drink it in those trips. Suddenly in one of the latest trips, we were in Puerto Escondido bar hoping and after tasting mezcals in 3 different bars we started to notice that there was a huge difference between them, so we wanted to know more about the spirit and started to question every bartender in Puerto.

The next day we decided to make a change to our trip so we rented a car to travel from Puerto to Oaxaca City with one mission in our minds: stop in every village we could find and buy all the mezcal we can carry. And we did it! We visited approximately 15 villages and bought mezcal from different families. After getting back home, we started to collect mezcal, and everytime we had guest we offered mezcal instead of any other spirit. After some time we had our favorite ones, and we kept going with the trips and mezcal buying, so we can always add something new to our collection. After some time, our place looked more like a Speakeasy Mezcal Club than a real house and that’s when it changed from a hobby to something else.

After many trips, we fell in love and made a great relationship with the Amador family from Sola de Vega, which also had that special mezcal we loved very much. Then, we started to think that everybody should taste it and got into mezcal because it is a great spirit. The next thing we noticed is that L7M was born.
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FC: Tell us a bit more about your different Mezcals. What makes them so special and unique?

We have 8 different mezcals (so far), and 6 of them have a very particular production process that almost no one is carrying out anymore. In that process stands out the distillation method, that is through Clay Pots, a unique technique that gives our mezcals special characteristics compared to any other mezcal. The final product has more body, is silkier and the after taste is particularly superb. With this particular technique we have 6 different varieties that are totally different from each other. We have the Espadín, that is the common agave you can find in most of the mezcals, then the Barril that is one of my favorites thanks to it’s complexity and earthy flavors, the Mexicano is one of most uncommon ones and you cannot find a bottle that easy, Arroqueño and Coyote are from the same agave family but once you taste and compare them, there’re no similarities as you could imagine, and finally we have the Tobalá which is top notch in our range, made from a wild agave that has coffee, chocolate and tobacco notes just to mention a few. In this Clay Pot mezcals, you can barely notice the high ABV that rounds 48%. After a couple of years with the specialty bars growing worldwide we saw an opportunity to create a mezcal that could be sipped straight or mixed in cocktails without loosing or sacrificing any quality, that’s when we launched Doba Yej, a Copper Still mezcal made from Agave Espadín that is pretty round and well balanced. The latest addition to the catalog is the Pechuga, a mezcal that is an homage and pays tribute to all the families who have opened the doors of their homes and have given us their trust. A gratefulness to the Maestros Mezcaleros who have shared with us their experience and lessons passed down from generation to generation.

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Los Siete Misterios Arroqueño (Agave Americana var. Oaxacensis)

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FC: The mezcal world is booming right now! What was the most effective method(s) to grow your community/presence/sales? What did not work at all? In other words, what you wish you knew when you started?

I have to say that it requires working hand in hand with all the people involved in the process, from the people in charge of the agave cultivation and harvest, to the person that makes the final sale in a bar or restaurant. I think that communication is the key to success, and the more sensitization you have in the whole process, the more adjustments you can make ongoing. Well, there are lots of things that didn’t work at all at the beginning, but after some twitches they all can run smoothly. One could not have staff living in Oaxaca and not have daily communication with all the people involved in the production chain, but now we do and it’s pretty impressive how things have improved.

What I wish I knew? There are lots of things, but the principal one is that getting into the spirit business is the Big League. I mean it’s like playing in 3rd division and suddenly you are at the Champions League, which means you’re going to need more than the usual startup budget in order to plan and make your best strategy in this gigantic industry. Besides that, I can say that the learning has been incredible.

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FC: What are the other producers of Mezcal or related projects (sustainable growers of agave, etc.) you are really excited about?

One thing for sure is the Agave cultivation and reforesting that some brands are making. One other project is TIP (Tequila Interchange Project) “Bat Friendly” project, which consists in promote the pollination of agave plants by bats and learn more about their relationship to the plants that give us these magnificent beverages. And this year 14 brands got united to create “Por qué Mezcal?” which looks to promote the Mezcal Category in Mexico. The idea is to work together to position the category among the consumers, because not everybody knows about mezcal yet.

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FC: What’s next for Los Siete Misterios? Any future projects you’d like to share with our readers?

We are working on a Parallel project to promote Mexican spirits worldwide, so hopefully we will launch the next spirit very soon. We are also building a new distillery where we will have our own Agave nurseries to reforest the agave fields.
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FC: A final advice or tip for anyone who wants to start an artisan food business, but are too scared/shy, don’t have time/money, or simply don’t know where to start?

Well, I just can say that you have to be totally convinced and satisfied with the result of your product to sell it to others. I know that sometimes what other think/say matters, but works better if you only listen them as reference. And finally, there’s no perfect recipe – flaws and mistakes are part of success.

And one more thing, hire the best legal team and accountant you can get, being armoured is primordial.

Mezcal-Siete-Misterios-7FC: Thanks a lot Eduardo!

My pleasure.

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Los Siete Misterios Doba-Yej (Angustifolia Haw)

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Los Siete Misterios Tobala (Agave Potatorum)

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Los Siete Misterios Espadin (Agave Angustifolia)

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Los Siete Misterios Coyote (Agave Americana L)

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Los Siete Misterios Mexicano (Agave Rhodacantha)

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Los Siete Misterios Mexicano (Agave Karwinskii)

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Los Siete Misterios Pechuga

[Most images in this post – copyright Los Siete Misterios – used with permission.]

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