Hildegardo Joya "Japo"
Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco
Maguey varieties: Amarillo, Verde y Cenizo
Another expression of the mezcal made in Jalisco, especially in the west of the state, is the raicilla. Among its producers is Hildegardo Joya “Japo”, one of the last of his generation who continues to make distillate in the Cabo Corrientes region.
Cabo Corrientes is a paradise off the coast of Puerto Vallarta where saline soil and papaya, banana, bonnet, watermelon and coffee crops bring a variety of flavors to mezcal.
"Japo" harvests only three types of maguey at that site: Ash, Green and Yellow, the latter being the most widely used variety for raicilla. The Yellow maguey takes between 8 and 13 years to mature, while the Cenizo can take up to 35 years to reach its maximum splendor.
At 87 years of age, "Japo" continues to clear the ground day after day, aided only by his machete. He is an eternally young man who knows how to enjoy life and remains committed to his work planting agaves every year, even knowing that he will not be the one to harvest some of them.
"Japo" uses a deeper and more cylindrical earth oven than the average; This allows you to experiment with extending the cooking time of agaves, a process in which you use oak wood.
Cooked agaves usually stay 26 days underground. After this, "Japo" crushes them with mallets of parota on stone canoes. Subsequently, they are left to ferment for more than 30 days in aguaje –a long fermentation process that is distinctive of Hildegardo–, which sometimes gives its roots a particular lactic touch.
The distillation is carried out in copper saucepans with a tescalama (fig tree) and bonnet cap, which gives rise to one of the most complex roots in the region.
Baking : Conical Stone Kiln Underground
Cooking : From 6 to 26 days
Firewood : Oak and / or Tescalama
Grinding : parota mallet on canoe
Fermentation : natural without yeast for 23 days
Water used for fermentation : spring
Distillation : Filipino type, internal condensation with copper saucepan, tescalama lid and hollowed-out bonnet cap.
Alcohol Richness Adjustment : Tips and Tails
Liters produced on average : 90 liters per ton
Mezonte is an non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes, supports and preserves the production and practices of traditional agave spirits. Mezonte’s main objective is to create awareness of the cultural and biological value that these spirits represent. They feature agave spirits from all over Mexico, with an emphasis on Jalisco and Michoacán.