The village of Yogana is located at the southern end of the Ejutla district of Oaxaca. Like all of his neighbors, Félix is a full-time farmer. Unlike many of his neighbors, Félix is also a part-time mezcalero, working with several species of agave that he plants between rows of seasonal crops, and distills on equipment unique to Ejutla that allow his spirits can reach proof in a single pass.
Mezcalero: FÉLIX RAMÍREZ MENDEZ
Village: YOGANA, EJUTLA, OAX.
Distilling Season: October-May
Woods Used in Oven: Encino (Quercus sp.), Guaje (Leucaena spp.), Guamuche (Pithecellobium dulce)
Oven size: 9 tons
Cook Time: 3 Days
Rest between Oven and Mill: 5 Days
Mill Type: Ox drawn tahona
Fermentation vessel: Open air sabino (Taxodium mucronatum) tinas
Water Source: Well
Fermentation Time: 3-5 Days
Still Type: Copper Alambiques (400 liters) with refrescadera
Refrescadera: Cooling water circulates during distillation. The montera has two plates to increase reflux.
Since 2016, the Mal Bien team has been traveling Mexico, driving off the map and into mountains filled with treacherous roads, police officers of questionable moral character, feral dogs, indigenous languages, narcos, ancient relics, machete wielding protestors, insect based meals, mudslides, blockades, corrupt politicians, and many of the world’s kindest, funniest, most brilliant people. In addition to some hard to believe stories, they’ve connected with a wide variety of traditional producers, whose mezcal is now bottled and exported under the Mal Bien name.