PIERDE ALMAS is a hyper-gourmet, artisan-made, small-batch mezcal produced in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca from 100% naturally fermented agave. There are four varieties available on the market derived from four distinct species of this majestic member of the lily family: Espadín, Do-ba-daán, 100% wild Tobalá and 100% wild Tobaziche. We also produce a fifth, exceedingly rare Christmas mezcal known as Mezcal de Pechuga, which, in accordance with its ancestral recipe, is triple-distilled in the presence of wild fruits, almonds, anise and a wild turkey breast. Aside from being served in some of the finest restaurants in Mexico City (examples being Tezka, the former Pampano and the Hotel Brick) as well as in Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta, Oaxaca, New York, Miami, Washington D.C. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berlin and Bratislava, Pierde Almas is the mezcal of choice for such internationally renowned chefs as José Ramón Castillo, Alejandro Ruíz, Thierre Blouet, Mónica Patino, Pedro Martin and Juantxo. It has also been chosen by the State Department (Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores) of Mexico for official use at state dinners of the highest level.
What is it that sets Pierde Almas apart from all the others?
We still bake our Agave Hearts for up to ten days in earthen ovens. We still mill them under a great stone wheel drawn by horses. Fermentation – even in these impatient times – is slow, careful and chemical-free. Distillation takes place in a wood-fired, serpentine copper alembic whose design hasn’t changed appreciably since the Moors occupied the Spanish Peninsula.
Each glass of PIERDE ALMAS, is a hymn to our history and cultural heritage. After centuries of near obscurity, we are now honored to have the opportunity to bring this amazing elixir out of the villages and on to the world stage.
There is, however, one small caveat: We ask that you please try it first neat, so that the true, unadulterated identity of the Agave is expressed with complete transparency, undiluted and unmasked. Then, try it in a cocktail – if you must.
MEZCAL DE AUTOR
The traditions that have shaped the cultural landscape of Mexico are thousands of years old. Today, they are as vital as ever and are most vividly expressed in the southern state of Oaxaca. For the people of Oaxaca, tradition is not something to be dusted off each year on festive occasions. It is a way of life and permeates everything they do. Paramount among these traditions, like a silver thread running through the collective narrative of the region, is the production and frequently ritualistic consumption of mezcal.
For more than four centuries, in tiny cottage workshops, scattered among scores of villages dotting the countryside, fathers have passed the lore of handcrafting fine mezcal on to their sons and grandsons.
Behind each bottle of PIERDE ALMAS is a time-honored recipe kept alive with painstaking care by the family patriarch in each successive generation.
By referring to Pierde Almas as a “Mezcal de Autor”, we hope to elevate these master mezcaleros to their rightful stature.
Though, their numbers have dwindled over the years, these individuals remain as the true defenders of mezcal lore. We honor them for their humble, yet uncompromising resistance in the face of the wholesale industrialization that has entrenched itself in recent years among the agave plantations of Oaxaca.
From these old masters, PIERDE ALMAS brings you the very best mezcal being made today – anywhere.
At Pierde Almas we’re fond of saying, “IF IT’S NOT ARTESANAL, IT’S NOT MEZCAL.”
Pierde Almas SA de CV is first and foremost a socially, culturally and environmentally responsible entity.
This means better than fair pay and the highest regard for the personal dignity of every individual involved in the supply chain, from cultivation and production to packaging and the ultimate distribution of our product. It means absolute, uncompromising respect for and nurturing and protection of the social and cultural matrix from which mezcal is a precipitate. And, finally, it means total respect for the environment, employing care and technical innovation wherever possible to reduce our ecological impact and contribute to the rescue and improvement of current local and regional environmental conditions.
Current pro-environment policies at Pierde Almas include:
1. Firewood: only fallen timber is used for baking the maguey in our earthen ovens. Fallen timber – mostly oak – is the result of indiscriminate logging in our area and, ultimately, creates a fire hazard if not removed.
2. Labels: our hand-printed labels are made of non-polluting, lye-and-acid-free, handmade paper using maguey fibers recycled from our own mezcal plant.
3. Cultivation: maguey plantations are chemical and fertilizer-free. Zero pesticides are used. Pierde Almas is projected to begin the lengthy process toward official certification as an organic product in 2009.
4. Financing has been designated and plans are being drawn up for wild Tobalá reforestation on the hillsides of our area. Up to 24,000 Tobalá will be planted in 2009/2010.
Pierde Almas is a crystal clear, double-distilled alcoholic spirit primarily derived from three varieties of agave, or maguey: 1. Espadín, 2. Do-ba-daán, 3. Tobalá.
The latter is a wild variety that can only be harvested and processed during spring, between March and the arrival of the first rains in May.
The hearts of the magueys, known as piñas, are shorn of their foliage and baked for up to five days in earthen “pit” ovens. Once removed and allowed to cool, the piñas are crushed under a horse-drawn millstone and placed in wooden vats for an unhurried, 100% natural fermentation.
Fermentation is complete within four to seven days, depending upon ambient temperatures. The resulting mash, or tepache, is then twice refined in a copper serpentine still.
Percentage of alcohol per volume fluctuates depending upon the maguey varieties used and can vary from lot to lot due to changes in environmental conditions. The range for the Espadín and Do-ba-daán varieties usually falls between 50% and 53% alcohol/volume. Tobalá produces mezcal with a range between 42% and 48% alcohol/volume.
At Pierde Almas, we pride ourselves not on consistency, not on uniformity, but on the uniqueness of each lot of handmade mezcal we produce.
Always a pleasant surprise, each new harvest delivers, under the vigilance of the master mezcalero, a mezcal with its own distinctive identity. Thus, with every cup of Pierde Almas, you are choosing artistic sensibility and a bit of serendipity over mass production and homogeneity. You are choosing culture over industry.
At Pierde Almas, our uncompromising tenet, when it comes to production, is that the entire process must scrupulously adhere to a natural – 100% chemical free – and traditional methodology.
We also believe that mezcal must be consumed joven. That is to say, Pierde Almas is never aged in whiskey barrels, as these tend to impart extraneous flavors and impose an aesthetic that has nothing to do with mezcal’s historic and cultural context.
Presently, the Pierde Almas distillery in San Baltazar Chichicapam has a monthly output of 2000 liters. Production capacity is projected to reach 5000 liters within three to five years, depending upon demand.
Pierde Almas is sold in clear, 750 ml Bordeaux-style bottles. Our labels are hand-printed on 100% lye-and-acid-free, handmade paper derived from fibers that are indigenous to the region and have been in use since pre-Columbian times. These include: coyuche, jonote, pochote, pita, chichicastle, and/or cornhusk and banana leaf. We also mix in recycled bagazo, or maguey fibers, left over from the production of our mezcal.