Neta Agave Spirits Espadin Candido Garcia Cruz 98.3 Proof 750ml
Though the variety of Agave angustifolia commonly known as Espadín is now widespread
in Oaxaca, it is not actually native to the region. Some claim that Espadín began to appear
in Oaxaca as early as the 1930’s, but most references date its arrival several decades later
when government programs and Matatlán-based business interests began to promote its
cultivation. Because Espadín yields well, reproduces easily, and matures quickly, it is prized
as a cash crop and is planted widely throughout the state. However, a spirit made from this
agave should not be overlooked just because of the ubiquity of its raw material. In fact,
precisely for this reason, Espadín serves as an excellent lens for understanding the different
terrains and production methods of Oaxaca. A quality Espadín, like this 2015 production
from maestro Candido García Cruz, is a reflection both of the spirit’s place of origin and the
skill of its maker.
Candido works with quiotudo agaves, meaning he cuts each plant’s quiote before it has a
chance to flower. This method, which concentrates the agave’s sugar in the piña rather than
sending the energy towards reproduction, requires extra time for each plant to fully ripen
in the fields. The extra time improves the yield of each piña and develops a richness of
flavor not found in less mature agave.
In March 2015, under the light of a full moon, Candido and his family harvested 90
gigantic, quiotudo Espadín plants from a mineral-rich tierra colorada parcel of their land.
On this parcel, they grow their maguey alongside alternating crops of the corn, beans, and
squash that provide much of the food for their family. Later that month, they roasted the
sugar-rich piñas with mesquite wood in their earthen oven. After unearthing the agave, the
caramelized piñas rested for a week before being chopped by machete and passed
through a mechanical mill. The dry fibers were let to sit for two days before they added
filtered water to the Montezuma cypress fermentation tanks. Espadín, as any well-cooked
maguey with a high sugar content, requires a relatively long fermentation time, and in this
case, demanded 16 days in water before the tepache was ready for distillation. No longer
as agile as he was in his youth, Candido now often plays a supervisory role in his
productions – though he remains a present participant in each step of the process. To
produce this lot, Candido worked the copper pot stills with his two daughters. Adjusting
the richness of the batch with heads, hearts, and común macizo, they yielded roughly 900
liters of this exceptional destilado de Espadín we are proud to share with you.