With over 70 years of combined experience, Rey Campero represents the culture and tradition of Candelaria Yegolé, a small village in Zoquitlán, a municipality nestled within Oaxaca’s southern mountain range, the Sierra Sur. The fertile soil along the Rio Quiechapa is abundant with a wide variety of agave that grow wild along the slopes and canyons, and some of Oaxaca’s most famous maestro mezcaleros call this small district home.
Helmed by Romulo Sanchez Parada, this family collective chose the name Rey Campero, meaning “King of the Countryside”, to reflect the relationship between the landscape and those who work so tirelessly to harvest the magueys from this challenging terrain. Romulo and his family have some of the most diverse and productive agave nurseries in Oaxaca; Espadín and rare varieties of agave such as Tepextate and Jabalí are cultivated side by side. When they achieve maturity, some are allowed to flower and seed, while the rest are harvested and cooked underground for 4–5 days, before being allowed to rest for up to a week. Then, after being crushed by a traditional stone mill (or “tahona”), the fiber is placed in wooden vats (“tinas”) where it is naturally fermented in open air for up to 12 days, depending on the season. The fermented agave fibers and juice (“tepache”) from the vats are distilled in one of three small copper pot stills, finally offering the delicious elixir which is Mezcal Rey Campero. These distillates express an unflinching translation of the terroir, the family, and the agave which comprise it.
Representing over 96% of the agave in Oaxaca, this core variety offers a blank canvas for any maestro mezcalero in the state to paint upon. Much like we might assess a pizzeria based upon the qualities of their plain slice, so may we often consider terroir and a mezcalero’s methods & choices by tasting their Espadín.
By that scale alone, Romulo does phenomenal work. Rey Campero Espadin Joven Mezcal leads with an aroma like deep damp soil and tree bark, equal parts petrichor and forest floor, before blossoming on the palate into an earthy bouquet of green herbs, with a big grip of oregano and coriander in particular, brightened by sutble waves of citrus zest. A mezcal full of bravado!
NOSE: Deep damp soil and tree bark, petrichor and forest floor.
PALATE: Earthy bouquet of green herbs, with a big grip of oregano and coriander.
FINISH: Long, citrus zest.