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.
Romulo is well known for his innovations in the challenging distillation of the Jabalí varietal. Before his work, the accepted wisdom was that Jabalí—which tends to foam during distillation and literally blow up the still—could not be made in batches large enough for commercial release. Using only the implements already at hand and a creative new approach, Romulo managed to bypass this issue, and subsequently, his new method for distilling Jabalí spread like wildfire among Oaxaca’s mezcaleros. Rey Campero Jabali Joven Mezcal exhibits a flamboyant and sweaty nose before breaking into orange zest and slate on the palate. Chalk, tropical fruit, and rawhide push and pull on the dynamic finish.
NOSE: Flamboyant and sweaty.
PALATE: Orange zest and slate.
FINISH: Chalk, tropical fruit, and rawhide.