The Lost Explorer and The Curious Case of Mexican Mezcal

The best-known agave-based spirit might be Tequila, but The Lost Explorer Mezcal aims to pique your curiosity, inspire drinkers to delve a little deeper, and experience what else the agave plant has to offer.

Mezcal, or oven-cooked agave, is predominantly produced in Oaxaca, Mexico, from the heart of the agave plant, in a tradition dating back for more than 200 years. The Lost Explorer Mezcal founders, David de Rothschild and Thor Björgólfsson, set out to create a brand that empowers people to explore and appreciate their environment and promote curious living. In partnership with expert maestro mezcalero Don Fortino Ramos, Lost Explorer is seeking to empower sustainable Mexican enterprise, while protecting the ancient artisanal craft, heritage and biodiversity of Mexico.

The Lost Explorer Mezcal range consists of three uniquely profiled varieties – Espadin, Tobala and Salmiana.

Espadin is the most commonly used species of agave for mezcal production, comprising around 90% of all production. It’s found growing wild throughout Mexico, but is also cultivated. Lost Explorer harvest this variety after an eight-year growth, allowing it to mature and develop before the production process begins.

On the nose, Espadin is woody, with a subtle hint of herbs coming through, while the flavour is altogether more fruity, with ripe apples coming to the fore. The spirit is delightfully smooth and gentle on the tongue, and leaves a smoky finish, which complements the initial aroma perfectly.

Tobala is a wild agave that grows in the higher altitude regions, preferring rocky soils and shade. It is much smaller in stature that espadin – it takes around eight tobala plants to equal the size of one espadin plant – making it harder to source. This particular plant is left for 10 years to mature in the wild.

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Tobala has a much more earthy quality, with initial hits on the nose of wood and cacao, which give way quickly to a leathery flavour with hints of vanilla. This more mature quality then fades to leave a clean yet still earthy, citrus finish.

Salmiana agave is a giant in comparison to its brother tobala, growing up to two meters in height. This variety can also be found at higher altitudes, as it too prefers the well-drained, drier soils and isn’t too fussed about the soil quality.

Having matured for 12 years, Lost Explorer Mezcal process the salmiana to create their final offering, which has the most herbaceous flavour of the three. The aroma has a strong green chilli tone, with a grapefruit hit behind it. The chilli subsides on the palette, leaving the citrus and grapefruit to come through, with only a mild herb undertone. The earthy tones return, along with a hint of spice to finish.

Available directly from The Lost Explorer, the mezcal is the base for a ready-mixed Mezcal Mirror Margarita from HACHA Agarvaria.

What: The Lost Explorer Mezcal
Where: thelostexplorermezcal.com
How much: £63