OCTOBER SPIRIT OF THE MONTH: ABASOLO EL WHISKY DE MEXICO
I find it amazing what is going on in the world of spirits right now. Recently, you all have read about Peruvian Agave spirits READ ARTICLE, Rums being produced in Michoacan, Mexico READ ARTICLE, and how some new companies are changing the way we use Bitters READ ARTICLE. So when I was presented a Whisky from Mexico, my first thought was “another first for me”.
Destileria y Bodega Abasolo is based out of Jilotepec (once called Jilotepec de Abasolo), Mexico and is working with ancestral corn to make a spirit unique, full, and, just like tequilas, give you a feel of the terroir.
Made with Mexican Cacahuazintle (ka-ka-wha-seent-lay) corn, which can only grow at elevations of 7,000 feet or higher, Abasolo works directly with farmers located in the mountainous areas of the State of Mexico, some with family history of cultivating Cacahuazintle for over a century. Abasolo doesn’t stop at using an ancestral corn when it comes to looking into the past for their inspiration. With the use of nixtamalization, a 4,000-year-old cooking technique, Abasolo feels the truest expression of the corn is shown using this process. 20-25% of the corn is malted before the fermentation process, which uses Champagne yeast and last 120 hours. After a double distillation, the libation is aged for two years in new toasted oak and used Four Roses and Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels. The warehouse that these barrels are aged in has no walls and a light floor. Allowing the terroir of Jilotepec to interact with these barrels and give this Mexican Whisky the Alma de la Tierra, which means “Soul of the Earth”.
You can truly get a taste of that soul when enjoying Abasolo. When Jesscia Martinez, our Domestic and Southern Hemisphere wine buyer, tried it, she said on the nose it reminded her of Tequila. “I know it’s not tequila, but it kind of smells similar.”
That’s the terroir making its mark, that earthy, slightly soil and dirt characteristic is prominent in straightforward tequilas, and you can sense it in this whisky as well. On the palate, you get a wonderful coating mouthfeel that leads to rich notes of cocoa, vibrant cinnamon, and a slight earthy feature that you get on the nose too. A soft flavor, which reminded me of hay, comes out on the finish to keep the idea of the Soul of the Earth going. Notes of cocoa and hay linger.