24 Responses

  1. Owen at |

    Coyote is just Americ. Oax. there are no sub-species its mezcaliero slang for the name of the plant. Not a different variety. Those names on the map are different local names (the first in zapotec, the next in mixtec, the rest more modern) for the same plant. It is rare and only grows wild and it takes up to 30 years for each plant to mature. So they can not make a lot. It was originally a variety that the mezcalieros made just for themselves, since it’s so rare and you can’t cultivate it. Most batches will be well under 200L. It became popular in the past decade as people try to “scotch up” the mezcal market because it is so rare and good. Basically, it cost me 300 pesos/l from the maker, as opposed to 120/l for the (wild-sourced) espadin (puntas from the espadin, which is 72% instead of 55% is 150 pesos/l).

    tl:dr: Coyote is a local slang name for the Agave Americ. Oax. It is not an unknown variety of that same plant. It is that plant.

    1. zoe at |

      Re: sub-varietals or different regional names of A. Americana var. oaxacensis? I was just in Oaxaca a few weeks ago and can’t quite remember who I was talking to, but I think it was Graciela at Real Minero, when I specifically asked and was told that Sierra Negra and Arroqueño are both A. Amer. var. oax., same species, same varietal, not sub-varietals, just different names for the same plant, similar to what Owen was saying. Is there any kind of scientific proof that they are sub-varietals and not the same varietal? Do we need to test clippings side by side to prove it one way or the other? I want answers!

  2. Dylan Sinclair at |

    I was speaking to Jesus Ortega who runs archivomaguey in Oaxaca last week about tobala and papalomet. While I can’t really relay too much info, I got the impression that tobala has a lot of variation in shape/size/color and that they are a category that could benefit from further distinction (we had a tobala that was a 50:50 blend of 2 differnet tobalas from similar region. I couldn’t give detail past that without drawing how the spines are large and curved on one with fatter leaves and slimmer and smaller spines on the second as drawn for me during discussion). I also got the strong sense that even if related the papalomet come from the mixtec region and also differs enough that at least some do not consider it synonymos with tobala. And from my tasting of various papalomet I’d have to say I tend to think they likey differ as well as they are slightly less sweet and have more vegetal flavors (in the small sampling I’ve been able to have). Archivo has a ticunchui that is absolutely amazing if you can get your hands on some. He only had like 30L total of this so there is not much, but if you’re in town and he has some you MUST try it. Perhaps my all time favorite as of now (I love them all, who am I kidding). Great site, BTW.

  3. Eduardo Martinez at |

    While in Oaxaca in February, I visited the distillery for Don Agave where I bought a bottle of Mezcal Joven de Coyote, only 215 bottles made. The tour began with an introduction of the six types of agave they use for their mezcals, one of them being the coyote variety (somewhere I have a picture of them). You might continue your research by calling them at 951-111-1350, asking for Matha Caronell or writing to donagave_mezcal@hotmail.com
    Jorge Balderas is the magician that makes their wonderful product.
    I still haven’t broken into my bottle (showing great restraint) waiting for that special moment.

    1. Baron of the barren white north at |

      While browsing Mezcals available from the US I found another mention of coyote in the Mezcal Vago Olla De Barro Coyote mixto (there is a mouthful.) As suggested, it is not a pure expression- the write up states that it is a mixture of ” various amounts of Espadin, Mexicano, Coyote, Arroqueño and Sierra Negra” and that the bottles will be labelled as to their contents.

      I had never looked at or for Coyote prior to reading your blog and I have to say that I really appreciate the time you spend writing informative for my consumption.

      I cannot believe the selection (and price) you pay south of the boarder (Canadian boarder.) I will refrain from ranting here (for now), but I see a trip to the Montana boarder in my near future… Suffice to say that right now I have bottles of Sombra and few other varieties (do zygnum and Scorpion count?) due to prices and availability. I refuse to pay twice the going rate for a bottle simply due to being geographically disadvantaged and living in a liquor dictatorship where the government holds a monopoly. (Right, I promised not to rant…)

      Anyhow, thanks again for the posts and the links of various online mezcal Mecca’s for me to check out.

  4. mezcalito at |

    Siete Misterios gets their mezcal from the Sola de Vega region. It’s all “Olla de Barro”. The interesting thing is when you ask the mezcaleros from Sola to point out an Agave Arroqueño and an Agave Coyote, they are completely different and don’t appear to be of the same variety at all. Arroqueños are huge and have a much broader leaf. It would be nice to get to the bottom of this!

  5. Mario Yrun at |

    a thorough and entertaining treatise to be sure! …great writing and I think I’ll pour myself a Ilegal Anejo gifted to me by some dude I know….

  6. mathew at |

    love this post! wait until you check out the most recent bottle I have received…cowhide/clay/7 years underground, Papalometl!
    haven’t opened the bottle yet, figured it’s been waiting since “6/98” (yes, that is handwritten on the bottle) to be opened, then I can perhaps wait until a certain mezcal aficionado/blogger stops in for a dram. until then, Sir!

  7. Sonia Gomez at |

    What a fantastic lesson on mezcal!! So interesting and so easy to read and understand!! As I was reading it my mouth was watering thinking of the Siete Misterios at Empellon with Matt Resler and the numbered bottles!! By your description I can imagine how tasteful it is and the pleasant burning sensation that gives a good mezcal to one’s palate. Well, how about some Ilegal for now?!!


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