Mal Bien Espadín Felipe Y Ageo Cortes
Mal Bien is a collection of agave spirits from small producers throughout Mexico, curated by spirits nerds and agave lovers during their travels in search of the delicious, authentic, and interesting.
Felipe and his son Ageo are the 3rd and 4th generations of the Cortes family to produce mezcal in the Miahuatlán District of Oaxaca, an area famous for its abundance and diversity of agave, and a strong tradition of distilling. They are related to the neighboring Ramos family via Felipe’s wife (Ageo’s mother), Cesilia, whose sister Cleotilde is married to Victor.
Though father and son work side-by-side, batch codes ending in FC signify the cuts, and final composition were done by Felipe, and batch codes ending in AC signify the cuts and composition were done by Ageo.
How old are you, and how long have you been making mezcal?
Ageo: My father is 72 and has been a mezcalero for 55 years. I am 27 and I say have 10 years of experience. I worked in the palenque when I was little, but I was 17 the first time I put my name on a batch.
How many generations has you family been producing mezcal?
Ageo: I am the fourth generation. I learned from my father, he learned from my grandfather, and he learned from his father.
How many years has your family been using your palenque?
What should the world know about your family or your village?
Ageo: I want everyone to know that it is not just my father behind our mezcales - our whole family is included in the production. My mother Cesilia, my wife Asela, and my sisters Amelia and Griselda; the story behind it belongs to all of them.
Distilling Season(s): January-June, October, November
Woods Used in Oven: Encino and Yegareche (Quercus spp.), Mesquite (Prosopis spp.), Palo de Aguila (Alnus acuminata)
Oven Size: 9 tons, 5 tons
Cook Time: 8-10 Days
Rest between between Oven and mill: Tepextate and tobalá are milled immediately; madrecuixe, bicuixe, espadín and others will rest for 5-7 days.
Mill Type: Ox drawn tahona
Fermentation vessel: Open air sabino (Taxodium mucronatum) tinas
Water Source: Well
Fermentation Time: 3-8 Days
Still Type: Copper Alambiques (500 & 275 liter) with refrescadera
Refrescadera: Water is changed one time during distillation.