Special Tasting of Boutique Mezcal with Yuan Ji, Founder of Erstwhile Mezcal


by Drew Hendricks
Last updated Oct 8, 2021

Legends Behind the Craft Podcast

Last Updated on October 8, 2021 by rise25

Yuan Ji

Yuan Ji is the Founder and CEO of Erstwhile Mezcal, a company focused on building family values. Yuan had built a successful career practicing law as an Antitrust Attorney for Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati before her passion for Mezcal alcohol and her drive to leave the world a better place shifted her career goals.

Yuan graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Economics from Washington University in St. Louis and shortly after earned her Master of Science degree. She attended Yale Law School to earn her Doctor of Law degree.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Yuan Ji talks about the different agave varietals that make a great mezcal 
  • How can the distillation process enhance the flavor of a mezcal?
  • Drew Hendricks and Yuan compare and contrast the flavors of Espadín and Arroqueño Mezcal
  • Yuan discusses the sipping personality of the Tepeztate Mezcal
  • An in-depth look into how agave is cooked to enhance flavor
  • How Yuan is incorporating educational videos into her marketing strategy
  • What is on Yuan’s horizon for mezcal right now?

In this episode with Yuan Ji

How can the distillation process showcase and scale a brand? Can you successfully educate and market mezcal?

Using different agave plant varietals, Yuan Ji creates an assembly of excellent and exceptional flavors for finely crafted mezcal. The distillation process of her experienced producers brings delicate and individual tastes to the mezcal industry. Yuan introduces consumers to an educational look at the distillation process to scale her brand by showing how to cultivate mezcal from plant to bottle.

In this special tastings episode of Legends Behind the Craft, Drew Hendricks sits down with Yuan Ji, the Founder and CEO of Erstwhile Mezcal, to discuss virtual mezcal tastings and the flavorful personalities of agave. Yuan goes through brewing an assembly of flavors, how she’s cultivating a strong female presence in the mezcal industry, and the versatility of producers.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:03

Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry, with your host Drew Hendricks. Now let’s get started with the show.

Drew Hendricks 0:20

Today I’ve got a special treat for you. As part of doing the podcast Legends Behind the Craft. I get to interview some of the most intriguing producers and importers of wines and spirits and today we’ve got a special virtual tasting I think you’re gonna enjoy it.

Yuan Ji  0:37

Hey Drew. 

Drew Hendricks 0:38

How are you doing today? I got I got the samples all sitting here waiting for us.

Yuan Ji  0:42

Wow this is very exciting.

Drew Hendricks 0:44

I’m super excited. Yeah, this patient thinks this is gonna be a first for me I haven’t I haven’t done it on my Mezcal tasting but this other wine

Yuan Ji 0:55

Excellent.

Drew Hendricks 0:56

So stoked to find these and after our talk I’ve been dying to try 

Yuan Ji  1:02

So have you tried the Why did you I’m just curious why did you pick out the the assembly form from everything on the website that was working

Drew Hendricks 1:12

when you said came from the 40 year native agave?

Yuan Ji  1:16

Yes. Yeah, so it’s two wild agaves and Tepeztate is they’re both wild to maybe not quite 40 years but a long time to have a start. They could be up to maybe 30 years and 2530 years and then the totalize that takes less time but still like 12 years.

Drew Hendricks 1:36

Okay, yeah, well we talked on the on the podcast and I was like, I don’t think I’ve ever had a native agave for 40 years I have now so what’s the difference? in what order? So I’ve got the Espadín in at the beginning. Is that the first one we should try?

Yuan Ji 1:50

So I I recommend starting with the Espadín and then moving on to the Arroqueño in the order you have them lined up actually that’s pretty good.

Drew Hendricks 2:03

Then we and this is the Tobalá which is what does this one and this one.

Yuan Ji 2:07

So they’re the name on the label is just the name of the agave varietals, so just like grapes, Pinot Noir, Merlot, a, you know, the, those are just grape names. Okay. So similarly, these are just agave varietals. So they’re all in the agave genus, but there’s, you know, so many different species of a god base. Okay. Each of them has different personalities, sugar content. Tobalá makes a huge difference. Just Just like why.

Drew Hendricks 2:41

Sure, sure. So this one’s this Espadín made? Yes. Made by Garcia Luis Silverio. There’s you there.

Yuan Ji  2:49

Yeah. So Silverio and then his wife Epifania. So I recommend starting with that, and then any leftovers I recommend. So we started with this mezcal can come back to it at the end, because oftentimes, the experience changes a lot because that first step of mezcal is really just a no matter how great the mezcal is, I think of as a palate cleanser just because it’s high alcohol content. So it’s a shock to the system. If that’s your first mezcal of the day.

Drew Hendricks 3:22

It is the first in the day I get off at 9am I’m like I got to dive in. I’ve been waiting.

Yuan Ji 3:29

Excellent. So yeah, I just recommend starting with Espadín and you know, tiny serves and let let it coat your palate like swish it around a little bit. And

Drew Hendricks 3:39

now I’m doing these out of old fashioned glasses. What would you I mean, this is what this is what I have

Yuan Ji 3:44

is fine if I drink so you have something small and shadow nice. This is you know what they call a cold pizza just means a little cup. So any kind of small saucer like yeah, that’s gonna white nose. So that’s the old fashioned is perfectly fine if you do have something shorter,

Drew Hendricks 4:02

huh? Yeah, this is my standard drinking glass. That’s probably the whiskey glasses, but we’ll go with it. Very nice. We’ll go with this one. Espadín this this is your this is your your your kind of your house. mezcal.

Yuan Ji  4:17

This is Yeah, so these four expressions is not all but most a good representation of our flagship line, which came to the US arrived end of 2018 and that’s that’s basically our first foray representing these two producer families that you know, that are family friends, and also our inaugural partner producers coming to the US market with Erstwhile

Drew Hendricks 4:43

and they didn’t ask the first time but you got it you got to explain this little logo to me riding a dinosaur.

Yuan Ji 4:49

So we are a Earth was a woman owned a woman led company in my own my capacity as a Founder and also the women in each of our partner producer families so that’s one of our core values that I care about and where we you know write articles and outspoken about as occasion arises so I want something in the logo to honor that so I wanted a strong female presence and I mean you know there’s in what is it in folklore you know Maya wells, the goddess the Aztec folklore, Maya was the goddess that’s associated with agave. actually So there is a history of female representation. But what I’ve noticed that when women shows up in some mezcal logos, I won’t point any names. They’re often very sexualized, oh, more than I’ve seen more than one lawyer. If it shows up at all, it’d be like a silhouette with the boob. Like, okay, I’m going to, you know, not do that and just have a strong female presence in our logo.

Drew Hendricks 6:08

We’re gonna charge him with a stock and a velociraptor and kick

Yuan Ji  6:13

it off, called a keota. A is the flower in stock of the agave plant. So when it matures, there’s a stock that shoots out from the center flowers it has seeds that’s how you were produces were one of the ways that were produces and it’s very beautiful so she’s a warrior she’s charging into battle with the Quixote and the rafter is it’s our sense of humor you know, it’s not not very serious but it’s a play on our name Erstwhile font from an earlier time as a URL Oh

Drew Hendricks 6:41

yeah. I like it. So this is a copper alambic and yes, you still want copper still pursued

Yuan Ji  6:52

double distillation so everything we’re trying all the samples you have are all as two families that we do have in common so they both use copper stills and it’s double distillation that’s not necessarily the case because wasn’t that Mezcal is often double distillation but they could use different kinds of stills For example, I just came back from Oaxaca and we’re bringing in some new new releases new producers and one of them is only uses clay pots and that’s that’s a hallmark for what they call ancestral mezcal because the more old school now but both everything you have in front of you is copper still

Drew Hendricks 7:34

when I when I first put it there was a lot of smoke on the nose in the glass like the fruits really coming out

Yuan Ji  7:40

yeah yeah at first you know just depends on you know, what you have for lunch how the weather is the experience I guess I’m the same mezcal varies from day to day. And it could be it could come out as strong it is you know, almost 100 proof after all other days is very soft, but I always read but it’s actually all the I think is a very balanced, elegant mezcal. But it may not necessarily come out like that at first. So I just always recommend people coming let’s come back to it at the end after Yeah,

Drew Hendricks 8:19

I’m getting the balance on it it is it is fantastic.

Yuan Ji  8:23

And then you may get some sweetness out of that that’s just the natural sweetness alpha gabbay because you know everything we represent in Erstwhile there it’s really just agave a natural fermentation of water there’s no extra flavoring added as a as a trigger which is a different conversation and that’s just we’re bringing up bacon put sugar for example that’s bacon being slow steamed in the still but it’s still a natural thing right we don’t like artificial flavoring so the sweetness you taste It’s just the natural sugar in the Agave when you slow cook it the sugar comes out the natural ease in the air eats up the sugar creates alcohol but there’s so like the Espadín agave is a very high got a nice sugar yield so oftentimes it was a nice mask how you get you know a good amount of sweetness out of it.

Drew Hendricks 9:17

Yeah I’m getting it’s I mean it’s dry but it has that kind of round. Almost a comforting finish to it. For sure. Yeah, this is this is delicious. Then so in contrast, we’re gonna go into the

Yuan Ji  9:31

Yeah, we can go into the application if you have a fresh, different glass, Drew.

Drew Hendricks 9:35

I’ve got four different ones for you. So you can kind of compare and contrast.

Yuan Ji 9:43

Exactly. So now we are moving on to a producer family. So not Silverio and Epifani anymore. We’ll move on to Juan and Hortensia. The late Juan and and his wife Hortensia.

Drew Hendricks 9:59

is complete. Different. Yep. Very delicate.

Yuan Ji  10:03

Even the nose. Yeah.

Drew Hendricks 10:05

floral, delicate, almost a hair quality coming out. Yeah, absolutely. It’s like an odv that I’m smelling. Yeah, yeah, exactly. This. Ever smell the mezcal like this. This is amazing.

Yuan Ji  10:15

Very unusual. This is definitely the most floral aromatic one in our new

Drew Hendricks 10:19

drink a lot of gropp and o TVs? Oh yeah, this is very similar. I mean, trying to describe it. I would. It almost has a great light quality to it. Yeah. Definitely get the floral. Very, very little smoke compared to the first one.

Yuan Ji  10:38

Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s also lighter. ABV The Espadín is 49% alcohol 48 point something 49 depending on the batch, does Arroqueño is 44 point something so almost like 8089 proof. So it’s about 5% less alcohol.

Drew Hendricks 11:01

Yeah, I mean, neither have been hot. Very, just very, very simple. Now. So this is a wild. So this is from a different strain of agave than what

Yuan Ji  11:09

exactly it’s um, so Espadín is a very common varietal. It’s the most common varietal for agaveuse just to make mess house and when you go to a bar, you know, you can you can feel free to look at the bottle where you go shopping. You know, most of them are settings that it doesn’t mean they are it’s just because it’s a comp, it’s common, and it’s, it’s cultivated, so it’s conducive to farming. Sure. Not most of the wild ones you can cultivate somewhat, most of them are just you know, wild grown. So the file is farmed, and it’s got a great good yield, like sugar yield, I guess fitting those keep the prices down so it’s cheaper to buy the agave and also it’s like it’s cheaper to make it in the sense that you know, you get a nice good yield out of it. Sure. who produces this one? That is the Hernandez family and so if you look at the back of that bottle, the assembly that you ordered, yes, it’s that same family it’s the same Okay, so these two are the same. Three out okay, total.

Drew Hendricks 12:19

Okay, so this is so we got one from Silverio Garcia Louis and then this we’re doing with a satellite, single family, two different varietals,

Yuan Ji  12:27

three different varietals, yesterday’s sample bottles and that bottle you ordered

Drew Hendricks 12:31

awesome.

Alright, Arroqueño, this is

I have to say I resisted the temptation of sneaking a taste. And I’m shocked this is this is this is amazing. This is an eye opener.

Yuan Ji  12:47

Yeah, the Arroqueño that’s also it’s agave it takes a long time and 20-25 years for the agave to mature. So that’s part of the reason why it’s not very common to find 100% out of Arroqueño on the market, just in part because Espadín can always buy a Espadín as farm there’s a good there’s a ready supply. Arroqueño, because it’s wild. And it takes so long. It’s just it depends on if there’s a mature ripe out of Arroqueño that’s available for harvest were for sale on the market, right. So that limits the availability of mezcal made from from out of Arroqueño where any agave that takes so long.

Drew Hendricks 13:31

Okay. That makes sense. So I’m going to compare and contrast so I’m just going to pull in each one of my glasses so I can smell so now this is the this this is Tabala pull up. Let me see what we got going on. Oh, still bright and floral.

Yuan Ji  13:51

I mean, yeah, for sure. This was sweeter though. The Tobalá like Espadín has higher sugar content in the in the in the heart. And you know, after trying these mezcals, if you ever you want to go back to them on your own time, you may like checking out the so part of what I did these last two months was getting video content, like producer interviews that are new releases in the production process. Oh, yeah. But But I we’ve added the videos to each corresponding mezcal page and also producer page. Oh, awesome. I’ve noticed that yeah, it’s very new. I literally just happened. So I just want to point you know, for example, I can share my screen with you Sure. Let’s see. Because it’s I think it’s a helpful you can see my screen. No, yeah. Okay. So for example,

We just you know the new releases we added the available in the market yet but I’m just gonna pull up the total lot the one that you’re you’re we’re on right now so now we added a little tab and production details but this is this video right here on the left that’s a bell so technically this whole ball you’re trying is from a different family but he’s holding on to a lot of agavei that’s the heart of agave right so it’s still I think good reference even though it’s technically not the same producer family even Neil lucky for his or his paper some Hail Mary well did you did you want to see that video okay well yeah I

Drew Hendricks 15:56

did that was great. 

Yuan Ji  15:58

See the Tobalá is small agave some of them are really huge you can they’re you know few 100 they’re heavier than me there are a few 100 pounds to heart but you can see the Tobalá could be the size of a basketball there’s one

Drew Hendricks 16:11

surprised to see them right

Yuan Ji  16:15

that’s a small petite. Gabi and the heart is like you know, it could be this big and it’s a high sugar content so you know, he’s showing you look it’s really right, if so, right. There’s not honey, not like, honey, not like be honey, but it’s like the sugar coming kind of bursting out of the sappiness you can send this chap exactly yeah, man I could

Drew Hendricks 16:37

this is very delicate almost there’s almost a little bit more of a mineral quality to it not sure if that’s what I’m picking up it can love it

alright you said honey I’m getting honey

Yuan Ji 16:54

it is sweeter minutes prettier oftentimes globalize calm has more fruit notes and sweeter because it’s a high sugar content agave okay so just like the personality each guy has his own personality in terms of taste

Drew Hendricks 17:13

I can definitely testify to that having smelling them all side by side and as we move into the Tepeztate Tobalá that’s a separate all of this so this is made by the same Hernandez

Yuan Ji  17:26

yes it’s the same family so this is good because now you have three different examples on Mezcal from the same family

Drew Hendricks 17:33

Yes,

Yuan Ji  17:34

so it’s like a like a controlled experiment. You’re trying three different mezcals The only difference here is the agave everything else is the same same producer same stills same hand of the maker same natural fermentation seemed seemed he seemed to rock Right, well maybe not seem too rough, because you don’t know where that you don’t know where each agave was from. But quintos is a pretty controlled experiment. So anything that’s different for you with this mezcal, it’s a Gabi speaking up because the one you had before is 100% Tobalá. This one is half and a half. It’s one a gotway, that type of Tepeztate a 50% Tobalá, which you just have,

Drew Hendricks 18:15

okay, and what’s the size of the Tepeztate

Yuan Ji  18:18

is it’s gigantic. It’s a huge, it’s a huge thing.

Drew Hendricks 18:34

So a little more herbal character on the left side, not quite, it doesn’t have the same sort of honeyed nuance.

Yuan Ji  18:39

No, for sure. So Tepeztate is very different agave It’s much drier on its own, it’s got some pretty strong personalities like grease, green grassy, grass, maybe bright note stone pairs, so that’s that’s kind of Tepeztate on its own. Okay, with assembly it tones it down. Oftentimes assembly when you put more than two or more different kinds of Asami just means you know, by ensemble, a blend, and any agave will can make an ensemble. So then the question is like what’s in this ensemble? And what percentage if you really want to get a better sense for it? Because let’s say if it’s 90%, one agave and 10%. Another agave, but you can still call it ensemble a, but you’re mostly tasting the 90% or ami, right? But in this case, it’s half and a half. So it’s pretty balanced. Oh, yeah. So you can, you can probably notice that it’s drier, like less sugar less sweeter, less sweet than the 100% Tobalá side by side. It’s because type of stuff is much drier has less sugar than than Tobalá. Okay. But any sweetness you taste in this that’s the Tobalá.

Drew Hendricks 19:53

What a treat this is and these are definitely sipping sipping Yes,

Yuan Ji  20:01

absolutely.

Drew Hendricks 20:02

There’s a lot of really dangerous because you may have, I may have picked my new evening drink. Excellent. Now going back to the first one just because this is strikingly different than these three Absolutely. One more of the smoke now says that they’re aged in natural fermentation and wood but these are neutral wood barrels

Yuan Ji  20:31

they’re just neutral wood barrels they have not been used for something else. They were always used for mezcal and it’s just a bit big big tub Sure. And but different producers will use different kinds of wood and I’m sure that that will make a difference. I can’t tell you how much difference but certainly it makes a difference in the know so

Drew Hendricks 20:54

like this woody this those comes from the actual cooking of the agave where does the woodiness come from this

Yuan Ji  21:02

in which one is fitting or the first one Espadín?

It could be the word but like I feel like it could when you say wood it could just be it could be the agave itself it could be like the smoke the smoke a lot of the smoke is coming from how it’s cooked

Drew Hendricks 21:18

now that’s what I was thinking because this these seem to be cooked a different way because you don’t get that same sort of smoke

Yuan Ji  21:25

yeah they are there Yes. So that’s interesting right because they’re they’re both cooking a stone Have you seen videos where have seen in person the cooking process? lobbies so the stone oven is like a pit in the ground with lined with stones and a just a slow fire there’s a fire you know? What, like a slow burning wood pit oven.

Drew Hendricks 21:50

Sure.

Yuan Ji  21:51

So all these are made with that same kind of oven. Mm hmm. Yes, you noticed yesterday, I think arguably relatively speaking has more smoke than the other three. So that that’s also the hand of the maker coming through because it’s like that’s all use the same kind of oven right? That said like different producers could set up their oven differently. They control the fire differently. When the agave comes out, you cut out like burnt pieces and charred pieces. Like all these little minutia things is each producer does it differently. Okay, yeah, you taste more smoke in this Espadín.

Drew Hendricks 22:32

This is this is more of the traditional what I was thinking when I’m thinking of this video is these are more like an OTV where Yeah, very this smoke is almost imperceptible

Yuan Ji  22:44

Yeah, exactly.

Drew Hendricks 22:46

Right. Amazing. Now I’m just being known is a nice kind of just bopping between the three singing contrasts.

Arroqueño I have to say is the one I keep going back to uh huh it’s just delicate just delicious they’re all that man and then between these two It was interesting to see what the the Tepeztate brought to the table.

Yuan Ji  23:17

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, so those two are good to compare and contrast side by side because the only thing that’s different there’s 50% Tepeztate

Drew Hendricks 23:28

yeah here you get this this sweet honey a little more of that but then you get a little more of a mineral quality like you’re saying the stones uh huh You’re all so delicate Yep.

Yuan Ji 23:45

So I’m sharing my screen you were you were asking what type of Tepeztate earlier so I just pulled up the bottle that you order oh yeah um let’s see I added some videos that’s not this producer family per se but I think it’s a good reference material like here’s a bell talking about what is ensemble and him talking about the total loss I showed you that video when I walk in

Drew Hendricks 24:08

casting the way he did that education right as part of the process

Yuan Ji  24:13

I really care about education and I realized that we were missing video content so that’s why that’s part of why I was in you what was doing I was doing in the past few months. So then we also reorganized our website accordingly but like there’s so this is Tobalá was very close up but you know as a small agave looked like a roset you know wide leaf and then this is a photo of a Tepeztate so this is like about my I’m five eight so it’s like almost like sweat. Just to give you a frame of reference of how tall was plan is

Drew Hendricks 24:49

so much more narrow that you I get most people have a vision of a blue agave with from ILA. They’ve seen that on so many pictures. This looks so much more normal than ancient

Yuan Ji  24:59

Absolutely, and they depend on righto. They each look completely different. So and also, if you take the same varietal, and you put it in different environments, different altitudes, we’re all products of our environment, so they look completely different. So this is one example of a type of Tepeztate. Here’s another type of Tepeztate. It looks like octopus is like slumped over, it’s not upright.

Drew Hendricks 25:23

Oh, yeah. Is that because it’s flowered, and it’s dying, or it’s just kind of?

Yuan Ji  25:30

I’m not sure why it’s like this. I assume it has to do with um, I see this in with trees in my backyard here in Brooklyn. Like, when plants are deprived of sunshine, they will do whatever it takes to get the maximum century. I suspect that’s a big part of what’s going on here. There may be other this is also a slope, you can tell. Oh, but this is like a steep slope. Oh, so it’s kind of growing towards the light. Yeah, it’s growing toward a light. I suspect a huge part of what’s going on here because this is a very shady area. It’s like, covered with brambles.

Drew Hendricks 26:05

Oh, I see. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Pray. Right now. I’m listening to the audio, but the Secret Life of trees. I’m learning a lot about that. But I’m seeing like, maybe it was. It felt the upward growth and it’s kind of bending out. Yeah. Because I have some agave in our backyard. And they’re kind of doing the same thing kind of growth

Yuan Ji  26:23

sideways, going sideways.

Drew Hendricks 26:26

That’s fantastic. And that’s a that was a big that’s a big plan.

Yuan Ji 26:30

It’s a big one. Yeah. So we’re How did you How was your vacation? Did you? Where did you go?

Drew Hendricks 26:39

We I went on a couple I was up in um, we went rafting river, it was a group of musicians and, and chefs, we had a 40 inch paper pan strapped to the back of

Yuan Ji  26:52

the raft, a 40 sorry, a 40 foot wood.

Drew Hendricks 26:55

We had a 40 inch pan a pan strapped to the back of our raft,

Yuan Ji  26:59

pay him

Drew Hendricks 27:01

like like for and they brought vessels and everything in the shell for us every night. And then the musicians would play. So rapid down the road will river in Oregon,

Yuan Ji 27:11

so you would catch your own seafood during from the

Drew Hendricks 27:16

nice chess. But it was fantastic to be why we’re just relaxing. We finished rafting all day and then have the chef’s like be out on the river cooking for us was fantastic. Oh,

Yuan Ji  27:27

that sounds exceptional. And then

Drew Hendricks 27:29

a little. And then they had the wineries that came in and they paired the wines to the to the food. And then the musicians played for us.

Yuan Ji 27:37

Sounds amazing.

Drew Hendricks 27:38

I was not deprived.

Yuan Ji 27:41

The sound like and that’s great. Oh, that’s fantastic.

Drew Hendricks 27:43

And then we hung up I hung out with my parents were my dad and my sister on the Russian River in Sonoma for a week after that.

Yuan Ji  27:51

Sounds really lovely.

Drew Hendricks 27:53

I said sound like all they do is go on vacation, but I cannot complain.

Yuan Ji  28:04

This is how’s that is the Espadín different now that now that you’ve come back to it?

Drew Hendricks 28:09

It is I mean, it’s very balanced. And I like to smoke and as students contrast and we’ll see this in a they’re all sippable for sure. But I see this more as like a mixed. Being able to it would add something a little something different than these two MC to a cocktail.

Yuan Ji  28:25

Yeah, Espadín. It’s great for sipping. I also love cocktails. So Espadín is definitely the one for cocktails.

Drew Hendricks 28:33

Yeah, no, I can see that this one I feel like

Yuan Ji 28:38

you just want to sip it. Mm hmm. Yeah.

Drew Hendricks 28:40

You just man very very good. Poetry so the bacon when he got to tell me so they’re they’re smoking the bacon on top of the scene. Yeah,

Yuan Ji  28:53

you love you. You want to see a video intro a sneak preview of bacon patrika

Drew Hendricks 28:59

absolutely great. gotta see this thing

Yuan Ji 29:05

it’s all we recently started a YouTube channel but it’s also on the YouTube channel but let’s pull it I am making believe it’s so this is from the same family. So just background This is the same family Yes. Behind the Arroqueño the one you ordered and the Tobalá. But it’s it’s the same family at the same time. It’s a new chapter for the family. So when these most calls were made these were Juan Fernandez made these plan very sadly passed away. fall of last year. Oh, now this family is all women run. mezcal distillery is his wife Hortensia. And then his daughters. He’s got three daughters, but there’s one daughter Lydia, who’s actually you know, running running the distillery and that’s Charge. So this Bacon Pechuga The idea was mine but it’s it’s obviously the I’m not the mezcal making brain expert. They are. So this is a, my concept was like, This is gonna be an all women collaboration. So it’s the same family but it’s also just a new chapter for the family and your new producer because Juan is no longer with us. Okay? So it’s just small release. It’s a experiment because I wasn’t sure how it’s gonna turn out. No one has ever made Bacon Pechuga to the best of my knowledge.

Drew Hendricks 30:34

This is all your vision for it.

Yuan Ji  30:37

My vision for is a I love bacon. And I’m constantly thinking about what so just background on Pechuga. Pechuga technically means chicken breast. But in the context of mess cow it’s brought it’s more referring to a technique. It’s specifically it involves paying chicken breast whatever meat you want, suspending in the still, hmm. And it’s being slow steam so you don’t throw it into the mash into the still it’s suspended. Hmm. I’m not a food chemist. But something definitely happens on the molecular level. When you slows theme protein during distillation process, and oftentimes people add fruit to it. So the flavor definitely incorporates the the fruit, the meat. It’s often served that you know, weddings or birthdays or festivities, heroes, it’s a special thing all the time. Not always oftentimes triple distillations was the extra distillation so it’s a little more refined. And so that’s, that’s Pechuga. So you can make a trip out of anything. It doesn’t have to be chicken breasts, right? I’ve had quail Pechuga I’ve had rabbit for Pechuga

Drew Hendricks 31:55

and they’re gonna eat you eat the actual breast. You’re not just you’re not making it to drink something.

Yuan Ji  32:00

Yeah, if you want. It’s just you know, it’s steamed.

Drew Hendricks 32:06

Yeah. But the idea is to get the mezcal to taste like

Yuan Ji  32:10

to add something to the to the mezcal.

Drew Hendricks 32:14

I can Yeah, I can definitely vision bacon. I couldn’t imagine chicken breasts adding much to that to the mezcal though.

Yuan Ji  32:20

It does add something. So I’ve had all kinds of Pechuga. I have put Pechuga ideas because you can make anything you can put your make a Pechuga with anything. Sure. Right. So I’m like, I love bacon. Yeah, no one has ever made a bacon Pechuga to the best of my knowledge. Let’s let’s try it.

Drew Hendricks 32:39

Sounds fantastic.

Yuan Ji  32:44

So let’s see if you can see my screen right? Oh, yeah, I think this is the preview trailer. Guys.

Drew Hendricks 33:51

Thomas has been a speaker around this dinner. And it was speaking at SMS. Yes, Lucas gave a nice summer testing.

Yuan Ji 34:58

That’s our Bacon Pechuga teaser

Drew Hendricks 35:04

man well I’ve been teased that sounds fantastic I see that she was like this is very different than our turkey Pechuga

Yuan Ji 35:12

yeah no typically they make turkey they were they make Pechuga they make turkey definitely it’s much fattier than turkey

Drew Hendricks 35:21

that sounds fantastic yeah I can I’m probably is probably bad but I can envision a bloody mary with the big Pechuga

Yuan Ji  35:31

so great

Drew Hendricks 35:33

you know it’s probably more on the sipping side what what a tree I’ve been going back as you’re watching this between the regular Tobalá and then the the blend in the fruit on this just is starting to sing when you compare and contrast the two but then the grapple like nuances to this one the I forget that they are Arroqueño

Yuan Ji 35:54

yeah can you

Drew Hendricks 35:55

I hate to say I have a favorite but I think they Arroqueño is my favorite but you gotta have a favorite you don’t have an opinion that’s

Yuan Ji 36:04

true. You do need to have a favorite

Drew Hendricks 36:07

I think mostly just because the surprise man so good what so the Pechuga and then so I’ve seen this is 2017 it was

Yuan Ji  36:24

it’s a distilled when it was distilled It was late 2017 by that so now it’s been sitting in glass for four years now

Drew Hendricks 36:32

will continue as long as it’s preserved correctly you’re fine.

Yuan Ji  36:35

Yeah, mezcal doesn’t go bad. I mean I’m sure if you like put it directly under the sun and just leave it there you’ll probably go back nikoli but you know if you just store it in the shade like a normal person it doesn’t go bad.

Drew Hendricks 36:50

That’s great. So you’re in the states for a while now are you heading back

Yuan Ji  36:54

I’m back I may go back later this year. So we have new releases coming pretty exciting line so you know the first model is that everything is just limited so and changing so nothing is coming back so everything you have in front of you that’s that’s it i mean there it’s still available but you know there’s the production size for these is and on the back of each bottle it’s a few 100 bottles per per release. Yeah, right so but these are we’re not bringing these back anymore. So we have a 2021 2021 line coming and it’s it’s all excellent. It’s all really great stuff but no no duplicates.

Drew Hendricks 37:36

Will the um Pachuca bacon be available for the taste of Mexico?

Yuan Ji 37:40

Yes, San Diego.

Drew Hendricks 37:42

Is there one in San Diego or San Francisco? I’m gonna miss the one in San Diego, unfortunately.

Yuan Ji  37:47

Yeah, you told me um that’s a good question. I have a small sample with me. There’s only 300 liters let me bring a sample like if you come obviously I’ll get you the trial but it may and we’re not usually I there’s something sometimes I hide something behind the table or behind a poster. I’m like this is not for public consumption. Appreciate you know,

Drew Hendricks 38:13

that is not not so much. That’s what four key cases.

Yuan Ji  38:18

That’s like a that’s 400 bottles. I was the size.

Drew Hendricks 38:24

Oh yeah. Let’s think about that. For Hitman. You’re doing definitely doing limited production. Yeah, thank you so much for walking through these. Yes,

Yuan Ji  38:33

my

Drew Hendricks 38:36

assistant. Get this. Thank you so much.

Yuan Ji  38:39

Yeah, my pleasure. Thank you.

Drew Hendricks 38:41

What an eye opener Oh, man. But to help promote this, this is fantastic.

Yuan Ji 38:46

Hopefully this has converted you to the joys of Mezcal

Drew Hendricks 38:49

somewhat and oh, I was already converted, but now I’m sold.

Yuan Ji  38:53

Great. Excellent.

Drew Hendricks 38:56

Thank you so much.

Outro 39:03

Thanks for listening to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.