Though the variety of Agave angustifolia commonly known as Espadín is now widespread in Oaxaca, it is not actually native to the region. Some claim that Espadín began to appear in Oaxaca as early as the 1930’s, but most reference date its arrival several decades later when government programs and Matatlán based business interests began to promote its cultivation. Because Espadín yields well, reproduces easily, and matures quickly, it is prized as a cash crop and is planted widely throughout the state. Maestro Mezcalaro Candido Garcia Cruz works with quiotudo agaves, meaning he cuts each plant’s quiote before it has a chance to flower. This method concentrates the agave’s sugar in the piña, increases yield, and develops a richness of flavor not found in less mature agave. In October 2018, Candido and family selected around 90 of their ripest Espadín piñas for the crafting of this 800-liter batch. Like most of Candido’s cultivated maguey, these Espadín grew alongside seasonal plantings of corn, black beans, and squash in a mineral-rich, red and rocky soil known in Oaxaca as cascajo rojo. Under careful management, well-maintained maguey in this type of earth mature at a faster rate than their counterparts, and generally grow large with high sugar contents. Candido remembers when the first Espadín plantlets began to arrive in the region in the early 1980s. While this maguey may not be endemic to the region, its relatively quick maturation time, ease of reproduction, and high yield has made it a favorite of growers and distillers in Miahuatlán. However, with little regulation and control on a state or federal level, the region has been left with very few organically grown and mature Espadín plants, making a batch of this size and quality something of a rarity these days. It is a treat to be able to offer an Espadín as such, full of Candido’s distinctive touch.