Limited-edition, beautifully presented mezcal crafted from rare and wild agave.
What we’re drinking
OAX Original, a line of small-batch mezcal crafted from 12- to 25-year-old foraged agaves.
Where it’s from:
OAX is a new mezcal brand with a decidedly artistic bent, as proven by the rather striking ceramic bottles, which are inspired by both Mexican (pre-Hispanic) and Euro-American Modernist architecture designs, and created by Laura Giraudo and Roberto Bernasconi of the Brooklyn-based Bardo Industries. The bottles also arrived in a silk-screened kraft box.
Why we’re drinking it
Mezcal has a lot of range that goes unexplored. Most of what we drink arrives via agave angustifolia, the espadin variety of agave. The wild agaves here are sourced from the semi-arid, mountainous Central Valley of Oaxaca, and then, according to the brand, “the hearts of the agaves are slow cooked in the ground with oak and mesquite, stone-ground by horse, then wild yeast fermented in pine barrels before being double distilled and bottled on-site in Oaxaca” by third-generation Maestro Mezcalero Enrique Hernandez Zenea. Besides, these might be the most interesting looking bottles we’ve seen in a long time — they’re as much art as they are vessels.
How it tastes
There is a serious breadth of flavor here. All of these are for sipping, and here’s how to do that.
Arroqueño (black bottle, A. americana): Citrus/lemon-y, with a hint of pepper and a spicy minerality on the palate.
Tobalá (white bottle, A. potatorum): Floral and menthol were the two overriding notes here. A bit herbaceous, too, this one was recommended as an aperitif or digestif. The least unique of the three, but outstanding and complex nonetheless.
Tepeztate (pink bottle, A. marmorata): The oldest agave here at 25 years. This one is exceptionally bright with some vegetal notes, a lot of smoke and a fair amount of citrus on the palate and finish. I’d sip on this all day.
Only 900 bottles per varietal have been crafted.