Explore Sotol and Raicilla

Love mezcal and tequila, but want to try something new? These spirits from Mexico are deserving of your attention.
Aug 15, 2017
  • 5
    5 Ocho Cientos Sotol Blanco
    90
    Fruity & Rich
    Sotol is the name of both the spirit and the plant from which it is made within its own denomination of origin in Chihuahua. A cousin to agave, it's a smaller plant with fewer yields, only about 1/4 to that of a typical agave field. It's also more fibrous, which requires it be chopped, not pressed, like agave. At Hacienda de Chihuahua, the Sotol is roasted and steamed, then double-distilled in small, copper stills. The blanco is bottled unaged.
  • 4
    4 La Venenosa Sierra del Tigre (Orange Label)
    92
    Herbal & Earthy
    The crown jewel of the La Venenosa line-up, not a statement of its greatness necessarily, but of its rarity. From the municipality of La Manzanilla de la Paz located in the famous town of Jalisco, this is a single-distilled raicilla made from the wild foraged agave Inaequidens (Bruto).
  • 3
    3 Ocho Cientos Sotol Añejo
    92
    Rich & Sweet
    The name "Ocho Cientos" refers to the earliest known record of Sotol, carbon dated 800 years old. This wild plant, called "Desert Spoon," grows in the Chihuahuan desert, where it matures at least 15 years before harvest. The añejo is double-distilled in small copper pots and aged 15-17 months in ex-George Dickel Tennessee whiskey barrels.
  • 2
    2 La Venenosa Costa Raicilla (Green Label)
    94
    Herbal & Earthy
    When thinking about raicilla, mezcal is usually a good reference point but this something different. Made in Llano Grande in Jalisco, using the agave Rhodacantha, the agave are roasted in an above-ground adobe oven over hot stones. Somewhere between a classic pit for mezcal production and a tequila oven. After that the agave are hand-ground and distilled twice in a wooden-still (made from the Higuera Blanca tree).
  • 1
    1 Sotol Por Siempre
    96
    Earthy & Fruity
    Distilled at a sixth-generation distillery in the Sierra Madre Mountains of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, Por Siempre is distilled from the wild-harvested native desert spoon plant (known in Spanish as "Sotol"). The piñas of the sotol are placed in a volcanic rock-lined pit where they roast for 3-4 days. They are then hand-crushed and open-air fermented for 4-8 days. Distillation occurs in a pot-still fueled by fire for the first distillation and gas for the second. It is distilled to 60-80% ABV and brought down to proof. It rests for 60 days before bottling unfiltered.