Lamata (formerly Amormata) is the export arm of Nación de las Verdes Matas, an independent bottler of uncertified mezcales from remote communities across Northern Mexico. The goal of the project is to preserve the “gusto historico”—the liquid culture, terroir and history—unchanged; to ensure the producers receive an equitable share of the profits; and to educate and broaden the horizons of mezcal consumers by sharing these beautiful spirits. In order to protect these natural resources from being over exploited, and to keep small scale production methods intact, typical lots range from 40 liters to 200; US releases are extremely limited.
In the cold mountains of Santiago, a few hours outside Monterrey in the state of Nuevo León, maestro mezcalero Jorge Torres distills one of the most idiosyncratic mezcales you’ll ever try. Due to the colder climate, Jorge uses a large amount of pulque—the milky white “wine” made from the sap or nectar of the agave—instead of water to ferment the roasted agave for his spirit.
The final mix is only about 40% agave fiber to about 60% pulque. Known as De Castilla, the dominant local agave is a sub-varietal of Agave americana, a species well known in Oaxaca by names like Arroqueño and Pulquero (due to its common use in pulque production).
The cooked agave is hand mashed in a small, rock-lined pit with a wooden mallet similar to a mortar & pestle, before being distilled twice on a traditional copper pot still.
The resulting spirit is a truly anomalous mezcal experience: soft and rich, velvety and peppery, with notes of maiz and just a hint of lactose. Endlessly fascinating.