A few months ago Dalton Kreiss from Maguey Melate found me. I did not know him and had not heard of Maguey Melate, but then again, new mezcal brands are coming to the U.S. every day so this was not unusual. But as I read what he had to say and looked at their website, I realized there was something different going on here.
Maguey Melate is more of a project than a brand. As I learned, Dalton is working with both certified and uncertified producers to pay them fairly and bring their products to the U.S. in the most cost-effective fashion. For simplicity, I will use the word “mezcal” to describe his offerings throughout this post, but since each batch is uncertified (even if working with a
In case your time is limited (or my post is boring), I wanted to highlight what you are going to get for your dollars:
JOIN THE CLUB RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW.
What do I like about this?
I like a lot of things about it, by here are my highlights:
- Without question, some of the best mezcals I have are not associated with any brand. Every year I go to Oaxaca and bring back 20 bottles or so. Most of these have been sourced directly at palenques outside of Oaxaca – exactly the types of places Maguey Melate is sourcing from (sometimes the same places I have been).
- If these were brought to the U.S. with a brand, they would retail for $100-$200 per 750ml bottle. So Maguey Malate is sourcing beautiful mezcals, and sending you two 375ml bottles (total 750ml if the math is challenging!) for about $100 (shipping is included in the price above). It is a pretty good value and saves you the cost of flying to Oaxaca every month!
- Maguey Melate is paying fair prices to these mezcaleros, developing relationships with their families, and telling their stories with every shipment.
- The mission is to support these mezcaleros and deliver brilliant mezcals you can only otherwise get if you travel to Oaxaca.
I also like that they are working with both certified and uncertified producers. In fact, Dalton tells me more of the producers are certified rather than not. When they work with certified producers, they do not certify that particular batch with the CRM (the mezcal regulatory agency), which keeps the costs down for everybody. However, sometimes certified producers have batches where the chemical composition of the mezcal lies “juuuussst a bit outside” (do you know the reference?) of the limits of the CRM. So perhaps there is a bit too much methanol to be certified, for instance. If the composition strays too far, it certainly evidences itself in the taste, so Maguey Melate will have to choose wisely.
What Commitment Are You Signing Up For If You Subscribe?
This is another thing I like about this club: you are really only signing up for one shipment at a time. Yes, they will take your payment information, but after you receive any shipment, you can cancel within 6 days of that shipment to kill your membership. If you choose to do that, you are out. If you do not cancel, the shipments will keep coming and you will be charged for each one.
How Often Will I Receive A Shipment?
Well obviously, it IS a Mezcal of the Month Club, so you get a shipment every month, right? Oh wait, not exactly. You actually will receive a shipment every two months which will contain two bottles. Why? It is a good idea from Dalton because he saves the shipping cost, which keeps the price down for all of us. And really, you can only drink about one bottle a month….or maybe a day.
What Will the First Shipment Contain?
First up is a Barrill from Antonio Carlos Martínez in the renowned clay-pot still town of Santa Catarina Minas. Antonio is a 4th generation producer, and this batch was a total of only 40 liters made from 12yr old wild barrill (A. Karwinskii if you are scoring at home). Dalton tells me it is “incredibly explosive with flavor”! Can you just send this thirsty blogger one now please???
Second in line (but first in my heart) is a Tepeztate from Luis Enrique & Sergio Juárez from Ejutla. Dalton says it is “a beautiful tepeztate and probably the smoothest 48% spirit” he has ever had. You had me at tepeztate. I love teps and I cannot wait to try this one!
In sum, I have subscribed and I think you should too! If the mezcals turn out to be not so good, I will cancel. I’ve emphatically told Dalton he has to focus on the quality of the juice or this will fail. He fully agrees, and I expect he is going to be bringing us some great mezcals thru this venture. To date, he has visited almost 100 palenques (much respect!) so he is doing his homework and selecting the Maguey Melate mezcals with great care. For me, it is certainly worth the price of entry at $100. Sign up HERE.
Finally, Dalton has not paid me for this write-up or given me any product. I even bought the Signature Box after he offered to send me one for free (I declined). The Signature Box was a great leading indicator of the quality of mezcals he will likely be bringing to us. Now Dalton, in the future, if people join the club because of this post, feel free to give me a month free or something! New York has a high cost of living you know?
All in all, it is a cause worth supporting until proven otherwise. And as always, drink mezcal my friends!
My kids gave me a subscription for my birthday, on the strength of your article, John. I am anxious to dive in.
Let me know if you like it. I am not enthralled with every bottle, but there are more hits than misses. Also, I like to support the small producers, which is what Malate is doing.
Awesome review of this project! Dalton helped gain an understanding of what Mezcal is by lending me your book while we were traveling with him through Costa Rica last March. I too have ordered the signature box and loved it.
Glad my book resonated with you! Let’s hope this project is successful!