Identical twins Jaimé and Gustavo Muñoz own five restaurants. They present regional Mexican cuisine on international standards, emphasizing authentic ingredients. In 1997, they purchased a small distillery in Santiago Matatlan, an artisan distilling center near Oaxaca city, to create a dependable supply of high-quality mezcal for their restaurants.
In 2004, they hired Hector Vasquez de Abarca in to run the distillery. Hector has developed an inventive mix of traditional methods and intelligent innovations. Knowledgeable persons regard Los Danzantes/Los Nahuales as the finest mezcal in regular production.
Los Nahuales is produced entirely by hand, using authentic artisan methods. Following harvest, fully mature agaves are delivered to the distillery in lots of approximately 1400 lbs (some 90 agaves). They are weighed, cut into smaller pieces, and roasted in a below-gound fire pit using mesquite for fuel. After three days of roasting, the agaves are crushed and juiced using a traditional Egyptian stone mill. The milled solids and the juice are transferred to open-top 300-gallon wood fermentation vats. Fermentation by natural yeast takes one to two weeks. The fermented juices and solids are then distilled twice in small copper pot stills The 1400 lbs of agaves end up – about a month later – as some 900 750ml bottles.
Bottling proof is normally around 44% abv. The joven/blanco is released almost immediately. Aging is in French Nevers oak casks: the reposado for 9-12 months; the very limited anejo for 18-24 months.
Almost all of the Los Nahuales mezcals are distilled from the cultivated agave espadín, the most commonly planted agave in Oaxaca state, The espadín takes some ten to twelve years to mature and, when harvested, weighs up to 160 lbs. The distillery occasionally produces limited bottlings using other agaves: the wild tobala such uncommon varieties as Mexicano (dobadan).