An ear of corn, a grape, grains of barley/rye/wheat, sugar cane: they all take about 4-8 months to mature, and they are relatively simple. Agaves are large complex plants that take at least 8 and up to 15 years to mature, sometimes more. They grow in difficult climates and terrain, mostly at high altitudes, with long periods without rain. They struggle. No wonder they yield such complex spirits.
The tiny wild masparrillo (agave maximiliana var.). Scarce, and mostly in Durango and Zacatecas
Espadín (agave angustifolia) grown at altitude in thin soils has more complexity and flavor than on the Oaxacan valley floor.
We have to be serious about sustainability.
This is Maximiliana planted for raicilla by distiller/agronomist Benito Salcedo near Mascota in the Sierra Occidental of Jalisco. He currently uses 40% wild, headed for 0%.
Mature agave cupreaia. Agaves yield deep spirits because they take so long to mature (up to 15 years for cupreata). Grapes, fruit, grains, sugar cane are all annuals.