For most of the "civilized" world it seems like an outdated idea to continue distilling with archaic utensils such as a hollow tree trunk or Claypot. Nowadays there is much more precise, efficient, resilient stills like Copper, stainless still, to name a few.
One (if not the most) important reason why people keep using this ancient technique would be that it tastes amazing!!. The interaction between the fermented juice being cooked with the carved tree trunk makes up for a one of a kind profile (a complex recipe if you will). Nevertheless producers are well aware that their trunk stills have a brief life span and that the system itself provides a low yield.
A brief conclusion would be that Maestros Taberneros ( Producers of traditional Agave spirits in Jalisco) are strongly rooted to their environment and see no logic or reason in implementing a different way to distill, erasing a priceless cultural heritage in doing so.
As far as we know, there are two types of trees that are used in the distillation of Agave spirits in Jalisco:
- Higuera Blanca (Ficus insipida)
It grows to be a massive tree that provides a cool environment under the shadow it provides. The stills are cut from the lager limbs of the tree. La Venenosa Costa Norte is made with this type of tree trunk.
- Bonete ( Jacaratia Mexicana) Is made of a slimmer type of tree that only grows up in the pacific side of Mexico. Makes for a smaller still and print a different taste profile. Bonete produces a fruit that takes a long time to mature (around six months). Has similar looks to a Papaya and is often enjoyed by bats and other groovy jungle animals.
Joaquin Solis produces a hell of a Raicilla with Bonete.
(only available in US).
This tropical trees are found near the pacific coast of Mexico (Bonete) as well o in the Caribbean and in central America all the way into the Amazonas in the case of Higuera blanca.
Shoutout to Mezonte for providing some of this Photos
Also To La Venenosa Raicilla for letting us help co-organize the European Industry trip in Jalisco!
🗣Shoutout to Mezonte for providing some of this Photos and for their groovie education platform.
🗣Also to La Venenosa Raicilla for letting us help co-organize the European Industry trip in Jalisco this crazy 2020!