San Luis del Rio is a small village in the district of Tlacolula, nestled into the steep hillside
along a deep river valley in the mountains to the east of the Valles Centrales region of Oaxaca.
Intense heat in the region results in early-ripening agave with densely concentrated sugars leading
to the bold, fruity, complex profile of this mezcal. San Luis del Rio is one of the epicenters of
mezcal production and almost exclusively produces Espadín. The tiny distilleries that are spread out
along the river benefit from the shade from tropical fruit-bearing trees and nearby water source.
Above the tree line at higher elevation, conditions are rugged and ideal for the cultivation of
Espadín, with parcels of agaves plantations dotting the mountainside as far as the eye can see. It
is here that Ivan and Paco Méndez uphold the legacy of their late father, Don Rafael Méndez Cruz,
whose contribution to his community was immense, not only as a family man and mezcalero, but as a
proponent of cultural preservation in San Luis del Rio.