Interview With Tanya Clarke, CEO The Lost Explorer Mezcal

Who are the founders of The Lost Explorer Mezcal?

Our co-founders are adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild and entrepreneur Thor Björgólfsson, in partnership with expert Maestro Mezcalero Don Fortino Ramos and his family

Tell us about The Lost Explorer Mezcal, what is it and when did it begin?

The Lost Explorer brand was initially founded by David de Rothschild in 2015 as a lifestyle brand with a mission to develop products that empower people to explore and appreciate the environment without destroying it, foster social good and promote curious living. When the brand first launched, it consisted of a range of wellness products, clothing and a limited small batch mezcal. In fact mezcal was the first ever product created under The Lost Explorer lifestyle umbrella back in 2015, as a one-off, limited small batch. In 2019, it was decided to focus the business purely on mezcal, as a great way to continue the brand’s partnership with Nature by aspiring to produce the most sustainable mezcal possible. So here we are. The Lost Explorer Mezcal was officially launched internationally at the end of 2020, in LA, Mexico City and London.

What is the brand’s ethos?  

Our brand’s ethos is to celebrate the earth and live curiously. We are deeply committed to the sustainable production of high quality hand-crafted mezcal in a manner that not only benefits the local mezcal producing community in Oaxaca and empowers sustainable Mexican enterprise, but that also protects the land’s biodiversity. We hold ourselves to the highest sustainability standards and are constantly striving to raise the bar for ourselves and for the industry at large.

Where is The Lost Explorer Mezcal made and how is it produced?

Have you ever been to Oaxaca in Mexico? About 90% of all mezcal is produced there in the state of Oaxaca. It has a magical wonder and allure, from its culture, people and arts to its food and not least its mezcal. It is in a small village in Oaxaca, amid the arid, sun-soaked Valles Centrales where our mezcal is handcrafted in small batches, by our Maestro Mezcalero Don Fortino Ramos, alongside his daughter Xitlali, their family and team.

The Lost Explorer Mezcal is an artisanal mezcal which means that it is produced with a specific approach, one that honours the traditional artisanal methods practiced for millennia. We have three varietals in our range – Espadín, Tobalá and Salmiana –  all of which are made from 100% agave plants. From seed to sip, our production process is carefully thought-through. Once the agave have reached their full maturity they are harvested by hand, and the piñas (otherwise known as agave hearts) are then roasted in earthen ovens, that are dug in the ground. Ground and macerated, fermented in open-top wooden barrels, the agave is then double-distilled in copper alembic stills, ensuring the mezcal achieves its purest and smoothest expression

One of the many fascinating things about agave plants is that they are a non-annular crop – each species takes a different number of years to grown in the earth before reaching maturity and before they can be harvested to produce mezcal.  It is for this reason that we often talk about how our mezcals are produced in tune with the rhythm of nature and why we choose to celebrate the average number of years these different agave varietals grow for – 8, 10, 12 years – on each of our bottles.

Our mezcals are then presented in custom made glass bottles that have been designed and made in Mexico, from over 50% recycled crystal scraps. They are all hand-labelled and sealed with a natural wood stopper, before being dipped in natural, biodegradable beeswax.

How many people does The Lost Explorer Mezcal employ globally?

Before launching we spent well over a year not only developing our three mezcal varietals, but also building a world class international team and upgrading our production facility in Oaxaca. We currently employ 8 people full time at our palenque (distillery) in Oaxaca, who oversee all elements of our production, and a further 17 people internationally, spanning Mexico, the US, the UK and Europe.

The rest of this editorial will be published at a later date.

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