Premium Mezcal Agua Mágica Unveils Single-Session “Agüita” Bottle And Holiday Cabinet Of Curiosities Stocked With Artisanal Mexican Objects
Still on the hunt for last-minute gifts this holiday season? For lovers of fine mezcal, the spirit’s heritage and connection to its origins are just as meaningful considerations as the boozy liquid itself. Not only is single-origin, premium mezcal Agua Mágica acclaimed for its ultra-smooth taste and complex flavor profile. But with an unwavering commitment to preserving ancestral production techniques and parallel focus on promoting Mexican artisanal exports as a whole, the brand’s mission is far more profound than its mass-produced counterparts.
A SINGLE-ORIGIN MEZCAL DISTILLED WITH PURPOSE
As mezcal soars in popularity among discerning imbibers the world over, Agua Mágica founder Rafa Shin is determined to preserve the age-old traditions that should arguably exalt this smoky Mexican elixir to sacred status. Shin, who was born in Seoul and raised in Mexico City, collaborates exclusively with multigenerational mezcaleros in San Juan del Río, Oaxaca, a town with only about 1,500 mainly Zapotec inhabitants. It’s a rural corridor of the southern Mexican state that’s long been blessed with the holy trinity of natural resources for a mezcal-producing terroir: pristine river water, adequate altitude, and mineral-rich soil. Here, the two agave species that create Agua Mágica’s proprietary ensamble (blend)—Espadín and Tobalá—are cultivated. Under the stewardship of maestro mezcalero don Rogelio, the agave is cooked and fermented according to ancestral techniques, then distilled into a superior blend that boasts herbaceous notes and hints of sweet smoke, tropical fruit, and warm caramel.
According to Shin, mezcal is at a pivotal crossroads: It could either be perceived as an industrialized commodity that will eventually undercut its produces, or a fine spirit with the same terroir nuances as fine wine. With his attentive drive to incentivize high-quality production and a fairer distribution of profits for producers, the founder hopes that, in a decade, Oaxaca will look a lot more like Burgundy than of Jalisco, the heartland of tequila. “This situation directly impacts the industry, its people, the ancestral production techniques, and the land in Oaxaca,” says Shin. “Our mission is to make our contribution to turning mezcal into a fine spirit and make sure it gets the respect it deserves.”
THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: GIFTS BRIMMING WITH AUTHENTICITY
Spotlighting other Mexican artisanal crafts and traditions is a natural extension for Agua Mágica, who frequently partners with up-and-coming artists, indigenous makers, and innovative creators to promote their shared culture.
In addition to recently releasing a smaller “single-session” version of the standard full-size 750ml bottle—Agüita Mágica—to encourage intimate sipping occasions, the brand has carefully curated a “Cabinet of Curiosities” stocked with crafty “otherworldly” objects that represent Mexico’s rich artisanal heritage—just in time for the holidays. Perusing the gift shop is half the fun: the micro-site mimics a virtual card game of lotería—also known as Mexican bingo—which is played during the Christmas tradition of Las Posadas. The more cards you collect, the closer you get to winning and shouting “lotería!”
Called Agüita Mágica, the new 200ml bottle contains four servings of the signature ensamble. For the December 2022 launch, the brand teamed up with celebrated lifestyle and fashion photographer Enrique Leyva on a stunning visual campaign featuring the diverse faces of Oaxaca’s creative set. Hailing from Oaxaca himself, Leyva has received fervent acclaimed for his poignant captures of his country’s wild landscapes, its intricate textures and vibrant colors, as well as evocative portraits of Oaxacan people. For the unveiling of Agüita Mágica, the collaboration spotlit a diverse coterie of talent from the region, including Zapotec model Axayacatl Cruz, Afro-Mexican drag performer Venus, muxe model Victoria Lopez Ramirez, and make up artist Israel Quiroz.
The release was also accompanied by a trio of vivid custom illustrations from Colombian artist Miguel Cardenas, each depicting boisterous scenarios that call for a bottle Agüita Mágica. The multidisciplinary artist and professor is best known for his abstract allusions to prehistoric totems, pre-Columbian art, and European modernism.
“We hope that the launch of Agüita—which is a colloquial way of saying ‘little water’ in Spanish—will help create new sipping occasions for mezcal,” adds Shin. “Agüita is comparable to the experience of ordering a carafe of sake at a Japanese restaurant, or sharing a bottle of wine. It’s also a great portable size for gift-giving and spontaneous gatherings.”
AGUA MÁGICA X TOMBOLO CAPSULE CABANA SET
Agua Mágica also tapped Cardenas’ talents to design a limited edition capsule with leisurewear brand Tombolo. The three-piece collaborative collection features a terry cloth cabana button-down shirt and shorts, as well as a bucket hat. Stitched on the shirt in contrasting threads is the artist’s interpretation of a mythical creature swilling the divine nectar of an agave plant. (The scene appears above dual front pockets, each large enough to stash Agüita Mágica for sipping on the go.) On the shorts appears the Agua Mágica logo. Adorning each garment is artisanal trimming that pays homage to the hand embroidery for which Oaxaca is famous. “Our discovery of Agua Mágica was love at first copita,” declares Tombolo co-founder Mike Sard. “From the iconography to the story to the flavor, Agua Mágica is sublime in all its smoky splendor. We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to bottle this essence up in a clothing capsule, and we can’t wait to wear the result – and cheers (a few too many times) to its success.”
EL GIFT BOX CHICO
Retailing at $145, Agua Mágica’s first-ever “El Gift Box Chico” is the perfect introduction to both the mezcal and the brand’s ethos. Stored inside a hand-crafted solid wood box are three unique talismans that will become integral parts of your mezcal-sipping ritual. In addition to one bottle of Agüita Mágica, El Gift Box Chico includes a handmade candle from legendary chandler Doña Viviana. Popular at celebrations and ceremonies for their ethereal and ornate designs, the intricately fashioned beeswax candles are handcrafted in the village of Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca by legendary chandler Doña Viviana. Completing the gift box are a set of two marble copitas from Arturo Dib, the ideal vessel for sipping mezcal neat. (Each product is also sold separately Agua Mágica’s website.)
Learn more about about Agua Mágica and the limited edition Cabinet of Curiosities at aguamagica.com
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