PUTTING SUSTAINABILITY FIRST: THE LOST EXPLORER MEZCAL STORY
Putting sustainability first: The Lost Explorer Mezcal story
February 8, 2022 | Anna Bruce
The Lost Explorer mezcal is produced by Maestro Fortino Ramos, in San Pablo Huixtepec, Oaxaca. A first generation mezcalero, he has been making agave spirits for the past forty years. Now his daughter Xitlali is alongside him, learning the craft and working closely with The Lost Explorer brand. Together they are pursuing specific goals to support local economic growth and gender equality, while combating climate change. The idea of The Lost Explorer began with adventurer, David de Rothschild, of the de Rothschild banking family, as a broad and eclectic selection of “luxury/expensive” items that included mezcal. The products were inspired by treasures he had collected during his time exploring the world. He describes the underlying theme of this collection as “nature and curiosity,” words that are repeated throughout statements about the Lost Explorer mezcal since its launch in 2020. “We embrace curiosity as a fundamental human sense, letting it guide us in our quest to more deeply understand mezcal, the earth and each other.” I first visited Maestro Fortino’s palenque back in 2017, before he began working exclusively with The Lost Explorer mezcal, with whom he is in partnership. It is an open space, framed by luminous fields of maize and distant mountains. There is a high roof that provides two, traditional, pit ovens with shade and shelter, without it trapping too much smoke during cooking. Most of their practice is typical to the artisanal process, but there are efforts to make these processes more sustainable and efficient; commonly practiced examples of these are replanting agave and using a shredder for the cooked agave, rather than a stone mill.