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(M) Las Perlas de Jalisco - Raicilla de Costa

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Las Perlas, a raicilla de costa, is distilled by 5th-generation raicillero Santiago Diaz Ramos from agaves angustifolia and rhodacantha harvested wild and semi-wild in the lush hills near the pueblo of Las Guásimos, above the Pacific coast south of Puerta Vallarta. Santiago uses a cylindrical below-ground masonry oven sealed with clay and introduces water during the second day to add steam to the roasting process. Wood canoas and magos (locally, pitelas) are used for a good part of the milling; a slow 3-week fermentation is by wild yeasts in a large rectangular vat. First distillation is in a 400-liter potstill; the second is in a Filipino still whose bottom chamber is a clay-enclosed copper pot and whose top chamber is a hollowed-out bole of a white fig tree. Each batch is 5-6 metric tons of agaves, resulting in about 660 bottles