Differences among Tequila, Mezcal and Raicilla

Differences among Tequila, Mezcal and Raicilla

July 15 2011

Surely you’ve wondered about the difference between tequila, mezcal and raicilla at one point; being that the flavors are similar and they come from the same plant family. The truth is there are distinctions between the three. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

One of the main distinctions lies in the processing of the three products and of course, the price:

Tequila must be processed by means of “Agave Tequilana Weber” base, commonly known as Blue Agave. The development is quite industrialized, using only 51% to 60% of the agave to later blend with other liquors. *There are a few exceptions.  You can read more about it in our post Tequila's Brief Story

The word Mezcal derives from nahuatl and literally means “over-cooked agave”. It is developed from three variations of agave: Agave Potatorum, Agave Esperrima Jacobi and Agave Angustifolia Haw. Processing doesn’t begin until the plant has matured (8 to 12 years). What follows is a complete artisan and natural process, without the aid of any chemicals.

Raicilla, otherwise known as “spiritual beverage” shares similar processing methods as mescal and tequila. The big difference is the plant , Agave Inaequidens, an endemic specie to the state of Jalisco. And unlike tequila, raicilla is developed by means of seeds. After the agave hearts have been processed, distilled water is added and left to ferment for a period of 6 to 15 days.

Raicilla, in particular has a strong link to Puerto Vallarta due to the large number of distilleries in the area, and its strong presence in the local market. You can book a tasting tour to one of the many distilleries in located from 40-90 minutes outside Vallarta.