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Sin Gusano Spirit

After a career in finance, Jon Darby took a break to Mexico in 2016. There he was introduced to mezcal, called his boss from the beach, and quit his job. He spent the next three months hiring cars, knocking on doors, and asking around in search of small-batch mezcal to enjoy. When he returned, he thought he’d go to London’s mezcal bars. When he found that was easier said than done, he exploited this gap in the market and turned this passion into his own brand: Sin Gusano.

It means ‘without worm’ in Spanish, a knowing nod to the outdated perception that mezcal is just rough tequila with a worm in the bottle. He would bottle some of the family-made spirits he tasted and leave behind the gimmicks and slick marketing. Darby set up a subscription service called the Mezcal Appreciation Society, which fills the gap of a place where people can engage and get to know the product better. This is not a typical brand, so education is key. Darby also donates 10% of UK profits back to Mexican charities.

The Sin Gusano range is a tremendous example of the terroir that exists with agave-based spirits. It’s all about agave species and regional varieties. Three Espadíns made in three different places taste completely different. So you won’t see two bottles of Sin Gusano that are the same. Or that can be bottled as mezcal often as they’re such small batches that are not from registered distilleries. Don’t underestimate the flavour though, this is a brand that offers a window into an exciting and often inaccessible world.

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