La Palabra is a rare small-batch mezcal, carefully hand-crafted and hand-bottled in San Juan del Rio, Oaxaca, as it has been for generations. The brand was created around this family reserve to share the love for this beautiful spirit with the world. La Palabra was conceived by two friends in Mexico City: Luisa Yolanda Jimenez and Scott Crane. Jimenez, a Mexican filmmaker and writer who spent years living and studying in the UK and USA, having just returned home to Mexico. Crane, an American brand and marketing executive (and founder of Up In Arms) having relocated to Mexico City earlier that year. The two bonded over their passion for art, travel, food, music and, most of all, mezcal.
The duo have traveled separately and together for years, to scores of remote mountain villages, in search of mezcal. After one such trip, the two returned to Jimenez's grandmother's house in Oaxaca after a day of tasting nearly a dozen contenders. There in her grandfather's study, the two stumbled upon several beautiful art deco decanters containing mezcal. Naturally, they had to try it. And, as luck would have it, it was the most exquisite, balanced mezcal they had tasted yet. Her grandmother explained that Jimenez's grandfather, who had passed years earlier, would periodically drive into the mountains to visit a childhood friend, play poker, and return with nondescript cans of this mysterious mezcal. He would then transfer the mezcal into these stunning glass decanters. So of course, they also had to find this friend. And they did. High in the sierras, in the village of San Juan del Rio. They drank it again with the mezcalero there at the source. It was just too perfect. High proof, organic, smokey and subtly sweet, but lighter and earthier than any mezcal they had tasted yet. They had to share this. After months of coaxing, they signed the very first written production contract the mezcalero had ever signed. Previously, all his agreements had been in word only, including that with Jimenez’s grandfather. In honor of this rich tradition of good faith, trust and honor, they came to name the brand appropriately, La Palabra.
After making hundreds of limited bottles for friends and colleagues in Mexico and the US, and winning top tasting medals at San Francisco World Spirits and Spirits of Mexico, the two finally decided on a custom bottle design worthy of the mezcal itself – a replica of her grandfather's decanter that started it all. The two established Grupo Jimenez Crane to export La Palabra from Mexico to the world and quickly gained interest from some of the world's top chefs, bartenders, and sommeliers.
Currently, La Palabra is found in the recipes of internationally celebrated chef Iñake Aizpitarte at Chateaubriand in Paris, whose sommelier Sebastien Chatillon is now the official brand ambassador and importer for the brand in Europe. Up In Arms are building upon this momentum with a series of pop-up mezcalerias and private tasting dinners throughout Summer and Fall 2014 in Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Denver.