Tell us about the design and layout of the bar
Hardey: Salón Rosario is a combination of a traditional Mexican ‘salón’ and the essence of a Scottish whisky bar. Dark wood, dark blue, touches of gold and art deco details are the foundation of the interior design. We have two main spaces, the Bar and the Lounge, which gives us a lot of flexibility for events. All this is contained within a neo-classical Parisian-style building, considered part of the city’s architectural heritage and located in one of the most classical and popular neighbourhoods, Colonia Roma Norte.
What about the drinks collection?
Hardey: With regard to agave-based spirits, we have our own Gente de Mezcal productions as well as other mezcals (Sotol, Raicilla, Bacanora) from artisan producers across northern regions of the country. We also recently added some artisanal tequilas from the Jalisco valley. As for whiskies, with the idea of offering a wide variety from different regions, distilleries and bottlers, we have our selection of around 65 different single malt bottlings from those that are available on the national market. In the single cask category we of course have our SMWS bottlings and we are looking to expand our gin collection, with bottlings from the Mexican market as well as imports directly from Scotland.
How many SMWS bottlings do you expect to have at any one time?
Katri: We plan to grow our collection slowly but surely. For our launch, we have 12 expressions which span most of the Society’s flavour profiles. During 2022 we plan to at least double this and will aim to always have a selection of around 30 expressions available at any one time.
What does being an SMWS partner bar and branch mean to you?
Hardey: For us the SMWS is a unique, valuable and inspiring concept, it’s also been one of our main points of reference regarding what we want to do with our mezcal company. To be able to represent the Society in Mexico, to be part of the organisation, is a dream that we’ve been pursuing for years, so it feels very special that we’ve finally managed to achieve it.
We’re extremely proud to be the first partner bar in Latin America and we hope that it’s the first of many, across the rest of the continent!
What kind of reaction have you had so far to the SMWS bottlings?
Katri: Although Mexico is a huge international whisky market, it’s dominated by blends. Single cask whiskies are significantly less common, in fact you’d be hard pushed to find one in a regular spirits store or even in a whisky bar. So far, it’s been word of mouth the SMWS in Mexico which we love because the effect is magical!
For those who have been lucky enough to try some of our bottlings so far, we’ve had fantastic reactions. Mexican whisky enthusiasts are excited about what we’ll be offering and are keen to join the SMWS community.
How would you describe the ‘whisky scene’ in general in Mexico?
Hardey: As we mentioned, whisky is a huge industry in Mexico but that’s down to the blends. As a category, it’s second in line after tequila. However, thanks to the combined efforts of large import and distribution companies, enthusiasts and whisky lovers in Mexico, whisky groups and clubs have popped up over the last couple of years through which tastings and pairings are being offered and great information is being shared. Because of this, the horizons and possibilities of single malts, and single casks, in Mexico are expanding.
Also, in addition to finding a greater variety of Scotch whisky, it’s also getting easier to get hold of Irish whiskey, Japanese, French, and even some Mexican whiskies! We hope to be at the centre of this growing market.