Flor de Luna
When our spirits manager Tom Richter sat down to taste this spirit in Oaxaca, he wasn’t completely prepared for the experience he was about to have. Hillhamn Salome, the visionary behind this liqueur, does not come from a long line of distillers or growers the way most of our producers do. Tom quickly realized that what she lacks in “pedigree” as a producer, she makes up for with passion, grit and raw talent. He was surprised by the balanced Ancho spice nectar put in front of him, and he knew we had to bring this profound spirit to the US market.
Honestly, we think it’s best to let Hillhamn tell her own story:
“My story began exactly 3 years ago, on a hot summer day while I was walking down 12th street and Broadway when I entered a local bookstore and came across a book that popped out amongst the others. This book was called Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits by Andrew Schloss. When I returned home from my trip I began doing my infusions according to the book. I noticed that you have to treat each ingredient with great care and respect because each one has different properties that you want in your infusion. After almost one month of doing all sorts of trials, I discovered that the book had no infusions or recipes for mezcal. Being from Mexico, mezcal has become a huge part of our culture, so with the little knowledge I had compiled, I created my own recipe for my mezcal infusion.
A few months later, as I continued to develop my recipe, I came across a professor that taught me the basic principles of distillation and fermentation. But what I learnt from him was only the tip of the biggest iceberg... my excitement kicked in and I searched weeks and weeks for what I now call my bible: A Treatise On The Manufacture And Distillation of Alcoholic Liquors by Pierre Duplais. This book contains infinite recipes from essential oils, to syrups, to hundreds of lost recipes for liqueurs. While reading this book, it became my duty to create a liqueur worthy of being remembered for centuries, such as the ones that appeared on my book. Everything I know as of today is self-taught and has come from this book. So after 1 year of making and unmaking, I finally came to my final recipe for what is yet to become one of the most incredible, exotic and different liqueurs ever shown to men. Xila, which is what we decided to call it, is an elixir carefully crafted that perfectly combines 7 notes. You are struck with the aromas of flowers and spices that lead you to the sweetness of the caramelized pineapple and finally end with the chile ancho as the base. Xila won a gold medal in 2016 at the SIP Awards, and that is when I decided to leave my creation as it is. As my journey continued, I came across many obstacles, of all kinds. The biggest one being my age and my gender. I was not taken serious because of my age and especially because I am a woman. Many doors were closed to me because of these reasons, so I decided to fight back and founded my company on the basis of always supporting women in this industry. From my production to my brand ambassadors, my team is made up mostly by women, giving each and one of them an important part in my company.”