By Tim Chan
El Silencio is inviting guests to the Oaxacan highlands for an all-night party fueled by creativity, freedom of expression and yes, some good mezcal too
What happens when you drink mezcal? The answer, it appears, depends on what you’re drinking — and who you’re drinking with.
Long known as one of the national drinks of Mexico, mezcal is having a moment in this part of the Americas too, with both cocktail bars and casual cocktail carts alike stocking up on the agave-based spirit. Among the leaders of this new mezcal movement is El Silencio, a Oaxaca-based brand reshaping the way the traditional spirit is enjoyed — and experienced.
While the brand is best-known for its bold Espadín expression (in a matching bold black bottle, natch), El Silencio has branched out in recent years to curate entire experiences for its customers and fans, opening an intimate, six-room luxury hotel last summer on the site of their distillery outside of Oaxaca, and then welcoming guests to the property in November for a dazzling all-night party to ring in the new space (and perhaps, to celebrate the easing of Covid restrictions in Mexico too).
For founders Vicente Cisneros and Fausto Zapata, both the hotel and event (dubbed “Umbra,” after a word used to describe shadows in the dark) are part of their original vision to make El Silencio a brand that celebrates and amplifies culture, both in its local Mexican community and around the world.
This fall, Umbra returns for a second installation, with a 12-hour immersive art and music event once again taking place on the storied grounds of Casa Silencio. Tentatively set for November, the event will feature artists, dancers, and musicians spread out across the 16-acre property, as guests move around and explore at their leisure. Interactive performances (think magicians and immersive theatrics) will punctuate the night. At the same time, a roster of classical instrumentalists and world-renowned DJs promise to keep the party going well into the morning hours.
Of course, this being El Silencio, expect the mezcal to be free-flowing and plentiful; the brand is also bringing in top chefs from across Mexico to curate a series of small dishes and culinary sets to keep guests well-fed.
The entire event is set against the backdrop of the so-called “Valley of Silence,” a sweeping and picturesque perch of rolling hills and agave fields, which will also serve as a natural canvas for a larger-than-life light show and late-night fireworks.