Oaxaca, Mexico – 45%ABV – $113
WARNING & DISCLAIMER – For those who keep, this mezcal is not certified as “Kosher” or “Kosher for Passover” – I am no rabbi but I think, based on their meticulous process and the fact that this Del Maguey Mezcal is made of 100% Wild Mountain Maguey, a type of agave, that this may be “Kosher by Nature”.
Crystal clear Mexican goodness. That is what I am about to review here.
I’ve been a tequila drinker for a good long time now. I never suffered the college-tequila-shot-binging that turns most people off to one of Mexico’s national drinks.
We are, however, not discussing tequila today. We’re discussing Mezcal.
What are the differences?
Spoken in broad terms, most tequilas are made from blue agave (at least the better ones). Sometimes 100% blue agave, sometimes a mix of different agave varietals. Tequila is also twice distilled.
Mezcal is made from Maguey Agave (of which there are many different types) and is usually distilled only once.
The Maguey Tobala (or wild mountain agave) is different than the Maguey Espadin (which has leaves shaped like long swords). It is smaller and broader leafed. It takes about eight Tobala hearts (the part of the plant that gets mashed, liquified and distilled) to equal one heart from the more commonly propagated and cultivated Maguey.
“Yeah but, how does it differ in taste?”
Tequila is known to be sweet and fruity. Mezcal is similar but has an intense smokiness that one might equate to the smokiness of an Islay Scotch whisky like an Ardbeg or Laphroaig. Yeah, they can be that smoky!
On the nose — A tire shop after a recent shipment, burning rubber bouncy balls and smog.
Interesting that the label shows a line of traffic… this sort of smells like that.
Butter and rye seed.
Pulling my nose back a bit from the glass and I’m getting really nice notes of vanilla.
Lying ‘neath those heavy-heavy traffic and rubbery/smoky scents I’m finding mint sprigs, fresh mango (heavily sugared mango, that is) and dandelion flowers.
On the mouth — Fruity and juicy tropical melons, a plastic fire and marjoram (?).
Such a smoky sweet tang to it… amazing really. Cinnamon ribbon candy.
So oily, chewy & ooey… I really can not stress how delicious this stuff is.
Finish — Cinnamon finish, long and really lovely.
In sum — This mezcal is made for those of us who love the peaty/smoky whiskies. Smokiness aside, I find this mezcal to be a true treat.
I drink this on Passover because I can’t drink a grains based spirit but I also drink this on Passover because Passover is a time to celebrate and tonight, I’m celebrating.
To life, to family, to freedom.
Special thanks to Andrew of Liberty Bar in Seattle for introducing me to this gem.