Tag Archives: Bouncy Balls

Del Maguey Single Village “Tobala” Mezcal

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.

Maguey Tobala (Wild Mountain Variety)
Maguey Espadin, what with the sword-shaped leaves. Do not fall on one of these plants people!

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.

Glenfarclas 25yo – memories in a glass

Highlands region – 43%ABV – $125 | £86 | €100

I’ve mentioned in the past that one of the things that drew me to whisky was not the enigmatic smells; the delicious and complex flavors or what drinking enough of it does to your body and brain.  No, what really pulled me in were the memories and feelings the smell, taste and experience could provide.

Like how smelling lilacs reminds one of the joys of new life in the springtime.  The way the sound and feel of crunching leaves underfoot brings you back to your childhood days when you first discovered the colors and smells of the season – or perhaps the first time you made a scarecrow…

Whisky can bring you back to those good times in your life – times which comfort you or bring a yesterdays’ smile to your face…  What’s more, whisky can put back, in the front of your mind, your memories of discovery and learning and exactly how it all felt.

There are a few whiskies in particular that do this for me:
•    Lagavulin (instant thoughts of a campfire in the mountains with my dad)
•    Ardbeg (a warm California beach at lowtide and a lemonade stand where I made $4.50 which was a lot of money back in 1978)
•    Glenfarclas (Thanksgiving, Sukkot (which is the Jewish/Biblical holiday the US fore-fathers based Thanksgiving around) and perhaps the feeling I get during passover – it’s the warmth of family and the savory/sweet smells in the house.  Just lovely).

I’d never had the Glenfarclas 25 until now.  The 12yo, 15yo, cask strength 105 and the 40yo are all lovey-dovey malts if’n you ask me.  So, I have to expect that this will fall right into place.  I’d like to thank the nice chaps and lasses at Master of Malt for the Sample.  Much appreciated!

On the nose Rubber bouncy-balls and cranberry sauce (tin can and all).

Strawberry preserves, warmed honey and a hint of smoke.

Spicy and loaded with vanilla and wintery baking spices.

A very rounded, supple nose.

On the mouthThe texture is like watered down honey.

Sweet and nutty.

A potpourri of flavors (mainly the contents of a wintry potpourri).

This is like drinking a season…

More bouncy-balls and citrus spice.

Finish Warming, soothing and filled with rum cakes!

In sum There’s something so very comforting about the Glenfarclas whiskies I’ve had and this one did not let me down.  Round, warm and inviting; this is one to sip on while your spacial lady or special man friend is away.  It’s like imbibing a hug.  I will say, however, that the Glenfarclas 15yo is still my favorite.