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Vago Espadin – Joel Barriga

Vago Espadin from Joel Barriga was originally released in late 2016 as a way to allow Aquilino to focus more on his Mezcal Elote and work with other agaves.

Rating: (13 reviews)
Cost:$$
Brand:Vago Mezcal
NOM:NOM-O188X
Mezcalero:Joel Barriga
Maguey:Espadin
Agave:Angustifolia
Grind:Tahona
Distillation:Copper
Style:Joven
State:Oaxaca
Town:Hacienda Tapanala
ABV: 50%
Website: https://www.mezcalvago.com/, opens in new window
About this mezcal

Vago Espadin from mezcalero Joel Barriga is produced in Hacienda Tapanala, Oaxaca. Joel is Aquilino’s cousin and his family has also been making mezcal for many generations. Aquilino worked with Joel for several months to ensure that Joel’s mezcal Espadin would be similar to his own. His agaves are crushed by tahona and double distilled in copper. This is now a regular Vago release.

Vago Mezcal

Mezcal Vago began when co-founder Judah Kuper visited a hospital in Oaxaca, Mexico. He fell in love with the nurse who treated him. Her father, Aquilino Garcia, was a sustenance farmer who also produced mezcal. Judah and Aquilino, along with Judah's longtime friend Dylan Sloan, launched Mezcal Vago. In 2013, their first exported bottles arrived in Texas. Each of their mezcals is produced naturally in a traditional palenque with no additives. The brand aims to empower both the master craftsmen with a celebration of his art. Also the consumer by giving them the knowledge they need to find a great mezcal. The brand plants 3 agaves for each single agave they harvest. Their goal is to end the use wild agave by 2025 for most of their releases.

In 2017, Mezcal Vago began using different color labels for their different mezcaleros. Emigdio Jarquin (blue label) distills in copper with refrescador. Aquilino and Joel Barriga (tan and gold labels respectively) distill in copper. Tio Rey (red label) distills in clay pots. All their mezcaleros use different water sources and make different distillation cuts. In 2018, Mezcal Vago established an investment partnership with Samson and Surrey. With the new partnership, each Mezcal Vago mezcalero has a stake in Samson and Surrey.

Learn more Mezcal Vago:

13 reviews

4.12 out of 5


Nickwrobison

Nickwrobison

6 reviews
Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars1 week ago

Lot J-13-E-19, Jan 2020
Slightly on the greener/herbal side for an espadín. Dry, limestone notes.

Zack Klamn

Zack Klamn

102 reviews
Rated 5 out of 5 stars2 months ago

LOT J-10-E-19
Nose: Sugary sweet and a hint of sea salt. Red nail polish.

Palate: Chocolate mint. Cigar ash. Great peppermint heat for a near 51% ABV – nailed it. Finish is salty, earthy and warm in the tummy.

One of my favorite espadins!

MezPal20

MezPal20

2 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars4 months ago

Production date: May 2019
Batch size: 988 liters
I found the nose to be inviting with a funky sweetness to it like queso blanco in whey with sweet anisette. There’s also a vegetal note reminiscent of the leaves of a pepper plant. On the tongue it’s sweet, clean agave, some heat from the relatively high ABV (50.8%) and quite peppery with a touch of woodsmoke. It has a nice viscous mouthfeel but is relatively light bodied. The finish is caramelized cane sugar, soft lingering charcoal, and slightly damp slate. Very interesting and satisfying.

Production date: May 2019
Batch size: 988 liters
I found the nose to be inviting with a funky sweetness to it like queso blanco in whey with sweet anisette. There’s also a vegetal note reminiscent of the leaves of a pepper plant. On the tongue it’s sweet, clean agave, some heat from the relatively high ABV (50.8%) and quite peppery with a touch of woodsmoke. It has a nice viscous mouthfeel but is relatively light bodied. The finish is caramelized cane sugar, soft lingering charcoal, and slig

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Rakhal

Rakhal

284 reviews
Rated 3 out of 5 stars5 months ago

Lot J-12-E-19. Candy corns, wet dog, spearmint, vanilla, gun metal. A pretty good Espadin but my least favorite of the tasting.

James

James

5 reviews
Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars6 months ago

Joel Barriga, 49.9%, 1001L Batch, Nov 2019, LOT J-11-E-19

Reminds me a lot of tequila. Salty, mineral, coffee, agave, pine, something of a viscosity and sweetness to it. A little hot. Good bottle, would love to try another batch at some point, and to explore Vago’s offerings generally.

donpedro

donpedro

37 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars7 months ago

September 2019, 748 L, 49.9% ABV

The nose is a bit reclusive, with moments of ocean breeze and sweet roasted agave and fruit. Spicy and bright on the palate with nice sweetness. Some mint and anise, but minimal. A bit hot, but not overwhelmingly so. Great roasted agave and saltwater taffy finish. A really solid bottle of espadín.

Eric_M

Eric_M

7 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars2 years ago

The bottle I have right now is by Joel Barriga in May of 2019. I absolutely love this espadin. It has a rich, dark, and fruity flavor to it that reminds me of a fruit-forward dark roast coffee. I have also had Aquilino’s espadin and although different, I’m a big fan of his as well. I’d like to get a bottle of Emigdio’s and Tio’s en barro espadin to try them all since they all seem to produce such great mezcals at an affordable price.

Edit: I was able to pick up a bottle of Emigdio’s espadin recently. I’m extremely impressed. Definitely a bit different. It has more of an herbal/vegetal taste than Joel Barriga’s. The mouthfeel is noticeable viscous as well. Tons of flavor. You definitely can’t get much better than this for the price if at all.

The bottle I have right now is by Joel Barriga in May of 2019. I absolutely love this espadin. It has a rich, dark, and fruity flavor to it that reminds me of a fruit-forward dark roast coffee. I have also had Aquilino’s espadin and although different, I’m a big fan of his as well. I’d like to get a bottle of Emigdio’s and Tio’s en barro espadin to try them all since they all seem to produce such great mezcals at an affordable price.
Edit: I was able to pick up a b

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Spirit_Chaser

Spirit_Chaser

20 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Joel Barriga, Oct 2018, 49.4%abv

The nose keeps switching back and forth between butterscotch and cheesy jalapenos (jalapeno poppers). The taste is buttery and green…jalapeno peppers, roasted agave, slight wintergreen mint, backed with some big caramel sweetness. The finish very vegetal but dipped in raw honey and sprinkled with black pepper. A bit hot like most Vagos but I expect it to round out a bit as the bottle volume continues to go down. Great espadin as to be expected from a Vago.

Edit: Recently grabbed a bottle from Emigdio Jarquin (7/2018) and it is a bit different yet just as high quality. Less butterscotch/caramel, more vegetal/fruity. Highly recommended and you can’t do better for the price, imo.

Joel Barriga, Oct 2018, 49.4%abv
The nose keeps switching back and forth between butterscotch and cheesy jalapenos (jalapeno poppers). The taste is buttery and green…jalapeno peppers, roasted agave, slight wintergreen mint, backed with some big caramel sweetness. The finish very vegetal but dipped in raw honey and sprinkled with black pepper. A bit hot like most Vagos but I expect it to round out a bit as the bottle volume continues to go down. Great espadin as to be expected from a Va

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hoboman

hoboman

3 reviews
Rated 5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Joel Barriga, 50.7% ABV, May 2017

First mezcal I ever tried, and still the best. Sharp, crisp smoky flavors, agave forward, almost no alcohol heat despite the higher proof. I can’t quite pick out individual flavors in mezcal the way I can tequila or sotol, but this is still very, very good.

pallzley

pallzley

16 reviews
Rated 5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Joel Barriga, July 2018, 50.5% abv. Great for the money as usual with Vago.
Bold as usual, Vago and flavors galore. If I were to try and compare this to a tequila, it’d be Fortaleza’s blanco. But with big mezcal flavor of course. At first opening this, I found the flint and bitter aftertaste to be a bit rough. After a few days and pours later (more than 3/4 bottle remaining), it has balanced wonderfully.

Nose of cooked oily agave and flint and mossy flor. A bright hint of wood. Texture is medium. Dry mouthfeel. Medium-heavy body. Immediately taste a sweet and acidic rainwater on flint – but not quite metallic yet. Piney big agave. Minerality. Medium-long aftertaste that chases and tapers from flint, to wood, to rainwater. 4.5/5 with price ($50) and availability considered.

Joel Barriga, July 2018, 50.5% abv. Great for the money as usual with Vago.
Bold as usual, Vago and flavors galore. If I were to try and compare this to a tequila, it’d be Fortaleza’s blanco. But with big mezcal flavor of course. At first opening this, I found the flint and bitter aftertaste to be a bit rough. After a few days and pours later (more than 3/4 bottle remaining), it has balanced wonderfully.
Nose of cooked oily agave and flint and mossy flor. A bright hint of wood. Textu

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Nic Hnastchenko

Nic Hnastchenko

108 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars2 years ago

From Mezcal Masterclass – Espadin at Todos Santos.

Joel Barriga – Really solid for an espadin, was going for something fruity and this fit the bill.

TheAgaveFairy

TheAgaveFairy

137 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars3 years ago

Joel Barriga 50.87%, 662L batch, from Dec. 2017 LOT J-09-E-17

Vegetal! Green! Surprisingly silky and sweet, huge vegetal notes and some florality emerge with scant peppery notes riding on top of the dark smoke adding liveliness. Some of that ‘hot rain on cement’, but overall just nice green espadin. Grape leaf, poblano.

Jonny

Jonny

497 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars4 years ago

After tasting Aquilino’s mezcal Espadin for years, I was a bit hesitant to try the new release from Joel Barriga. Out of all of the Vago releases, the straight Espadin was my least favorite. I’d always opt for the Elote or one of the agave silvestre over the Espadin. Overall, I would give the Aquilino Espadin 3 stars, as it was a bit overbearing and harsh. The burn of that mezcal didn’t really pay off like the other Vago mezcals I’d tried. The Joel Barriga release, however, is quite a bit different. It still has the heat (50.4% ABV) that is a signature in all Vago mezcals, but there seems to be more of a payout in his release. It’s much richer and fruit-forward. The body is semi-viscous with notes of apple, anise, flint, mango, and pepper. The nose is clean and lacks the strong aromas that are present in most other mezcal that is this high ABV. If you see the Joel Barriga Vago Espadin, I highly recommend it. I tasted Lot: J-E-01-16.

After tasting Aquilino’s mezcal Espadin for years, I was a bit hesitant to try the new release from Joel Barriga. Out of all of the Vago releases, the straight Espadin was my least favorite. I’d always opt for the Elote or one of the agave silvestre over the Espadin. Overall, I would give the Aquilino Espadin 3 stars, as it was a bit overbearing and harsh. The burn of that mezcal didn’t really pay off like the other Vago mezcals I’d tried. The Joel Barriga release, however, is quite a bi

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