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Marca Negra Sanmartin

May 31, 2024

XBP04-17, Basilio Pacheco. Bottle 744/1600. 49.4% ABV.

A potent anaesthetic. Prominent mint throughout. Creme brûlée (crust and pudding), sourdough, vanilla, black magic marker and chipotle on nose and palate. A Scope-like jalapeño burn cuts midway. Green banana, black pepper, Baker’s chocolate, molasses and some sour funk on the finish. Spicy and delicious. Gracias Maestro Pacheco (RIP).

Koch Espadin Artesanal

Apr 14, 2024

Lot: 18/19. Pedro Hernández. 47% ABV.

This lot has really softened over time. Shared notes of Lemon pie filling, lemon-scented windex, roasted agave, lavender and vanilla on nose and palate. A sharp burn interrupts midway and lingers. Cardamom, black pepper and candied fennel on finish. A nice hit of spice and heat. Newer Koch labels have more info but it’s not clear how many bottles are in this lot or year of production (assume 2019).

Montelobos Espadin

Apr 6, 2024

Bottles VK1219, VK6070. Cuauhtémoc Lopez. 43.2%

Not quite “exquisito” as their label suggests but solid enough. I have two bottles from either end of lot VK. Both share the same notes of roasted agave, lemon, vanilla, acetone, cocoa, green stems and smoke. I generally have a positive view of Montelobos, but I find I spend more time contemplating their branding and positioning than what’s inside their bottle. Otherwise, a good value espadin.

Todos Santos Mezcaleros Tobasiche

Dec 10, 2023

Edition 01. Harvest 2016. Bottle 276/612. 52% ABV.

Like a boozy root beer float — For adults only. Faint adobo sauce, Lemon dish soap, root beer foam (or warm fizzy cola) on the nose. More root beer and cola, caramelized syrup, molasses, raw greens and peppermint on the palate. Carbonated acetone interrupts midway. Salted licorice, moist earth and floral tones on the finish. Rich, dark, and dry. Love Zack’s (Lowney) Eat-More reference.

Koch Mexicano

Nov 6, 2023

MK002/14MEX. Adrian Bautista. 47% ABV.

A tasty mexicano that’s lingered on the shelf. Aromas of sourdough, celery, spoiled fruit and citrus meld into notes of apricot jam, Smarties milk chocolate and mint. A sharp acetone bite interrupts sweet and salty flavours midway. Raw greens, more mint, and dry cocoa on the finish. Not mind-blowing but a few years resting in glass have likely added value to this 2014 batch.

Marca Negra Dobadan

Nov 5, 2023

XA014-17. Alberto Ortíz. Bottle 273/890. 47.9% ABV.

This easy-sipping mexicano (an agave that seems to get less attention than others) has sat on my shelf for some time. Classic notes of roasted agave, ripe banana, grape and spearmint on the nose. Toasted honeycombs, maple syrup, green stems and dark chocolate on the palate. Black pepper, licorice and jalapeño on the finish. Reminds me of the Douglas Fir truffle from Soma Toronto. Dark, acidic, aromatic and delicious.

5 Sentidos Espadilla – Amando Alvarado Alvarez

Sep 1, 2023

ESPAM 04-20, April 2020, 45 Litres. 54/59. 45.74%

Not overly complex at first but over time transforms into a rich and flavourful expression. Beyond the subtle waft of rawhide funk, the nose and palate are interchangeable. Grape cotton candy, stewed plums, sour taffy, black pepper, cloves, cardamom and vanilla suggest a Norsk gløgg for the holidays. A spice bomb of dark fermented fruits. Silky soft. Lingering dry heat and cocoa powder on the finish. What a treat.

Mezonte Tepe

Apr 10, 2023

Batch 009, 2021, 80 Litres. A. shrevei. 51% ABV.

Thanks to Jonny for solving the mystery of Aciano’s clay and copper batches (see updated description); and cheers to the few that have his clay pot. To those that have his copper batch shrevei (a first for me) take your time with it as it continues to improve long after opening. The closest comparable would be Zack’s “mint heat the whole way and quite dry”. The nose and palate are interchangeable with subtle notes of acetone, vanilla bean, pomelo and raw greens. The finish is rich in alkalized cocoa, Smarties shell, chlorophyl Certs, black pepper and rubber sneaker. Note, the taste sticks with you, even the day after. Wild.

5 Sentidos Chino

Jan 2, 2023

CH01-19CA, May 2018, 300 Litres. Bottle 75/163. 46% ABV.

Don’t let this linger on the shelf — shifts to the extreme within months of opening. Early on it was like stepping into a euro-deli with notes of blue cheese funk, strawberry preserves and Juicy Fruit. Now it’s more like a trip to 7-Eleven with cloying notes of sour funk, cream soda, McCormicks Marshmallow Strawberries and red Twizzlers. Almost too funky. Would do this over to get that cheese shop vibe again.

Siete Misterios Coyote

Dec 10, 2022

CY-01/10, 2010. Don Fernando Damián. 526/1238. 48.5% ABV.

A tasty time capsule from 2010, scored in 2020! Like future versions, this batch has prominent aromas of butterscotch, ripe banana, leather funk and aftershave. Tastes like Rum & Butter candy bar, maple syrup, bitter celery, mint toothpaste and black pepper. On the finish, acetone infused cherry Nibs and cloves. The clay pot softens the fusel bite. Was never a fan of Nibs or Rum & Butter but this combo works!

5 Sentidos Jabali – Sergio Juárez Patricio

Oct 23, 2022

JB01-19CA, Oct 2019, 170 Litres. Bottle 101/110. 45.7% ABV.

A gentle spirit compared to Sergio’s beast of a tobaziche. On the nose toasted caramel, egg white foam, lemon dish soap, acetone and spoiled fruit. Has that familiar lactic umami quality that I get from jabali. Other notes: salted caramel, Honeycomb cereal, walnut ganache and bitter almond. Finishes with a sweet and salty burn, cloves and natural latex. Doesn’t come out with a bang but still rocks!

Rey Campero Jabali

Oct 23, 2022

Lot DS018-J, Sept 2020. Bottle 692/871. 48.6% ABV.

Nothing subtle about this batch! On the nose, cantaloupe, Chinese egg tarts and summer sausage. Has a rich, lactic, umami funk that seems common to jabali. Add burnt milk, sourdough, salted taffy, pickle brine and Dutched cocoa. Insight I can’t take credit for: Yeasty (CasaDeGuero); Tamarind (Tzotolline); Jalapeño (Tyler). Fusel burn ends in vanilla extract and raw greens. A seventies time warp. Wood panels and orange carpets.

5 Sentidos Tobaziche – Sergio Juarez

Apr 24, 2022

TB01-19CA, Nov 2018, 100 Litres. Bottle 03/101. 57% ABV.

At 57% this batch from Sergio is a beast, and as Jonny stated: “Uber complex”. Opens with fresh tobacco, cigarette foil, roasted agave and grape Kool-Aid. A touch gamey, perhaps from the two bulls that crushed this (?) The palate is much the same with acetone-infused baked custard, shortbread cookies and liquid menthol. The finish has a lot going on. Sweet, salty, green, slate, gunpowder, fresh inner tube and lingering fungi. Note: 10-day fermentation.

5 Sentidos Tepextate – Atenogenes Garcia

Mar 12, 2022

TP01-19CA, Feb 2019, 38 Litres. Bottle 15/36. 48% ABV.

The imagined odour of mimetic polyalloy (T2), faint pickle brine, citrus fruit and grape cotton candy. Buttery soft palate, Rum and Butter candy bar, maple dipped brussel sprouts and mint toothpaste. Nice burn in the middle that lingers on the palate. Dry green pepper, salty acetone, bittersweet milk chocolate, lychee jelly cup and mildew on the finish. Shape shifts like a T-1000. Amazing end to end.

Cenizo Colonial Temoaya

Jan 16, 2022

Lot 01. Bottle 179. 43% ABV.

Patrick’s review of this bottle is bang on, so my notes are more supplemental. Despite the lower abv this release is full of flavour. Early notes read like a kid’s dispensary: Maltesers, Whoppers, Nestlé Quik in cold milk, marshmallows floating in auto-dispensed hot chocolate — any combo of malt, milk and chocolate. Cocoa dust, raw greens, mildew and cloves on the finish. I’d love a version of this with more bite!

Todos Santos Mezcaleros Arroqueño

Dec 17, 2021

Harvest 2015. Bottle 243/612. 55% ABV.

Todos Santos is one of those bottles where you struggle to capture the nuance and before you know it there is nothing left to explore. As mentioned by others, notes of pink bubble gum are prominent throughout. Less noted: a deep umami base and a siren song of effervescent heat. I had other notes but Pedro’s aged-in-glass heat is where this really shines. If I were to enjoy this again I’d think less (cost value) and feel more.

El Jolgorio Tepeztate

Sep 8, 2021

Edition 21. Harvest 2017. Bottle 525/580. 48% ABV.

This was my first bottle of El Jolgorio and it rocked. On the nose, baked custard, green pepper and aloe vera. On the palate, banana cream pie, rose water and Dutch(ed) cocoa. The finish is sweet and salty with lingering jalapeño, black pepper and floral undertones. My sister-in-law suggested Thrills gum (O-Pee-Chee) which I remember as being both spicy and floral. A lovely aromatic bouquet from Pedro Vasquez Ogarrio.

Marca Negra Tepeztate

Aug 8, 2021

Batch XJM03-19. Bottle 14/230. 50% ABV.

Looks like recent batches, this one included, have improved on earlier expressions. On the nose, ripe fruits, mint and raisin butter tarts. On the palate, caramelized sugar (the brittle top on a crème brûlée) sourdough bread and a drop of white balsamic. The finish has a floral aspect (more like a perfume) with black pepper and a lingering algae funk. Jorge Mendez adds a splash of petrol and fresh inner tube to this tasty brew.

Koch Arroqueno Artesanal

Jul 24, 2021

MK006/17ARR. Adrián Bautista. 46.67% ABV.

This bottle starts out slow but improves over time. Subtle smoke with notes of mint, sourdough and caramel on the nose. On the palate, a generous helping of brown sugar, fried celery and bok choy. The finish is savoury and sweet with a hint of spoiled fruit. Sparse info for this 2017 batch. A delicious and inexpensive arroqueno. Curious how the producer sustains both quality and value for harder to find varietals over time.

5 Sentidos Tobala – Alberto Martinez

Jun 1, 2021

TO01-19CA, Nov 2018, 102 Litres. Bottle 66/82. 50% ABV.

Another winner from 5 Sentidos. Aromas of purple grape soda are prominent alongside ground cloves and cinnamon. The palate is rich in brown sugar, sour plum, black pepper and liquorice. A low menthol burn follows with more purple grape soda and black soil. Note, ground encino de agua bark and potatorum-seemanniana were used to make this batch. A stellar clay pot from Alberto Martinez.

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