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Jonathan Lockwood
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I’m Jonathan Lockwood. I fell madly in love with artesanal mezcal almost immediately after moving to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in 2014. Now I'm the creator of the mezcal related Substack "Mezcal Maniac." https://mezcalmaniac.substack.com/
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Vago Jabali / Espadin – Hijos de Aquilino Garcia

Jul 30, 2022

I’ve had this twice so far at our beloved mezcal bar here in San Miguel de Allende, “The Room.” Lest you think this Jabali has been somewhat weakened by the Espadín, I’ll share my opinion that it hasn’t. Just as beautifully elegant as Jabalí can be! I took pictures from every angle–front and back–but find no date of production or batch number. I can only say we’ve enjoyed it in the month of July, 2022 and that they made only 295 liters in this batch. It’s positively magnificent! With as few bottles as they produced, if you see it…GRAB IT!

Origen Raiz Cenizo

Jun 9, 2022

I’ll try to do better with the batch numbers and production dates in the future. For now, I can just say I had this at a mezcal bar called The Room in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in March of 2022.

It may be unfair, but I’m addicted to the flavors of Oaxacan mezcal, while also appreciating distillations from the other southern states. Here in central Mexico, it’s not easy to find an excellent Salmiana. So what I’m trying to say is that (outside of sotol) I’m not disposed to like most distillations from the northern states. But I liked this one.

I found this nice and complex with plenty of earth notes. I’m vacillating between 3.5 and 4. Screw it: I’ll give it a 4.

Vago Elote – Hijos de Aquilino Garcia

Jun 9, 2022

My photo of the bottle, which we sipped in January 2022 indicates it’s the “hijos,” that it’s 49.7% and there were 822 liters made. As one who gets his mezcal straight from the palenques, I don’t get to try the bigger brands much, but I’d been seeing this one online for awhile–and I’ll admit it sounded good to me.

After taking some time with it, all I can really say is that it tastes like a decent Espadín. I want to say I could detect those corn notes, but didn’t find them fully obvious to my palate. I’m sticking with “decent Espadín.”

Yuu Baal Jabali

Apr 6, 2022

I tried this at The Room here in San Miguel de Allende on March 12, 2022. At first the proprietors had me try 60 Fierros Jabali–and I loved it immediately. Nice, big, round flavors.

At the first sip of this Yuu Baal Jabali, I wasn’t grabbed. It was okay. But the more I sipped the more of the subtle flavors I detected. If you know me you’d know I hesitate to use the term “smoky” for mezcales, thinking it’s wildly overused. But…heh heh heh…I think this one might qualify as such. A nice, subtle, smoky beauty that lingers in the back of my throat. I decided I like this one better than the previous. Salud!

Cuish Madrecuishe – Hermogenes Vasquez

Jan 14, 2022

Had a bottle of this with friends last Friday. At first it seemed a little softer than I normally like, but then (as is often the case) it started tasting better. In fact I could taste the underlying beauty straight through the cigar I was smoking.

THEN I notice who the Maestro Mezcalero was: Hermogenes Vasquez Garcia! Mogen, one of my all-time favorite maestros!

I’m told by a friend who works with Mogen that this was a cold blend of two different Madrecuixes made within a couple of weeks of each other. Really lovely.

Batch number is written and hard to read. Looks like Lote: H86-MOR-04

Madre Espadin – Cuishe

Nov 26, 2021

I live in Mexico, but bought a 200 ml bottle of it at Whole Foods while visiting my daughter in LA. I tried it during the same trip where I also bought a bottle of Bozal Espadin/Barril/Mexicano. I’ll say that I liked this a good amount better than the Bozal.

Only $17.99 for a small bottle? Not bad at all, and I definitely tasted the character of the Cuixe. It’s not amazing, but when outside of Mexico and with limited options? It’s not bad–especially for the price.

Bozal Ensamble

Nov 26, 2021

Although I live in Mexico, I’ve been seeing this Bozal posted by a number of mezcal aficionados in the US lately. While visiting my daughter in the US a couple of months ago, I found it at Trader Joe’s for only $36.99. Hmmm?

For those of us who are pretty experienced with mezcal, we can often tell whether a distillation is worthwhile. Not always, true. But if it includes—not only Espadín—but also some wild agaves, such as in this case Barril and Mexicano…AND if they let the grado go up pretty high, (in this case 47%,) normally its worth checking out.

Not so much with this one I’m sorry to say.

Is this special? No. Is it disgusting? Also no. Is it actually worthwhile? If I had a bottle of this at home, I would give it away–to someone who didn’t know any better. But if I found myself removed against my will from my beloved Mexico–and if it were the only mezcal for miles, I’d drink it. Salud.

Gracias a Dios Tobala

Jul 12, 2021

Just enjoyed this yesterday at 21 Unica, a cantina here in San Miguel de Allende. I could have given it 4 stars because I’m indeed impressed. But the truth is I’ve become accustomed to direct-from-the-producer mezcal, which tends to be much more inspiring and delicious. So if I’m comparing this to the stuff I usually get, it’s 3 stars. But if we’re comparing it to most somewhat more mass produced mezcal, I think it deserves 4 stars. At 45% it just qualifies as artesanal in my view, but it’s still surprisingly soft for a 45 I think. I don’t necessarily consider “soft” to be among my favorite mezcal traits, but I know many do. Very nice flavor. It looks like a bottle is only about 1145 pesos here (only about $57 USD.) Of course I had to shell out 240 pesos ($12) for a shot, but hey…I want to do my part to keep local establishments going–especially those that offer decent mezcal. This is one.

Ojo de Tigre Joven

Jun 12, 2021

As a previous reviewer put it, “it isn’t horrible.” I suppose a 1 star rating would be for something that, after sufficient tasting, is just disgusting.

Well again, this isn’t disgusting. Isn’t repugnant. Isn’t putrid.

You can oh-so-faintly detect some mildly pleasant flavors hiding very deep within this product. But I prefer not to work so hard. Maybe the 40% is a little better than this 37 I had today. But I’d guess a nice 45% would render it actually worthy of note.

For a starter mezcal I’d say 400 Conejos is somewhat better, with more flavor. ✌️

Alipus Destilado en Barro (San Miguel Sola)

May 9, 2021

I’ve had this many times. The first time (about 4.5 years ago) was at a nightclub with my wife and another couple here in San Miguel de Allende. At the time I thought it might be the best Espadín I’d ever had, and was blown away by every sip. At least one time maybe a year later I found it disappointing. (Bar proprietor adding something to it? No se.) A few other times I’ve had it and found it pretty damn good. The essence of clay is balanced by a bit of sweetness. I’d say this is my favorite of the typically available Alipus offerings.

Marca Negra Tepeztate

May 8, 2021

A friend bought a small bottle of this last night at a local place. The grado was 50.5. It was beautiful. Classic Tepextate flavor with plenty of “pop” from the grado. I could make a shot of this last an hour, taking only tiny besitos and really savoring it.

400 Conejos Joven

May 8, 2021

Most of us who’ve been mezcal lovers for awhile will sneer a bit at this one. But the truth is I think it’s the perfect starter mezcal. Yes, it’s far too light at 38%–and there’s nothing particularly special about it. But it is a decent, basic Espadín with a hint of smoke. Start here; then be prepared for mezcales that will absolutely make your face shine! 🙂

Jaral de Berrio

May 8, 2021

7 years ago when I first moved to Mexico I was introduced to amazing artesanal mezcal at a local festival in San Miguel de Allende. Not having been much of a liquor drinker, I was blown away and loved it instantly. Then I noticed another booth at the same festival. “More mezcal; great!” I thought. The first taste produced a shiver: It was repulsive. I almost threw it out, but no. I had to make sure it was as bad as I thought, so I sipped again. Every bit as bad. I guess I’ve had it 3 or 4 more times since then–always thinking, “Maybe I just didn’t taste it right?” But again no. I hope you love this stuff, I hope they make millions of dollars… I don’t want to leave such a bad review, but sincerely… I can’t understand how anyone would actually enjoy it. I’ve had some very good Salmianas here and there; this one is not one of them.

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