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Ninfa Raicilla

bright. piney aromas. minty. fresh epazote. evolves from herbal to citrus influences;tangerine, lemon zest, a lingering lemon/lime persistence. tiny fusel hint at finish, not a deal breaker. lean on palate, owed to a demure 86 proof, slightly thin but delicious and refreshing all the same. pleasant enough but not intriguing. (a star rating here should not apply in terms of other comparative categories.)

Apr 9, 2019

Marca Negra Dobadan

(batch MJ09-14/ 576/600 bottles) 96 proof
AROMA: fresh ground black pepper. citrus. fresh green herbal aroma.
no hint of smoke. chalky, minerally aroma.
tight, fine, clean aromas. grapefruit skin.
PALATE: peppery and piquant. round and balanced. elegant, feminine. an elevated dobadan.
after 12 hours open a fuller, more fragrant perfumed palate developed, lingering berry sweetness at very finish. rich and complex.

Feb 1, 2017

Marca Negra Ensamble

(batch MJ10-14/ 434/900 bottles) 94 proof
fragrant, open, sweet floral aromas. no hint of smoke. slowly emerging stewed fruit bouquet. a not unpleasant hint of sauerkraut or preserved vegetables?
PALATE: initial hint of smoke opens on palate with less imprint in aroma. broad, minerally core. balanced. no heat. long, radish-like salinity.
after 12 hours open in glass the smoke seems a bit more integrated and pronounced. still firm, round and broad. ash at finish.

Feb 1, 2017

Marca Negra Tobala

(batch MJ08-14/ 976/1,200 bottles)
AROMA: shy aromas. hint of piney forest. sawmill. closed and soft, no hint of smoke. slowly, floral aromas unwind with hints of cocoa and toasted coconut. later, tobacco leaf, licorice and white pepper emerge.
PALATE: penetrating, immediate and assertive. alcohol driven. fierce and aggressive at first slowly resolving a broad textural grip. high octane gravel ball. still, a clean profile revealed amidst a brooding framework. deft ninja dirty bomb. muscular elegance. spikey palate resonance. heady and contemplative. (I would be curious to see Ortiz’s expression of Tobalá.)

Feb 1, 2017

Marca Negra Tepeztate

(can’t read batch #/ bottle 402/600)
AROMA: attractive fresh clean sweet aromas. no sign of smoke. piquant exotic nose blossom to guava & strawberry. pear. peach. pineapple.
PALATE: alcohol seems to emerge midway and expands firmly to finish, expanding the structure broadly on the palate nicely.
firm, focused core. solid & compact. taut. restrained exchange of minerals around the edge with long earthy adobe brick.
sophisticated gunpowdery dry finish.

Feb 1, 2017

Marca Negra Arroqueno

batch MJ28-15/ 97.2 proof
AROMA: tahini? crushed sesame seed aroma. radish. no smoke apparent. sweet, elusive compact aromas. bright, clean
fruit aromas slow to emerge. hint of tropical ripeness.
hidden whiffs of cherries and banana skin.
PALATE: fine and balanced. elegant and trim. feminine. round with restrained viscosity. seamless, which seems to be Ortiz’s calling card.
no mineral bitterness or bite.
after 12 hours open, firm but with developing earthiness on palate.

Feb 1, 2017

Nuestra Soledad San Luis del Rio

Stars in relation to other single village espadin releases (Del Maguey & Alipus included.)
soft, floral nose. vanilla bean. creamy, custard like aroma. sour cherry. grapefruit. closed aromas opening slowly with no hint of smoke.
on the palate:
firm & fine, lush & smooth. compact, balanced and long.
muscular and broad yet elegant. stylish.
A workhorse in a fancy hat!

Jan 17, 2017

Nuestra Soledad La Compania Ejutla

Stars are in relation to other single village espadin releases (Alipus & del Maguey included.)
slight, soft smoke suggestion. roasted pork fat. pear. animal hide. beef tallow.
on the palate:
smooth and balanced. slightly more viscous than Nuestra Soleded Stgo Matatlán, less fruit driven than San Balthazar. juicy & round. lingering minerality.

Jan 17, 2017

Nuestra Soledad San Baltazar

Stars given in relation only to other single village espadin releases (Del Maguey & Alipus included.)
enticing, piquant aromas. citrus. spearmint. fresh ground black pepper.
coriander. dried chile pod. pineapple. over ripe tropical fruit perfume. hint of leather but not smokey.
on the palate:
immediate spicy, tropical juiciness. lovely. balanced, integrated minerality with no sense of heat. La Bomba Tuti Fruti!
textural, spiky minerals & a sprinkle of allspice. rich & fat. dusty volcanic finish.

Jan 17, 2017

Nuestra Soledad Santiago Matatlan

Stars are given here with other single village Espadin as category of comparison.
There are 6 different single village espadin releases by Nuestra Soledad, (similarly as Alipus and del Maguey).
closed, soft floral aromas. cherry. banana. subtle sweet aromas. no hint of smoke.
cucumber. melon water. apple/pear.
On the palate:
smooth. hint of cherry. tangy. ashy minerality. balanced. supple & rich yet with lift.
delicious. agua de frutas. cohesive alcohol to feminine structure.
gunpowder minerality. bright bitter, dry finish.

Jan 17, 2017

Rey Campero Jabali

Initial subtle, soft aromas of pear and a hint of fresh spicy mint leaf. There is an obvious lack of smokiness, but rather the sweet aroma of a well-worn leather jacket. With time, the aroma shifts to the pungency of geranium leaf and Chinese 5 Spice. Lovely floral notes persist as mineral shrouded spices emerge. I am reminded of an invigorating hot cup of atole in a chilly mountain top town in Chiapas, many years ago. There is a rich, comforting viscosity, fat and oily, but not revealing its 96.6 proof for an instant. The influence of terroir is apparent, dirt driven and deeply organic. Dried chile pods and rusty baked clay. The aroma of the back streets of Oaxaca. A spiraling mouth carnival where blinking dark shadows of over ripe guava and the decomposing corpse of banana skin swirl the tongue like a dirty turnip Tilt-o-Whirl on a Mexican midway. I’m going on this ride again. Right now.

Jan 17, 2017

El Jolgorio Jabali

Down the rabbit hole!
With a scant 54 bottles produced in this batch, you might expect a degree of intensity but perhaps not this level of finesse. This rare jabali agave is richly extracted, lush and heady revving up at 100 proof. But for its entire vivid, immediate grip it flaunts also a structure of deft proportion; muscular and still finely balanced with a plush mouth-swirling viscosity. It is broodingly compact and concentrated yet quite smooth and with no hint of danger on the palate considering the weapons grade alcohol content. And there is just a delicate hint of the fire pit, dodging the obvious campfire perfumes apparent in many mezcals.
The bouquet is tight and closed with small hints of pear and dried herbs, straw, and then graphite, with an ominous backstage jiggle of seared fat.
On the palate, juicy celery rib gives way to an inherent salinity, and the white peppery piquancy of rocky hillside terroir. An oily bubble of sensual flavors, satisfying, mystical, and with a long simmering finish.

Jan 17, 2017
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