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I like to drink mezcal. Mainly in Brooklyn, San Diego, or Oaxaca.
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Madre Espadin – Cuishe

Dec 11, 2021

Light smoke, banana, vanilla, a bit more alcoholic in flavor perhaps than it ought to be, with familiar roasted sugars of espadin with just a hint of vegetal cuishe slipping into the mix. A good choice among the more well-distributed mezcals you’ll find in a more conventional liquor store — I would reach for this in lieu of Vida, but not before the similarly priced Bozal ensamble. Extra half star for value.

Wild Shot Silver

Oct 31, 2021

Absolutely not.

Sotoleros Lalo and Nando

Oct 10, 2021

Copper, smoke, wet concrete after lightning. The copper distillation really comes through. Exquisite. Not the amount of grassy earthbound terroir in some of the most distinctive sotols — but by that same token, smoother and perhaps more “drinkable” than the gnarliest sotols, with a super smooth and durable aftertaste — and yet it’s apparently 100% sotol of the leophyllum varietal, not one of the “lechugilla” agave blends that the Sotoleros line specializes in. I could be convinced this was a mezcal of the Americana family. My favorite from the new Sotoleros line that succeeded the formidable Clande brand.

El Jolgorio Madrecuishe

Sep 22, 2021

The color feels somehow significant, but maybe that’s a trick of the mind.

Nose: aromatic, perfume, roses, honey
Mouth: medium heat, immediate sweetness, thin body, slightly herbal with notes of rose and mint and honeysuckle
After: mellow, clean, crisp nothing funky

This is neither at the top nor bottom of the list from the El Jolgorio range that I’ve tried, but ultimately I’ve been spoiled with incredible mezcals, and this is a very fine beverage.

Edition: 18 / Harvest: 2019 / Bottle no 122/600. 48% ABV.

Mal Bien Alto

Sep 1, 2021

Super sharp on the nose – spicy floral alcohol.
A bit of sharpies and dull white sugar, maybe a bit of citrus pith on the mouth. It’s certainly not a super mainstream mezcal, but the ways in which this are complex don’t appeal to me at all. Too hot and astringent.

Real Minero Becuela

Aug 2, 2021

I first tried the Real Minero becuela variety on their palenque early in 2021, and it blew me away more than any other variety offered. Unfortunately they hadn’t yet bottled the product. I’ve been on the lookout and finally saw it pop up as an offering from the famed San Diego liquor store Old Town Tequila, where I’ve discovered a few of my all-time favorites. I wasn’t disappointed — this easily launches into my top 10, one of the few 5 star bottles I’ve tasted.

Nose: leather, copper, nectarines and other sticky stone fruit juices
Mouth: All of the aforementioned juices, papaya, watermelon, a bit more body than your average mezcal, and so flavorful you’d think this had the actual fruit distillations like a pechuga.
After: smooth minerality, soft and clean.

DARMBE-03 batch from Old Town Tequila.

Vago Madre Cuixe – Emigdio Jarquin Ramirez

Aug 2, 2021

I was hitting a string of misses with the famed Vago line, and this is definitely my favorite of what I’ve had thus far — this one is full of complexity and rather drinkable despite higher than usual ABV. It’s fruit-forward but less perfumed/aromatic than other madrecuixe varieties I’ve had. Very mineral, dusty flavors that feel to me like a nice merger of Karwinskii vegetal properties with the more rugged flavors of an Americana.

September 2017 batch.

Desert Door Original

Jul 9, 2021

I’m mildly interested in the politics of an American “sotol”, but don’t have any particular opinion on the issue. I was able to stop by the distillery after an Austin visit recently to taste a flight of their sotols, where the server proudly explained how the spirit was 6 times distilled (?!)… and, as expected, the result is a smooth and rather flavorless, tequila-adjacent beverage with a touch of honeyed sweetness.

It was ironic to me that the other offerings in the flight — and oak-aged sotol and a strawberry-basil infusion — were both more flavorful and interesting, because it seems they had the impulse to add back flavor that had been distilled out of existence in the original. Anyway, my cocktails were very tasty, and I’d be willing to give this place another shot in a few years — I’m sure they’re experimenting quickly with their production.

Tosba Warash

Jul 9, 2021

I read that Warash is an unclassified agave thought to be close to Karwinskii and Rodacantha — that surprised me, because I think of those two as the softer/vegetal maguey families. While this does have a rich fruited/pineapple scent on the nose, the flavor itself definitely hinted at the Agave Americana side of things — the more ‘masculine’ flavor profile in my estimation, which, rather than fruits and leaves, tastes of leather, clay, tobacco and licking copper pennies. Still, there’s something ‘brighter’ and a bit citric in this one, that makes this more appealing than any Sierra Negra I’ve tried.

Tried this at Leyenda in Brooklyn, NY. My first taste from the Tosba brand, and hoping I come across more soon.

NETA Tequilana

Jul 7, 2021

I was definitely intrigued to try mezcal in the famous tequila varietal. An almost regressive twist? I have to admit I have very little experience trying “fine” tequilas, as I equate those mostly with aged spirits whose flavor is primarily a result of the wood it’s aged in… but even so, I couldn’t help but think it tastes like a decent tequila.

This was something of a novelty buy, but I did have high hopes based on the strength of Candido Garcia Cruz’s absolutely excellent Espadin release from Neta. And I can’t ignore the fact that the bottle was almost $180USD, purchased in NYC. Yikes.

This reminds me in flavor of Del Maguey’s popular chichicapa mezcal.

Nose: agave syrup
Mouth: a bitter hotter than I expected (though I should have realized ABV is a relatively high 49%), roasted pineapple, sweet corn, light smoke
After: very little lingering aftertaste (is that why people like tequila shots?!)

Batch: 051/264 Lot: TEQCAN1303

Rey Campero Cuishe

Jun 8, 2021

My favorite of several varietals from the Rey Campero line, unsurprising to me because I love a good Karwinskii. This has the wet leaves, sour green apple on the tongue, with mineral/clean stones/chocolate milk aftertaste that is divinely smooth on the way out.

Rey Campero Tepextate

Jun 8, 2021

Black pepper, nasturtium flower, jalapeño, bell pepper, and violet. A lot of these flavors are to be expected from a tepeztate, but there’s some hotness and sharpness that is distinctive.

Mezcalosfera Maguey Tobasiche – Emanuel Ramos

Jun 8, 2021

Tobasiche is probably my single favorite maguey, and like many of my favorites this mezcal brings that “well balanced salad” flavor profile to bear: the savory corn and vegetables combined with the vegetal/herbal leaves, sweet onion, and blueberry. Delicious.

Farolito Penca Verde

Jun 8, 2021

Happy I opted for a bottle of the Horno instead of this one, which I only sampled. Perhaps it would grow on me, but the pretty bold flavor profile wasn’t appealing during my 1oz trial — tennis balls on the nose is rather exciting, but the mid-mouth flavors of oregano, spearmint, and leather left a sort of bitter herbal experience on the tongue that I didn’t love.

Del Maguey Wild Papalome

Jun 8, 2021

Clay and copper on the nose, leather and tobacco on the mouth, with a hot and sweet corn aftertaste. Interesting, but this sort of flavor profile which, after describing, I’ve come to realize sounds like a candle marketed to men. This “masculine” profile that I’ve encountered in other Sierra Negra and Arroqueño varietals I’ve realized is just not my cup of tea.

La Venenosa Raicilla Sierra del Tigre

Jun 8, 2021

Wow – this really is surprising and funky. Lactic/microbial/yogurt/sour cheese on the nose and mouth, with a sort of burnt cacao or fudge aftertaste. Like chocolate cheescake? Weird and exciting — easy sipper once you get used to it.

Mezcalero No. 13

Jun 8, 2021

Honey water and sharp astringent alcohol on the nose, a bit of black pepper alongside sweet and juicy bell pepper on the mouth, and a mellow aftertaste. Not my favorite Mezcalero bottle but none of the 6 or so I’ve tried from the line are anything less than terrific.

Mezcalero No. 16

Jun 8, 2021

Don Valente has to be my favorite mezcalero at this point.

Floral /jasmine notes on the nose. Peppery taste with sweet honeysuckle and clean rocks and minerals aftertaste. Splendid.

Mezcalero No. 18

Jun 8, 2021

I was excited to finally encounter a significant number of Mezcalero editions at Las Perlas bar in Austin, TX. This was my favorite, and I think the fact is it reminded me a lot of Mezcalero No. 22, one of the few 5 stars mezcals I’ve ever tried. Which makes sense: same mezcalero working with Bicuishe again, albeit in an interesting ensamble this time.

Vanilla, Cinnamon, rose water notes on nose and mouth alike. Delicious, sweet, smooth.

Update: found a bottle. Same review applies — batch from 2013/bottled 2017, no other info.

Marca Negra Dobadan

Jun 8, 2021

Nose: lemon zest and chlorine
On the higher end of the heat spectrum, pretty strong alcohol.
Spearmint, citric acid, vanilla, grapefruit pith, and bitter amaro on the mouth.
Fairly weak aftertaste.

A familiar mexicano flavor profile of medium to high complexity, in my book. Probably wouldn’t go out of my way to seek it out.

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