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Pal’alma Sonora – Lechuguilla

May 27, 2023

Lot 3 | Bottle 13/44
On the nose you get a whiff of warm campfire (not the smoke smell, but the wood smell if that makes sense?), saline, old library books, a bit of lactic cheesiness.

Taste wise the initial palette has that earthy, campfire taste mixed with parmesian cheese rind and salt that was on the nose moving through to the umami of wet porcinis before opening up into a sweetness and cheesy flavor that was not found on the nose. The finish lasts for a long time and has just a hint of sugary fruit flavors like cantaloupe and savory flavors like Parmesan. Delicious right after opening and only got more complex after opening up. Typically I don’t like flavor of the “dustier” agave profiles such as sierra negra, arroqueno, etc… this has elements what you’d expect from those agaves, but is incredibly delicate.

One of my all time favorite bottles of agave spirit. Enough so that after trying this bottle, for the first time I bothered to track down two other bottles from different batches (lot 4 and lot 8 for those curious as to what is available Stateside) to make sure that I had some more for when this runs out.

For context, I’ve only tried one other agave spirit from sonora (one of the lamata Lechuguilla also with bovicornuta) and tried perhaps 3-4 other Lechuguillla/bovincornuta spirits total. While all on the tasty side, it isn’t an agave I am super familiar with. Definitely will be on the look out for more.

Pal’alma Puebla – Papalometl

May 27, 2023

Lot 3 bottle 2/66
A delicious release from Erick. I do like this a bit more than the Espadilla Capon from Asunción Matilde Vargas. On the nose tennis balls, a touch of lactic funk, some sweetness. Tastes quite a bit more minerally/lactic than most puebla tobala pota’s I’ve had in the past. There is just a bit of sugary fruit that shines through. While tasty, it is expensive for the price point/taste.

Mezcalosfera Tobasiche – Jorge Jarquin

May 27, 2023

Lot 01TOBUSA-21 – no bottle number

This is a solid somewhat tasty release. Upon opening it up, smelled like roasted greenery, tennis balls, and a bit of a chemical ash tray. On the palette that ashtray note was the most present flavor until I revisted the bottle 6 months later. Then, the tennis ball/greenery flavor came out more and the chemical smoke faded in to the background (though never entirely went away).

Mezcalosfera Bicuixe/ Madrecuixe/ Verde – Emanuel Ramos

Apr 28, 2023

(tasted in 2019)
I don’t have many notes from this bottle other than writing 3.25 stars and “Spicy, too booze forward, some stone and mineral flavors but not very balanced because of the heat of the alcohol and overwhelming nutty flavor.”

Mezcalosfera Tobala/​Madrecuixe – Felipe Cortés

Apr 28, 2023

FYI: There is a bar in Seattle that still carries this (only about 1/4 bottle left or so) if you are ever in the area.

(notes from 2018)
My initial impression of this was that it was too hot/boozy on the palate when I first opened the bottle (back in 2017) and so while the fruit forward flavors were delicious, I didn’t love the bottle. I then let it sit for about 1.5 years and absolutely loved it. The nose is extremely fruit forward, but layers of different things. Overly ripe passionfruit, blueberries, grapefruit mixed with minerality, wood, and just a hint of white smoke. On the palate luscious blueberry, grapefruit, and tamarind balanced with an mistakable dry note of a madre in the best way possible. When originally trying, this note was buried in the fruit but after letting the bottle sit this became much more in balance with the fruit.
Retasted in 2022 in a bar in Seattle and notes pretty much match my assessment above.

Mezcalosfera Madrecuixe – Felipe de Jesus

Apr 28, 2023

Lot 14USA (notes from 2021)
A tasty madre from Mezcaloteca. The nose has notes of stone fruit, sweet tarts, blueberry, with hints of minerality, a little bit of smoke too. The palate emphasizes that berry note, but tasting much drier than the nose would indicate – followed by a hint of salinity and smoke. Nice flavors but the finish doesn’t last too long and it is a bit hot/boozy for my taste, thus 3.5 stars (if less boozy to the taste would be 4).

Mezcalosfera Madrecuixe – Don Job

Apr 28, 2023

Lot 04USA
This is a solid bottle, but not what I typically like out of Madres. On the nose you can smell the herbal/minerality almost right away, but a lot of smokey woody tobacco notes also. Taste wise a smoke bomb upfront eventually ceding to the limestone, water on rocks mineral taste. Definitely on the dry side, overall the balance is off.

Mezcalosfera Madrecuixe – Margarito Cortés

Apr 28, 2023

This is in my top 5 bottles of all time and my favorite madrecuishe. Luckily I have a spare laying around unopened for the future – I did last year also find a half bottle that I got to try at a bar in Seattle if anyone is ever in the area.
(notes from 2018)
On the nose is fresh lavender, sage, overripe strawberries, limestone, Georgia peaches sweetness. The palate coats the mouth in a supple, velvety way leading to sweet strawberry, orchids, intense lavender, just a hint of wet limestone. Somehow after that initial sweet/floral burst it dries into a finish of simple mineral that lingers on the tongue for a long time. Sublime.

NETA Tepextate – Aniceto García

Apr 28, 2023

TPXANC2011 (notes from 2022)
A very tasty tep with an amazing nose – wet grass after a summer rain in a deserty area, lawn mower clippings, thai basil, spearmint, minerals, and guanábana. The texture is softer than you’d think given the minerality. On the palate it is a bit hot with mint with a bit of spice from the pepper, a lush sweetness, but overall less aromatic and green than the nose. While I do like this batch, I prefer the Tep release the NETA Gilberto Aquino Garciá Tep batch by a hair which has less of a good finish at the end as this, but also tastes a little less hot on the palate overall.

NETA Penca Larga, Madrecuixe, Mexicano Verde – Primitivo Vasquez

Apr 28, 2023

ENSPMV2104 (Astor)
This is well outside the usual flavor sets and really not everyone. I’d recommend for anyone interested in woody/piney/resiney/floral/medicinal flavors, but if that’s not your jam you will not like this bottle as this bottle goes boldly in that direction without much balance elsewhere. The closest bottle I’ve had to it is the La Venenosa Mai.

On the nose is daikon, cooked sunchoke, coconut, and pine resin. The palette reminds me of a more nuanced and delicious version of the pine eau-de-vie’s you see in Austria (and PNW). The initial flavor is douglas fir sap, with goldenrod tea, lilacs, cherimoya sweeetness, maybe coconut water following. The woody finish (from the saponins of the penca larga?) and lilac notes linger on the palette for a long time. Unique, delicious, but definitely could understand someone hating this.

NETA Madrecuixe + Jabalín – Celso Garcia Cruz

Apr 28, 2023

ENNCEL1904 (Astor)
Tried a at a friend’s. A bit of a misfire. The nose has a faint smell chemical smoke, a bit of alcohol, and a touch of salinity/fruitiness in the backdrop once you are used to the chemical smell. The palate I found the chemical/burned plastic taste to be the primary note. Once used to that I could taste some interesting jabali notes of sweet butterscotch and a bit of the dry/minerally madre notes like lavendar and green tea – but the chemical notes overpower.
Glad I tried and didn’t buy, at this price point too expensive.

NETA Tepextate – Gilberto Aquino Garcia

Apr 28, 2023

TPXGLA2106 – Astor
This is interesting and hard to describe, reminds me somewhat of the Aniceto García Tep release though that is more complex. Spectacular nose of sweet lawn mower grass clippings, jasmine, winter green mint, lavender, and stone fruit (peach?). When taking a sip, it is an easy water-like drink until a slight hint of smoke on the finish. The flavors themselves have the grassiness recedes somewhat ceding to the jasminey, minty flavor, minerally flavor. There are also hints of overripe bell pepper, and perhaps a touch of fermentation. The flavor dies out relatively quickly into that slight hint of smoke, not a long finish at all. Kind of like an abrupt sentence.
4.25 stars, rounded up here because the nose is nothing like I’ve smelled before

La Venenosa Etnica Tutsi Maguey Masparillo

Apr 28, 2023

Lot 2
Very earthy, leathery with touches of marmalade and smoke. Has almost a bbq flavor to it. The low abv (just like the mai) keeps the flavors in check somewhat. Relatively balanced by comparison. If you like woody, smoky, leathery flavors while still having a bit of other things – this one is for you. Personally was glad to try this one, but buy the Mai (for those deciding between the two this is on the dusty/earthy side and that is on the piney/aloe side).

La Venenosa Etnica Tutsi Maguey Mai

Apr 28, 2023

Lot 1
Like a refreshing wave of aloe mixed with cheese, pine, olives, and fishead soup. Perfumed like a tagine mixed with tree sap. The low abv helps keep the flavors in check where they don’t overwhelm, but instead gently passes over the tongue creating a wild tasting experience. Try to go through it on the quicker side (or use nitrogen to keep oxygen from entering) – it is one of the very few bottles of agave spirit that I found the bottle degrading in flavor rather than opening up over time.

If you are deciding between this and the masparillo – the masparillo is more on the earthier side this is on the vegetal side. To me both very good, but I can see certain flavor palettes favoring one depending.

La Venenosa Raicilla Sur

Apr 28, 2023

(Two bottles one in 2016 and one in 2022)
This is a very underrated line from La Venenosa in my opinion – especially considering how expensive Partida’s releases are on Chacolo. That said, this is delicious. Sour citrus, lactic fruit flavors mixed with a touch of deep earthiness (like pig blood, iron, or chocolate?). One bottle I had was bit more fruity with “funk” the second bottle I had was more fruit forward and balanced. I preferred that first bottle, but both were delicious.

Tosba Cenizo

Apr 28, 2023

Lot 34 (tasted in 2022)
Glad to have grabbed a bottle of this. Unlike any other Cenizo I’ve tried. Like Tosba’s tep, this has quite a lot of fruit flavors in a way that is unexpected – pineapple, orange, mango. In addition though, it has these almost tutti frutti notes like a classic bubblegum. All of this balances out with just a hint of salinity and smoke. This feels off-the wall in a zany/good way. Worth a try if you can find it.

Tosba Espadin

Apr 28, 2023

Lot 31 (notes from a bottle in 2021)
Very tasty, well balanced. On the sweet/fruity side with just a hint of white smoke, but a bit light compared to other Espadins. Has a beautiful mouth coat/texture that is more unusual.

For the price point, I think this is one of the best Espadins on the market – half a star is added for that extremely reasonable price (these days in my area, 40% less than buying a del maguey chichicapa!).

Tosba Pechuga

Apr 28, 2023

Lot 27 (notes from tasting in 2018)
Delicious Pechuga. While a bit too much on the meaty/gamey soup flavor for my taste, complex with just enough green apple, pepper, and chocolate complementing that meat flavor. This is one of those that you can leave in your glass and watch dramatically change every few minutes emphasizing a different note, a great sipper for an evening.

Tosba Tepextate

Apr 28, 2023

Lot 17/Lot 18 (owned both bottles, review is a compilation of them)
One of my all time favorites and highly unusual for a tep. On the nose you would think this is a pretty typical tep, the usual greenery/fern/pepper smells. On the palate though you get a dark explosion of tamarind, black current mixed with a touch of pepper and a kiss of funkiness (think more like a rhum agricole/clairin ester rotting fruit funkiness, not a racailla lactic funkiness). Lot 17 is a little more veggie/pepper forward and 18 is more fruit forward. Both amazing.

Tosba Warash

Apr 28, 2023

Lot 23 (notes from 2022)
This has big, powerful, brash flavors. Surprised to see many folks on here mentioning fruitiness with this batch. While I do indeed taste pineapple, and perhaps a touch of banana leaf, the primary notes to me are on the darker/earthier side of Mezcal – more in the realm of an arroqueño with dirt, leather, and smoke. A bottle worth trying, but I wouldn’t go out to buy a bottle personally. Overall the balance is there with a thick liquid that coats the glass.

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