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Revel Avila Blanco

Oct 1, 2023

Not sure which batch – reps came by at product launch so whatever hit TX first.

Interesting enough story and claims about what the brand stands for – but wow just underwhelming and uninspiring juice. It tastes like any boring tequila (hence the “slightly below average” rating), and that makes me question what it brings to the table. As far as I can tell, just a marketing story, a confused identity, little if any personality, a bottle that seemed aimed at a market that doesn’t exist in quantity, and failed potential.

Clande Lechuguilla (Blue)

Sep 14, 2022

Lot 3 – Tavi Torres 45.6%

Full nose! Nut butters, vanilla, soft clays. Corn coming through more now, with tinges of tarragon, light mint, black pepper.

Palate is soft, more mineral, more than I would expect. Mulch and wood dust – pine. Good sweetness, but not much in the way of fruit or citrus or anything bright. Black lemon at most (which are dried limes). That kinda nut butter I find somewhat commonly in the category is fresh on the entry. The texture is pretty wonderful. This over delivers for its proof. Finish is long, complex, showing more green.

Thanks @cagliostro for the sample!

La Higuera Texanum

Jan 27, 2022

49.9% Lot 1:

Nose is leaning simple and sotol driven, with complexity coming only on the third pour. touch of nail polish that’s in balance over sotol sweetness, now with pink peppercorn coming in strongly tonight. Fino sherry, a tinge of a bbq smoke, kinda a earthy sweetness but not quite the usual “rain on hot cement”. Some mild earthy mushroom notes like the leiophyllum can have, ground corn as well. Some stinky vegetable like green onion or shallot.

Palate is with a pretty dang good texture, earth, red and white peppercorn, slight chemicals, dried mints, a little basil, more bbq like black pepper heavy beef jerky, clay, the finish has a touch of pool water and good length and sweetness. More of that garlic adjacent vegetal notes and button mushroom savoryness with some dark chocolates and hazelnuts too on the finish.

6+/10! So far airtime has it tasting more like other texanums i can think of in a good way. For all the whacky descriptors, it comes together in a lovely way.

The Lost Explorer Espadin

Jan 5, 2022

Solid, largely agreed with Tyler overall. Red and other apple brandy notes are nice, the smoke is present but not distracting, there’s just a slight chemical edge to this knocking me back a half star. Proof would help show off this wonderful character!

Rey Campero Cuishe + Jabali

Dec 16, 2021

DS001-CTS 195/780 50.1%, thanks Tyler!

Oh no, it smells burnt. I always get scared of RC karwinskiis because of that. Burnt banana skins, light ash tray, singed peppercorns, burning grass, overbrewed herbal root teas. That’s really dominant although I know I’m probably more sensitive to these things than most. A little bit of jabali orange-like fruit flavors and something like guayaba with some agave sweetness, Expo markers, dried mint, and some fresh lime and a little culantro. As I think I adapt, more classic punchy agave and charcoal.

Burnt carrot coming out along with all the aforementioned right on the tip of my tongue. Texture is decent, fuller bodied, though it comes across as lightly gritty/tannic. A real big sip brings out the sweetness in a nice way, but the finish is ashy against all that caramelized agave and fruit. I could see it working for a certain palate. The structure is solid, as is the complexity and development.

Interesting to taste from the son, but it fails where too many RC’s have before: burnt, acrid. The structure is great; I’ll keep an eye out for non-karwinskiis from him until I get to the bottom of what’s going on.

We’ll try his stuff again, this has some very promising aspects otherwise!

Vago Tepeztate – Aquilino Garcia Lopez

Sep 22, 2021

March 2016 53.1% – plant matter, warmth like cardamom, nopales, evergreen. mineral, roasted corn, peppery finish. classic profile for AG

May 2016 52.1% – earthier than ^, winter squash sweetness, herbs, lime peel, heat, simpler. good texture and sweetness, chalky hot finish. solid, hot. least fave.

July 2018 50.5% – more San Luis Potosi salmiana side of things – fresher nightshades, a touch of honey. ancho, tomatillo, hoja santa, anisey nearly, cayenne. low heat, low amount of ‘chemical notes’. complex, intense, a touch of hit, finish is almost too paprika driven. interesting one, could be divisive. i liked it

A-09-TE-19 for The Austin Shaker 50.7% – store pick, uncertified batch; “big, wet, juicy”. [water]melons, fresher limes and honey, little touches of warm spices, rye grain, lime candies, a little mint, hoja santa. still full texture, juicy, honey and lime finish with more hoja santa on the finish. i really like this one – i have related biases. my favorite, though it doesn’t quite taste like the others

Mezcalero No. 23

Aug 19, 2021

Drank next to mezcalero 25:

Weird cough medicine, dryer sheets, cig ash, green plantain, expo markers… complex, present smoke.

Lighter bodied, full of chemical tones and complexity. Open, herbaceous smoke, sage, fleeting notes of candy / gummies, decent lively acidity.

Complex, really complex, I think I could probably see the appeal for some folk. Ultimately this is just hard to parse through, strong character of the maker.

Whacky stuff, would have to be in the mood. Texture is what bumps it up, the incredible complexity.

Mezcalero No. 25

Aug 19, 2021

Drank next to mezcalero 23:

The same chemicals and markers, but… something akin to roasted ancho back there? Interesting. Moving into the main fruit: Orange tic tacs, lavender dryer sheets, mild sugar, bubblegum.

Good texture, some peppery spice, herbs, good agave sweetness midpalate before fading into medicinal fruits, dryer sheets, markers. Nice soil and minerality, too. Better control of proof generally, though it adds some spice.

More boring, still strong hand of the maker, but I think I’d reach for it more often than the 23, or pour it for guests more. I really like the notes from others on here, but I think this just isn’t my style, and that’s okay!

I think I can see the appeal, it likes air time for sure – softens and gets more pops of big fruit flavors.

Rancho Tepua Lechuguilla

Jul 20, 2021

NOTE: I was on the panel that helped pick this; my rating here is simply an average of what already exists as to not upset the site average.

Nose: A wonderful balance of clay, florality, and cream cheese. Slight nuttiness, almond butters, mild dried herbs like thyme, mint, tarragon. Lime peel, mildest of guanbana – not a particularly “fruity” distillate but sweetness shows nicely. Very cohesive nose, evolving all the time, cinammon sometimes come to, sometimes the nuttiness, sometimes more floral aspects, sometimes the agave. Fresher and brighter as it’s sitting.

Palate: Great texture for the proof, agave sweetness is really incredible, lots of minerality, nuttiness, herbal tones, all encased in a lactic [cream] cheese quality that really suits the whole image. I think of wonderful cheese and nut and cracker boards, the cohesiveness of the profile can’t be overstated. Mild acidity, like in a tangy yogurt and some more lime and cinnamon and soft peppercorn melange. The finish has those more earthy notes, florality, light mints.

Thoughts: I helped pick it, this producer is amazing and this is one of his best efforts. Fun to taste next to other top tier lechuguillas like Tavi Torres’ first batch with Sotoleros.

Conclusion and “t8ke” scale rating: N/A. The complexity and cohesiveness are stellar, and this is as good as I’ve ever tasted from Sonora.

Dos Hombres Tobala

Jul 17, 2021

Nose: This smells soft and sweet but there’s certainly character underneath, some blue fruits leaning slightly candied I’m not sure I’ll be able to perfectly pin down (plums). A mild lactic character, like a mint yogurt. Sweet soil, gentle and pleasant smoke that ties in with some floral dryer sheet notes. Plums, lavender, a little vanilla side of tobala, I’d mostly say – that’s a solid camp in my head. A little hot for 45%.

Palate: Better texture than expected – for the proof, which still is atypically low for this producer. White pepper / lanolin weird thin acrid notes are coming through, which somehow mix okay with the plum fruit and mild green tinges. Like lavender dryer sheets, but not the super nice ones… just a touch weird and powdery. The finish is floral, sweet, more of this weird powdery thing. Powdered sugar I suppose can be thrown in as a note, though I’m not wildly pro or anti. Vague sweetness lingers.

Thoughts: A capable producer, in a generally speaking safe profile. The price is the main concern, by leagues. I’d buy this at $50-60 without the box (keeping the bottle).

Conclusion and “t8ke” scale rating: 5/10, other batches might hit a 6. Hard pass for so many reasons, but not insulting to consumers unlike the Casamigos I drank it next to.

Casamigos Mezcal Joven

Jul 17, 2021

Nose: Thin, paint remover in spades. There’s some clay and basic agave underneath, smelling minty, with smoke that reminds me of cleaning my barbecue grill. Not as ashy and chemical and fake as the first time I tried this, which I guess is good? With enough air, papaya-like fruits, smells more like Matatlan but I can’t confirm this – OH WAIT I’m right, found it. I just can’t read.

Palate: Wet ashtray entry, thin, acidic, really thin, chemical cleaners, a decent amount of smoke on the finish (oh why did I swallow this… yikes). Wet ashtray.

Thoughts: I remember disliking it more which is like, how? How was it possible to make something much worse than this? This is insulting and believe me I wanted to hate it but WOW they didn’t have to make that so easy to do.

Conclusion and “t8ke” scale rating: 2/10. Maybe a 3, if it opens up better – the nose is becoming close to tolerable. My gosh, this shouldn’t exist at almost any price point.

Lamata Verde Durango

Jul 1, 2021

Nose: Brighter, more orange blossom, honey, minerals, orange orange orange. Fresh, clean, vibrant, cilantro as well. Orange Gatorade, tic-tacs, high quality soaps.

Palate: More proof, white pepper, fresh, clean, nice acidity lifts it all, mild cheese. Finish is long, very complex, bright – orange blossom and cucumber.

Thoughts: A personal favorite.

Mestiza Negra Espadin

Jun 29, 2021

Lot 1PT15(?)

Compared to the last Miahuatlan espadin I tried, this is more cheesy, dirty / soil, almost leaning towards some Raicilla tones. Light nut butters, I’m not great at cheeses but I’ll suggest Parmesan, Expo Markers, some dried lime peel, cloves, and cayenne.

Acidic!, almost thin, funky. Sour milk! (though not unpleasant), salt, green/herbaceous notes. Not much obvious fruit I can place, something nearing a leather note / bovine. Finish is pretty pleasant and complex. Gotta admire the character for the region.

Vaca Loca Joven

Jun 29, 2021

Actually smells pretty nice… mineral, floral, Miahuatlan coming through pleasantly. Not smelling too thin for the proof, though a touch of light alcohol. Some mixed berries, a tiny hint of cream cheese, eucalyptus, papaya, cinnamon, lime zest.

Palate is a touch underwhelming, agave flavor is a bit vague, finish is a touch hot but with nice florality, some almonds and yeast. Texture isn’t too bad, it’s simple and easy. Serviceable.

Agua Mágica Ensamble

Jun 29, 2021

Vanilla, mild smoke, river rocks, rubber tire, plum skins. Permanent marker, WD-40, wintergreen. Decently present tobalá!, for better and for worse.

Sweet entry of agave, then all the chemicals come out. Nicely fruity, some baking spice, texture is flabby. Finish is floral (lavender) and rather pretty, at least. Some almonds, banana.

Chemicals vs. that wonderful finish, sigh.

Maximo Joven

Jun 29, 2021

Sharp smoke, fresh lime in spades, mild cilantro and minerality. Lemon oil, cinnamon, Quince, some wood and grain notes that make me think about old scotches.

Likes some air, otherwise it can come across as too gritty and hot, though the very tail end of the finish still roars more than it should. Watery, orange peel and more citrus, minerals, cereal grains, ash and smoke and a bit of unpleasant paint remover.

I’d be curious to learn more about the brand. Hot, thin, but there’s some cool things happening.

Lalocura San Martinero

Jun 20, 2021

Nose: Baked sweet breads with nuts in it – nearly banana bread. Mixed berries, yeast, some gentle yogurt / sour cream. Parfait! More ashy grassy starchy karwinskii character now. Keeps evolving. Toasted peppercorns, cinnamon, walnuts.

Palate: Dark, earthy, menacing clay karwinskii with leather and tobacco on top of the baked starches and nuts and maybe hint of banana bread. Parfait appears closer to the finish before it fades furthest on vanilla, white chocolate, banana leaf, ash.

Thoughts: Much more dark than the other two, more classic. I wanna try this next to the Vago Barril en Barro! Just a touch peppery and ashy.

Lalocura Tobala-Tobasiche

Jun 20, 2021

Nose: Mmmmm… white chocolate dipped waffle cones! Wow, that was a nearly immediate association! Getting a little more herbaceous and chicory driven. Good yeast play in there, giving a “lightly toasted whole grain bread with a small amount of butter on it” vibe that we’ll find in the below two expressions to varying degrees as well. Some nice caramelization notes on the agave, some earthy spices, boiled potato and its skins, light roasted almond. Even more fruit now, papaya and orange slices and wild strawberries.

Palate: Sweet entry, great texture, lovely amounts of caramelized fruits, some grassy earthy notes akin to red beets, the finish has light umami character, clay, minerality, [potato] starches, a little char.

Thoughts: Great development, entry is top notch, texture is initally grand, then all the things that sometimes distract me with clay distilled products clobber over the finish.

Top-notch entry to the palate, loads of complexity.

Lalocura San Martinero – Tobasiche

Jun 20, 2021

Nose: Brighter, grassier, fruitier, lime. About as fruity as I’ve ever had from Lalo – a little plantain and key lime pie and papaya. Some bread sticks in there too, hints of chocolate chunks, lightly nutty. Runtz candies! Grilled watermelon.

Palate: Another great lime-creamsicle entry, watermelon Jolly Rancher, some butter and nuts and lemon sauce, yeast… then yet again the clay and minerality dry out the finish and take over, lightly ashy here as well.

Thoughts: Similar to the tob-tob, lots of great moments on the entry but a clay dominated finish. A little hotter and thinner than the tob-tob, worse finish.

Lamata De Castilla Nuevo León

Jun 16, 2021

CAS-T 15/04/20
48% $__


Nose: More tamarind, more candied oranges, coffee grounds, not far from the above. A few more herbal notes, mint, cornbread, grilled watermelon. More earth. Stealing a note from those below, I get the “creamed corn”.

Palate: A little more “Angustifolia” than the [gentry sample from this producer] but my oh my that’s only because I know and have a reference point on hand. Some heat on entry. Those warm sweet spices explode on the finish with a waft of vanilla. A little more grip to the texture, a wonderful “florality” I’ll call coconut blossom for now. Very tail end has some earth.

Thoughts: Out of this world, what a great gateway to the wonderful world of Nuevo Leon.

Conclusion and “t8ke” scale rating: 7/10. Tempted to go to an 8. Every sip is different.

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