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Maguey Melate Madre Cuishe – Silvestre Jimenez Peralta

May 4, 2022

Savory and briny note that’s difficult to place on the nose. Mushroom risotto, scrambled eggs, onions, salted tomatoes, and roasted poblano. There’s a chemical funk to it like iodine. Heavy mineral water – wet concrete, asphalt, a bit of sulfur. It’s not an inviting nose every so often. Sprouts, alfalfa, chives. Very odd nose on this expression.

Very unique sour lemon flavor as it coats my palate followed by a big kick of capsaicin. Those minerals from the nose are present on the palate as well and reminds me of well water that needs balanced. Calcium, metallic, sodium. Plaster, concrete, mortar. Seaweed, nori, raw carrots, turnips and radishes. Very odd composition of flavors.

The finish leans more into those herbal and grassy notes with a much kinder flavor profile. A metallic and antiseptic flavor still sits on the palate and is not appealing to me. Celery greens, spring mix, arugula. Citrusy vinaigrette – olive oil, black pepper, citrus pith.

This opened up a bit over time and that initial kick of lemon really intrigued me. It didn’t last long however and the minerality took too much away from the good aspects. There is a lot of terrior in this glass. From the water source to the still, I felt like I could taste it all.

Maguey Melate Inaequidens – Miguel Ortiz Villagomez

May 4, 2022

Batch: 48.8% Mini Bottle

Wild nose. Mushrooms, earth, mango, banana peels. It’s got a fermented, yeasty quality. Like a fermented sweet agave nectar, mead-like quality. Coconut water. Dulce de leche. Cheesecake, cream cheese. When you first pour it that lactic quality is very present. Let it sit a bit and more sweeter, overripe, fruits come out.

Noticeably thin on the palate initially. As I was sipping the texture really started to transform in the glass. Incredibly floral. Dryer sheets. Lots of funky woodiness. Orange liquor, lime leaf. Very sweet with those overripe fruit notes then takes a turn with a more dry and bitter profile. Banana skin, plantain. More mushrooms. Creamed butter.

Long and dry finish. The funky fruit gives me summer mead vibes again on the finish. Lactic sour beer. Green lumber. Bit of a chemical note that I do not enjoy. Slightly antiseptic, sterile bandage note.

Rayo Seco Sacatoro

Apr 17, 2022

Lot 202105 Bottle 414/432
Familiar earthy, wet gravel-like nose. Lots of heavy minerality scents. It is sweet, but in a leafy and floral kind of way. Aloe vera, medicinal. Floral citrus blossoms. Cherry wood, cedar lumber and sawdust. Roasted agave. Plantains. Root vegetables – sweet potato and carrots. Allspice dram with a demerara raw sugar flavor. Oyster sauce. Lastly, a sweet and sour vinegar, Kansas City BBQ sauce flavor.

At first sip, you get this really foreign tropical fruit flavor. Fresh apricots. Mineral water and a slight aluminum or cast iron metallic taste. Citrus leaning sweetness with more bitter pithy flavors. Juicy Fruit aluminum gum wrapper.

There’s a really bold clove cigarette flavor on the finish with that minerality maintaining throughout. Slight salinity. Lime peel and leaf. Very clean flavors if a bit dry. The citrus note nags at your palate with a bitter lemon tea flavor.

This is an equally delicious batch from Israel. I however give the Maguey Melate batch just a slight edge as I preferred the briny sourness vs the more vegetal and tobacco finish of the Rayo Seco.

Cuentacuentos Cuish

Apr 7, 2022

Lot: MGG13C September 2020

Incredibly vegetal nose to this one like an alfalfa shake. Lots of citrus oils both lemon and lime. Lime leaf, avocado oil richness. Dark literal earth flavors. Slate, gravel, calcium. Hint of tropical acidity. Chili spiced, glazed and grilled pineapple. A touch of cinnamon. Aloe vera, agave like medicinal aromas.

Bold earth and minerals. Really rich flavors on the palate. Mushrooms. Match sticks, sulfur. Some sweetness is here but not a ton. Pine needles, tobacco, clove cigarettes. Really nice spice with peppercorn, woody cinnamon bark and all-spice berries. Wood and resins. Leaves, hay and dried grass. Green onion and scallions. More of those simple herbs like parsley and spouts

Much more vegetal finish. Dried tobacco and black tea. Pine sap. Agave syrup. Mint, parsley, chives, and celery root. Walnuts, pecans. Boggy moss flavors. Green lumber with a virgin oak spice quality. A very dry lingering finish.

The more I tasted the more I just kind of felt meh about it. Just very one dimensional flavors and having rested an equal amount of time, I felt like this didn’t improve like the other samples from Serafín did. Just a bit disappointed in the flavor after a rather interesting nose.

Cuentacuentos Tepeztate – Serafín

Apr 7, 2022

Lot: MGG12T September 2020

Banana skin or leaves on the nose. Wet 2×4 and plywood lumber. Lots of subtle vegetables – green chilies, raw potato, mild white onion, tomatillo. Some other fruit esters peek out but more align with sweet vegetables like tomato, green beans and cucumbers. With a bit more time in the glass some blue and blackberry comes out. It’s pleasant on the nose if a bit unassuming at first.

Those lumber notes really stand out on the palate here. Roasted chilies with some slight acidity like grilled onions and lemons. Some dried grasses and hay with a limestone water minerality. Calcium rich water. A hearty toasted spice blend – All-spice, maybe a bit of fennel seed, pepper corn, red pepper flakes.

Mellow smoke with similar woodsy notes. On the dry side for a finish. Eases you in with some bitterness that’s rather pleasant. Still that big grass and hay flavor as well. It’s lacking that acidity or sugars from the palate. I sat the glass down to taste another sample and when returning 15 minutes later the berry and honey sweetness came out more on the finish.

Really well made and a great introductory bottle. I think just that additional rest time will really allow you to dive deeper and explore this bottle much more than just a 2 ounce sample can.

Cuentacuentos Espadin Ancestral

Apr 7, 2022

Lot: ACR033 ESP-A July 2020

Big tropical bubble gum nose. Mellows out fairly quickly with a more vegetal, green aroma. Lumber yard and a unique spice. Plum, raspberry, mango, kiwi. Bubble gum spices and herbs – ginger, cardamom, cotton candy artificial “Blue Raspberry”. It’s rather sweet smelling. Lemon verbena, stevia. Clover and violets.

The fruity and sweet nose is not present at all on the palate. Bitter, sour cherries. Tart. Cigar ash, tobacco leaves. The floral notes bring a dried tea flavor. Leaves, kindling, a touch of hay. Definitely changes to a more bitter profile with hints of those tropical flavors catching the sides of your tongue. Flavored tobacco. Maple, cherry wood. Hazelnuts. Faint orange blossom water.

A lingering murmur of smoke on the finish. Earth, gravel. Toasted spices – Nutmeg, pink peppercorn, dried ginger. Again, just wisps of fruit when you exhale after a sip. Unripe strawberry. Cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg. Lime and diet RC-Cola.

This honestly is a great mix of flavors except for this back and forth sweet to bitterness that I experienced. Compared to other Espadin I’ve had, this is outstanding. On it’s own, it’s just not that strong of an expression to me. Will have to revisit this one and perhaps try more from this producer.

Cuentacuentos Coyote Ancestral

Apr 7, 2022

Lot: ACR046 Dec 2020

It’s a whole orchard in a glass. Apples, honey, wood bark. With time, that sweetness predictably fades for more spiced, herbal, vegetables notes. Cilantro, coriander. Earthy walnuts. Lime leaf, grapefruit peel. Sesame oil rich savory aromas. Maple sap in fresh cut lumber. Grasses and edible flowers. It’s mostly sweet on the nose with a savory undertone to it.

An amazingly intense dried tobacco flavor on the palate. A really fine cigar, rich oaky humidor. Expressed orange peel. Green coffee beans. Roasted carrots and yams. A touch of ash but not in a smoky way but more like a charcoal minerality. Salted peaches. Burnt ends with herb butter. Pine needles.

Nice mildly dry oak. Moss and dry grass. It’s like a tannic red wine finish. Dark fruits – plums, figs, and currents. Grape skins. That charcoal ashy flavor is present on the finish as well. It’s a musky campfire. Lots of those herbs and grasses. Sage, rosemary, celery, and parsley. Bit of old leather with a pine wood resin flavor.

I absolutely love this. It’s unassuming and full bodied. Well rounded fruit and woodsy flavors.

La Luna Pechuga de Jabali

Mar 24, 2022

Lot 31 – 48.51%

Right off the nose you get intense stew aromas. Like walking into a kitchen with a slow cooker dinner ready to eat. Roasted fennel, rosemary, thyme, and sage. Some raw potato and root vegetables. Barnyard like scents – wet mulch, moss, and hay. Floral dryer sheets. A fresh green lumber smell. Peppercorns, all-spice berries, with a very light lime leaf. A bit more brine than distinct meat salinity that I expected. Kind of like a salt cure.

On the palate there’s a slightly sour or fermented flavor. Salted green tomatoes. Almonds and cashews. Oatmeal. Mushrooms with a lox and capers. Tinge of wood smoke in there at the back of the palate. I’m missing those herbs I got off the nose. There is also an unexpected sweetness like sugared dates and cooked granny smith apples. A very unique flavor for sure.

The finish has that herb kick I was searching for. Dry rosemary and sage. The stew flavors are also returning with more fennel and green onion. A bit of aniseed and all-spice. Bitter earthy wood flavors like a wet, mossy forest floor. Mushrooms coming through well and true. Kind of a balancing act with the nose and finish complimenting each other.

This is a rather unique mezcal. I expected more salinity but what I got was fantastic nonetheless. I really rather enjoyed the fennel, aniseed flavors in combination with a tomato based stew. It really grounded the flavors against the earthy root vegetables. Comparing this against the Borrego from Antonio Sonido, I might lean more towards Mal Bien’s offering if I was looking for a bit more salt than the tangy brine flavors I got from this La Luna bottle. The addition of fruit really played a nice a role in the recipe. It reminds me of thanksgiving stuffing with spiced sausage and apples.

Lamata A’hl Mai

Mar 3, 2022

This starts out as a fruit smoothie on the nose. It’s tart with some raspberry and cherries, ripe cantaloupe and blueberries. I’ve had this happen to me before so I let it sit just a bit in my copita. Over time, the flavors changed in my glass and that fruit turned to these wonderful savory notes. Sweet potatoes, yams, roasted carrots and butternut squash. The fruit wasn’t entirely gone, but some citrus zest and oils came forward instead.

The flavors on the palate are quite harmonious. Savory and slightly sweet like a sweet potato pie with browned butter and burnt sugars. Green beans and grilled onions compliment a nice capsaicin kick that brings a welcoming warming spicy sensation to the tongue. Citrus, apricot marmalade glaze over fresh vegetables. There’s a savory salty note that reminds me of nori. It’s got this slight brine note that I really enjoy. Some bitter tea leaves and leans slightly earthy or mineral as it sits on your palate. Finally a faint floral quality at the very end.

Pinewood and roasted onions on the finish. It’s more of a green wood flavor. Some nice salinity and slightly dry finish. Raw salad greens. Notably metallic like stainless steel or tin. A high mineral content sparkling water flavor. Raw brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas, and edamame.

NETA Tepextate, Cucharillo, Madrecuixe, Espadín, Bicuixe, and Tobalá

Dec 17, 2021

Delicate scents waft around in my glass. There’s some grapefruit or lemon oil, along with a big herbal, earthy quality. Wood, sawdust, and leather. Some very light fruit – pear, apple, melon. Vegetal elements like season cooked stew – Carrots, potatoes and parsnips seasoned with Thyme and rosemary. It’s the Irish whiskey of mezcal – just extremely light, delicate agave.

I nice sweetness to this. A mix between honey and stevia. Not quite fake sugar flavors. A smoke element is definitely present. Earthy root veg, mushrooms, and a savory onion soup.

Light earthy notes on the finish. Some wood smoke and it makes me perceive it as dry. It’s unfortunately rather short on flavor. You are left with just a lingering dirt and wood.

Honestly it’s not awful but it’s certainly lacking flavor. It needs more focus as to what those flavors need to be in the glass and then turn it up all the way.

Mal Bien Bicuixe / Espadín – Cortes

Dec 17, 2021

The nose has this mild lactic quality funk to it. There’s a lot of savory spices. The spice is so distinct, I think you could pull them out instantly. Full of all these botanicals, seeds and herbs. Cinnamon, clove and anise. A bright sweet onion scent. Woodsy grasses and a small touch of salinity.

I had quite a bizarre reaction on the first sip of this mezcal. It was a shock to the palate like expecting to have a glass of soda and instead you take a sip of soy sauce. A ton of these spiced meat savory flavors. It’s still the same distinct spice notes I got on the nose. It tastes almost deliberate like a pechuga. Finally there is a short burst of sweetness that tastes like demerara sugar.

Very pleasant to sip. Dried lumber and those spice flavors following through on to the finish. Bitter salad greens. Herbal tea. With more air this went from a more bitter spirits to a balanced and even slightly sweet.

I’m really glad I gave this one more air time to mature in the glass. It was really rather enjoyable but you wouldn’t have experienced those flavors had you not known to let it sit for a while.

Mal Bien Mexicano – Sanchez

Dec 17, 2021

Very confusing mix of chemical anti-septic and banana peels on the nose. It’s like those Crayola fruit scented markers. Plastic, tape, paint like aromas. Berries that you forgot about in the back of your fruit and vegetable drawer. Dried leaves and hay. Raw honey or agave nectar. This starts out really abrasive on the nose for me, but with some air I get more delicate sweet lemon tea. Finally some slight salty brininess.

Lots of burnt herbs and grass on the palate. Heavily chemical forward flavors. A mild artificial citrus note that is not pleasant. Cleaning detergent. Not a very enjoyable sip.

A very familiar “Is it soap or cilantro?”. I love cilantro but the finish is actually soapy. Burnt matches and this kind of minerality to it.

I’m really not a fan of this one. Last box I also felt the arroqueño was lacking. I do not enjoy the burnt herbs and plastic, chemical flavors. A bit below average for me. I’ll have to come back to this one another time and see if anything changes in the bottle.

Cuentacuentos Seemanniana

Dec 4, 2021

It’s a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables and minerals. It’s sweet with a bit of chemical-like woodsy scent. Roasted asparagus, raw carrots, and bell peppers. “Tropical” fruit flavored gum, like fruit punch flavors. Watermelon, kiwi, and mango. A mild slightly soapy cilantro vibe. Sawdust and wood glue with some two-cycle fuel. The longer it sits, the more earthy scents come out and the sweeter fruits start to fade.

The fruit has nearly entirely dissipated on the palate with woods and vegetables coming out. I get more dried and roasted chili peppers. The earthy notes are very present and welcomed. It’s a bit like washing dirt off mushrooms. Some burnt ends savory notes also come out. One odd note to point out is a slight floral perfume.

On the finish it becomes slightly astringent and on the dry side. The artificial fruit flavors are back along with more wood notes. It’s a bit of a wood shop – oils, glue and sawdust again. Paste wax even. Possibly even oil paints. The finish just seems like a dry champagne. From start to finish that fruity sweetness evolves into a more woodsy dry flavor. It’s simply wonderful.

8/10

Lot: ACR052 April 2021

Initially it was a very chemical grassy nose. I let it sit and that chemical note faded a bit into the background. Earthy aromas – potatoes, carrots, fennel and green onions. Mild rice wine vinegar note. Medicinal, artificial cherry cough syrup. Heavy mineral and metallic. Aluminum. Canned Orange Juice. A slight hint of mint and a light fruity note.

Lots of punchy capsaicin heat on the palate. Black tea, touch of lemon and some cinnamon. Basically describing a hot toddy. Fruit extract, agave nectar sweetness. Very enjoyable but not really something that challenges you. Very straight forward roasted agave flavors.

The finish reminds me of a dry riesling. Tropical fruit and herbaceous. Mint, lime, citrus oil, roasted agave. The grassy flavors bring the dried tea and tobacco notes. Sweet agave nectar and grape or raisin fruity flavors. Finish is a bit on the short side but very good.

I really do enjoy this one but it’s not something that you have to inspect much. You can just sit back and enjoy without much thought. It’s a well made spirit without many negative qualities. Upon reveal, I should note my previous review of this expression was distilled by his grandfather, Ángel Cruz Calvo. Still some similarities between my notes especially the wine flavors.

7/10

Mal Bien Zacatoro – Barranca

Dec 3, 2021

With the first few whiffs from my glass, it had a very unique and earthy scent. Almost like a rich soil or compost heap. Banana peels, sweet vegetables like carrots (along with the greens), and a bit of sweet potato. A bold tropical note came out under the alcohol vapors. Some guava and pineapple along with the banana. The more I let it sit in my glass, the more I get a bit more green wood and tea scents. A slight cast iron metallic note is lurking in the background as well. A wonderful balance of sweet fruits and mineral rich soils.

Right off the bat on the palate I have to comment on the velvety viscosity of this mezcal. It’s simply wonderful and tastes amazingly cohesive. All of the flavors are working in perfect harmony. There’s a lot of spices that remind me of another recent Mal Bien release – Borrego pechuga from Sonido. Lots of savory notes with some spiced richness that I rather enjoyed. A lot of kiln dried lumber flavors. All sorts of clove, nutmeg and peppercorns. There are some familiar vegetal notes but the spices almost remind me of an Asian dish. Lastly there is an odd, but amazing, flavor of muesli. Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits with a bit of cereal grains. Very fun flavors I really enjoy.

All of these flavors are also present on the finish. It’s again, cohesive notes from start to finish. I get this cashew and broccoli stir fry flavor from the finish. Some Chinese 5 Spice and soy. Smoked paprika. Chipotle chilies. Very refined and pleasantly warming finish.

I cannot recall another spirit so consistent with it’s flavor profile. It’s a testament to the experience of Don Ciro making an amazing mezcal that I just cannot put down.

5 Sentidos Tobaziche – Sergio Juarez

Aug 21, 2021

Batch: TBZSP04-20 Bottle #11/50 (Distilled by Luis)

Wide range on the nose. A bit of earth and wood with a lot of herbal green qualities and metallic minerality. A pine evergreen scent. Not so much juniper but in a similar christmas tree vibe. Heavy on the dried vegetables and herbs. Leather, wet dirt, and slate. Burnt spices like you toasted them too long in a pan. Burnt sage smokiness. Lots of metals – Copper, Tin, and Aluminum flavors. A mild hay and marsh grasses.

A really high acidity kick on the first sip. Lemons and salt. That earthy flavor comes through as mushrooms and potatoes. Lots and lots of wood smoke on the palate. I imagine a potato casserole with cream of mushroom and lemons.

The finish keeps with the heavy smoke theme. Starchy root vegetables. Slight buttery flavor like severed over asparagus or artichoke. The burnt herbs and spices is the best way I can describe this. It’s like you forgot them on the stove for just a bit longer than they needed.

This is a very mood dependent glass. The burnt smoky flavors start to grow on you a bit and it really toes the line of acridity. It’s a real punch you in the face smoke. If the finish was drier, I would argue this would be awful. Instead you kind of are left with a salty, lemon brine note that’s surprisingly palatable.

Maguey Melate Ensamble – Artemio Garcia Cruz

Aug 19, 2021

Batch: ART-ENS-001 Bottle #152

Very antiseptic like scent. Fruit skins. Pineapple fronds. Potato peels. Very clean.

Clean flavor comes through on the palate. I wouldn’t say boring but not impressing me. A mild vegetable like celery or cucumber water. A bit of capsaicin brings out some character. Earthy and dirt. Slight bitterness.

Burn herbs and smoked meats. Very short finish unfortunately.

Not my copita of mezcal for sure. This is very meh overall to me. I got a bit of some interesting notes on the finish and then it just dissipated before I could really appreciate it. I’ve tried it well rested and sipped immediately after pouring and it’s not doing anything for me.

Maguey Melate Arroqueno – Rosario Ángeles Vasquéz

Aug 19, 2021

Batch: ROS-ARR-001 Bottle #210

Butter/Cream on the nose. Pepper and paprika. Fried rice/peanuts. Oyster sauce. Sweet banana peppers.

Mild lactic note like warm cream cheese on the palate. Very green and raw flavors. A bit of an allspice note. Weird tinge of off-flavor citrus. Like a sweet lime artificial flavor. Wet hay. Mild leather. Slightly salty.

Very herbal and grassy finish. Nice dry flavor without the dry texture. Like sparking mineral water carbonation. Very pleasant finish. Heavy on dried tea notes.

A fun bottle that I really rather enjoy. Some say the clay takes it too far into the funky but I really like exploring this bottle. For me the salinity and lactic notes push this high on my list.

Maguey Melate Espadin – Lidia Hernández Hernández

Aug 19, 2021

Batch: LID-ESP-001 Bottle #166

Sawdust and green wood aromas. A touch of cleaning agent. Bitter citrus pith/oils. Cauliflower/cucumber water. Oddly Pecans for a final note on the nose.

It tastes like a thin sour lemonade. Grassy and slightly herbal. It’s a slightly earthy smoke but not pungent.

Short and on this sweet/sour lemon side. Great mouthfeel. None of the dry grassy notes from the palate.

I feel like this is a really unique Espadin just overshadowed by many other more unique bottles from Maguey Melate. Overall though it’s something I would use as an introductory bottle to showcase how different even an Esapdin can be.

Maguey Melate Sacatoro – Israel Petronilo Apolinar

Aug 10, 2021

ISR-SAC-001 Bottle #86

Right from the first pour you get a bloom of woof fire and ash. It’s a deep earth and charcoal note. Long field grasses. Some root vegetables. As it sits in the glass the fire mellows into a low charcoal fire. It just reminds me of a crisp autumn night on the nose.

The initial sip takes you by surprise. It’s a salty sweetness you don’t expect from the nose. It’s not a BBQ but this lemon and olives tang. Smoked paprika. A savory dry rub. If you’ve had Trader Joe’s Chili Lime rub, this scent fills your nose as you sip.

The salinity savory notes come right through on the finish. It’s a rich salted cured meat flavor. A bit of citrus oil lingers as well. It’s like grilled lemons cooking over a fire.

There is a lot to unpack here in this bottle. It’s complex and interesting to explore. To me this tastes like a pickled turmeric lemon that’s a common Indian condiment/side. You get that briny saltiness but also the sweet and sour notes of the lemon. It’s tangy and smoky and simply delicious.

Maguey Melate Tequilana – Victor & Emanuel Ramos

Aug 9, 2021

RAM-TEQ-001 Bottle #629

This is incredibly subtle and light on the nose. I get a slight vegetable and familiar agave notes. Earthy grasses and fresh bell pepper. It’s clean and raw flavors.

On the palate I got this bright citrus note with an incredible texture. Creamed sugar with lemon oils. A bit of an antiseptic flavor filled my nose while I was sipping. Some roasted vegetables hits after that first sip burn has mellowed your palate.

That roasted pepper flavor is back on the finish with a fresh popsicle stick woody flavor. Dry finish, very similar to a previous Ramos bottle I’ve tried but this time that dryness lead into a salty note. The salinity encourages you to enjoy another sip.

This is a very very good bottle and it’s well made. I find this is more interesting than many Tequilas and Espadíns I’ve had. It’s an exciting Tequilana and it’s a bottle you’ll want to revisit often.

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