2017, 47.1% abv. first barril. gorgeous and full. the aromas are that of a shaded river bank, vegetal sweetness, big high tone fruits. vivid karwinskii deliciousness. faint clay on the finish. priced a bit aggressively but this is damn fine mezcal. 4.5 stars.
MJ09-14. impossible to pick apart. everything is so beautifully and fully integrated that it’s just its own beautiful whole. very bright and fragrant, floral, sweet. if this had a silkier mouthfeel, it would be my new favorite. lights out good.
lot A-37-M-14, the legendary october ’14 90/10 blend. scoured the internet based on the reviews for this particular batch, and after much ado found a store that had it. initial impressions upon opening skewed towards underwhelmed but it’s settled into itself considerably. fragrant, sweet, and spicy. a touch thin on the palate and medicinal on the finish. 4 stars.
lot A-08-M-17. 100% mexicano. 51.9%. peaches and gingerbread, buttery undertone that gives this immense richness. gets a bit floral as it opens up. a hint of maple syrup kicks in during the long, sweet and earthy finish. radiant warmth as it goes down. very autumnal. mel torme singing “agave roasting on an open fire.” not particularly complex, just stupid delicious. 5 stars.
edition 07, 2014, 47.8%, pedro vasquez. one of the sweetest mezcals ive come across. deep, sugary nose with a bit of ethanol. tastes a bit like drugstore rainbow sherbet with mouthwatering acidity. a touch soapy, with ashy bitterness on the finish.
batch L-00401, ‘08, don lorenzo angeles mendoza. fragrant and floral nose that makes it seem more like a sake or gin. roasted agave becomes more apparent as it opens. drinks mineral spring water. smooth and very refreshing. clay is at the upper end of the threshold for being pleasant, which is a great thing. easy and very pleasant drinking with this one.
batch RMP-05, 10 year old espadin, ‘17 harvest, bottle 170/440, edgar angeles carreno. by far the best pechuga ive had. smells of cream of mushroom, rotisserie chicken, tropical fruits on the fringes and that gorgeous real minero clay. big flavors that, like jonny mentioned, pull in every which way while maintaining a deft balance. rotisserie chicken and fruit punch, earthy clay and salty minerality, high tone acidity and buzzy alcohol hum. decidedly unsubtle, gorgeously harmonized. amazing amazing amazing mezcal.
lot PUE-161. took a while to come around after opening (where it was boozy and abrasive), but it’s settled into quite the mezcal. big time ripe tropical fruit tempered by woody notes and rich earthiness on the palate. finish gets a touch medicinal. almost a 5. neck and neck with the arroqueno for favorite in the DM range.
lighter and greener than the other jabalis i’ve tried. very nice, but i’m all about the rey campero jabali. that one negates the existence of the DM for me.
one of the first bottles i bought while dipping my toe into the world of mezcal. 40% abv with no information on the bottle. it’s decent enough and an extremely easy (and somewhat dull) sipper, but it’s aggressively priced for what it is. spend your $95 on literally anything else.
edition 4, batch 30CDI617, ‘17, bottle 273/721. islay mezcal. well, relative to the other stuff i’ve been drinking, this is pretty aggressively smokey. campfire, vegetable ash, waxy fruit, savory minerality, medicinal and slightly bitter finish. reminds me of ardbeg. big, bold, tasty. the end of the dram was considerably less smoke-forward.
4.5. bubblegum, buttery, vaguely floral, that deep, musty vegetal quality i get from karwinskiis, all underlined by a hint of acetone on the nose. really fascinating to smell. entry is super buttery in both flavor and texture, followed by don valente’s lovely signature of saline and minerals, rich sweetness that’s at once fruity and vegetal, with a dry finish that verges on astringent. based on just this and mezcalero #16, don valente is my dude. i need to find some mezcalero special bottling #2.
for having rested ~3 years in tank, the teeth are still pretty sharp on this one. ethanol presence is a bit unwieldy. the nose for me was incredibly boozy, with hints of clay and fresh agave seeping through. drinks very nicely but alcohol presence is way more aggressive than 48.5% abv would suggest. “post-rain farmland” nails it, though for me the sweetness was more along the lines of cucumber and unripe papaya. pretty good kick before the long, anonymously sweet finish. this is a case of high expectations based on specs–love arroqueno, love mezcalero, aged 3 years–that weren’t quite met by what is otherwise a very good mezcal.
lot D-5002-T, Sept ’14, bottle 555/670. sweet peppers, lightly floral, almost perfume-like on the nose. salt on entry followed verdant sweetness and cracked black pepper, fragrant finish.
lot D5008A-J, Oct ’17, bottle 722/1418. one of my favorites. smells of compost, caramel, permanent marker. add overripe tropical fruit and buzzy pepperiness to the party on the palate, with a round, deep, almost perfumed sweet undertone (reminiscent of poutpourri) that carries it all out and lingers into the finish. so interesting that it’s actively fun to imbibe, but goddamn delicious first.
lot D5001-A, Aug ’14, bottle 254/382. waxy orchard fruit and blossoms on the nose. skews tropical asa it sits. pretty significant ethanol presence. bright, fruity, a little salty. nothing distinct but very pleasant. drinks hotter than 48.7%. i based my love of arroqueno off of del maguey’s, and i have to say it’s a weird first impression to have of the agave, as every other arroqueno i’ve tasted is very different to it, and similar amongst each other. assuming it’s the clay.
lot D5001-OB, Oct ’14, bottle 505/662. super funky nose, like mezcal and unfiltered sake had a baby, with a splash of soy sauce. big, earthy agave takes over on the palate with a hit of umami-inducing salinity and a bit of musky funk to round things out. weird and moreish. love this stuff.
batch D5002-3M from Aug ’15, bottle 131/138. citrus without any of the acidity, old books, dried chiles, faintly waxy. the sweetness on the palate has a bit of an aspartame-like medicinal quality i’m not in love with. very complex and interesting, more so than it is delicious. wanted to like this more based on how much i love rey campero’s jabali and tepextate. still very good and very unique.
edition 05, 2015, bottle 789/1000, 47.8% abv, valentin cortes & gregorio martinez. almost as if they forgot to add anything to this. any sort of extra flavor from the pechuga process is fairly difficult to detect, especially because this spirit is so goddamn hot. nose and palate are dominated by acetone. occasionally hints of apple and vague baking spices come through. the most disappointing bottle in my collection. hopefully time and oxidation will bring this one around.
pretty sure this was edition 4. candied banana and bright tropical fruit on the nose, palate follows suit with a big hit of herbaceousness to balance things out. arroquenos seem to drink boozier than other agaves for me and this was no exception, though that bite isn’t entirely unwanted when drinking mezcal. as far as el jolgorio is concerned, between this and the jabali, i’d go with this.
edition 2. 4.5 stars. ton going on here. not as mindful sipping this as i would’ve liked, as i was perhaps a little overly enthused about spotting this on the bar at the local mezcaleria. very delicious, but i will say there was a bitterness on the finish that i wouldn’t consider a virtue. glad to have tried it, especially after more or less giving up the search.