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Dos Hombres Espadin

Jul 4, 2022

Batch #OA-14
Bottle #3186

This is enjoyable as a sipper. It has sufficient complexity to keep things interesting if not a bit on the pricey side for a cultivated espadin.

This smells of apples and citrus fruits, mixed in with the scents of cooked and partly burned agave. Slight smells of softwood from the pine vats in which it was fermented.

Tasting this on a hot afternoon, you get that first hit of smoke or of burnt agave and then follows up with apples and a sticky sweetness of mango. The cooking process of roasting the agave in volcanic stone ovens using firewood, makes for for this brunt agave and a smokey flavour that sticks around for a while. There’s a certain viscosity of this espadin that is welcome and the mouth feel is a light oil coating on your cheeks which keeps these flavors around for a few minutes after each sip.

La Higuera Leiophyllum

Jun 26, 2022

Lot 14 ABV 45%

This is sort of sweet and sort of sour with a salinity that is almost like jars of green olives or capers. The mix of flavors is well balanced which would make for both an affordable sipper or something that could make for a really interesting Paloma or a Negroni that would leave you wondering “what the hell is this.” It’s bloody lovely, that’s what it is.

Kimo Sabe Joven Albedo

Jun 23, 2022

This is one of the least offensive Mezcals that I have ever had. There is nothing challenging and nothing particularly interesting in this bottle.

This ensamble claims Agave Americana, Angustifolia, Karwinskii, Marmorata, Potatorum and Tequilana. The only thing that I can tell is that it does indeed include Tequilana and I would be willing to bet that Tequilana is the majority of the mix and the remainder are just found in the vicinity.

This is Mezcal in the same way that Casamigos is Tequila. It starts with a brand working with distillery that will distill anything for a taste profile that is curated by a brand manager in the US. I’m sure that there are people who find that Mezcal is too challenging and this may be an ideal agave alcohol to mix with sugary cocktails.

There is nothing in this bottle that imparts terroir or gives any insight into the complexities of the agave plant.

Mal Bien Alto

Jun 19, 2022

Lot: 03/20 IRM
First smells are from fresh out of the garden green peppers with a sweet herbaceous nose.
Tasing this the first time, you get those fresh green peppers, but it comes with a lactic/cheesiness. Definitely a lot of funk adjacent to the fresh peppers with a certain sweetness that makes for a wonderfully complex distillate. I’ve now finished this bottle and it’s always an entertaining sip. Michoacán has been constantly surprising me. Maybe I’ve been lucky but every time I’ve had a Michoacán Mezcal, it feels like they are saying to Oaxacan Palenques “hold my copita” and then doing something differently enough that it’s underscoring the art of this process.

Mal Bien Mexicano – Sanchez

Dec 15, 2021

47.6% April, 2021
In a tumbler, I’m smelling wet spring grasses and damp earth, like a morning in rainy season at the edge of the desert.

The first taste leads with a sweetness carrying the earthen and grassy tastes from the nose, layering on the mesquite smoke that was used to roast the Mexicano. This has a viscosity and mouthfeel that makes me think it was distilled in clay pots but it was in distilled copper alembics. It’s a creamy, sweet and smokey distillado that is quickly becoming one of my favourites…. If I could only get more of this.

…*&$K it, I’m giving this a 5 star rating. I love everything that is going on in this glass.

La Higuera Cedrosanum

Nov 18, 2021

Date 06/2018, Lot 6, Bottle 126 of 1800

You’ve been driving for 4 days into the desert and it’s been a while since you’ve had a bath. The campfire was set up early and the sun is setting over the horizon. This Sotol tastes like that moment, where you’re watching the hot sun go down on a 100 degree day, and your pants and boots have the smell of sweat, denim and leather. You’ve got that fire going, made from underbrush and whatever you could clear. The smoke is permeating everything like it has for the past 3 nights. 

This may be a favourite of mine. The smokiness is intense on the nose and it continues from the first taste through the long tail. I’m also a fan of Islay single malts and smokey and earthy wines like Carmenere or Bordeaux from Sainte Emilion and Pomerol. This fits right in with those flavor profiles.

Vago Elote – Hijos de Aquilino Garcia

Sep 24, 2021

Mezcal Vago – Elote
49.9% – February 2021
Lot A-10-EL-21
I misunderstood the label initially and thought that this was a mixto of corn in the fermentation and found out much later that it is more like a pechuga with roasted corn used as a flavoring element in the still during the 2nd distillation. This is what makes the difference between corn having a sweetening effect to the roasted corn having umami flavours filling out savory grilled buttered corn flavours. The smoke of the roasting of the Espadin lingers in the background. The nose is delightful with full savory roasting smells in addition to agave cooked over a wood fire. The higher ABV of 49.9% of this batch makes for a lovely mouth feel and the long tail of the taste includes those roasted corn notes throughout.

Sotoleros Mario and César

Aug 4, 2021

Lot 01 – Bottle 5/48

The thing I love about Sotol is that it tastes like the desert. If you’ve ever swan dived off a sand-dune and ended up with a mouthful of sand, it’s horrid (the sand) but silica, iron, calcified organics among other minerals make up that sand…. That is where I get my references for minerality. What I get from this Dasylirion Leiophyllum Sotol is that mineral taste that includes iron and clay. This is not a Sotol that will coat your mouth and leave your cheeks with a lingering viscous feeling. Instead you get a long pleasant tastes on your tongue that starts off mineral and ends up tasting of pine and earth.

Breathing in this sotol you get tastes of burning pine. Not an overwhelming smoke but of a fire further out on the horizon mixed with desert grasses laden with dew at dawn.

Initially I thought that this was expensive, but after hearing of the challenges of producing and exporting Sotol, I’m just very happy that I had the opportunity to be able to purchase a bottle.

El Silencio Espadin

Jun 27, 2021

Lote: 3119

A very reasonable Espadin with terrific smokey flavour. Nothing remarkable on the nose aside from an expected vegetal/smokiness. This is good but it’s not exceptional. If you needed mezcal for a mixer this fits the price and the quality for mixing into cocktails. As a sipper, this is mediocre.

I appreciate the bottle size as it fits into my liquor cabinet. Other mezcal in taller bottles never fit. This fits in perfect with bourbons and rum and other mixers.

I’d be interested to know more about the production process and the wood used in roasting the agave, and whether it’s consistent between batches

Verde Momento

Jun 25, 2021

Lote: 1/2020 – Espadin

As one of the few Mezcals that are available at the LCBO in Canada, I’m going to be reviewing this from the perspective of Canadian availability.

This is a solid expression of an Espadin based Mezcal and great entry point for Canadians wanting to explore this agave distillate. Getting some funky vegetal and smokey flavours on the nose. In my opinion best served at body temperature or somewhere between 26-35 Celsius.

When tasting, the first thing you will notice is the smokiness. Verde Momento uses Ocote (pine), Red Oak and Pepper tree in cooking the maguey. This is different from tequila which is usually steamed. These flavours during the roasting are then part of the flavours that develop during fermentation and pass into the 2 distillations that make up this Mezcal.

Aside from the smoke I’m getting a grassy vegetal funkiness. This vegetal decay which may sound offensive is in my opinion quite welcome. This adds a complexity that gives insight into the aging desert plant that makes up Mezcal. Unlike bourbon and scotch that are aged-in-barrel, mezcal is aged in the field. Espadin is grown for 5-8 years before it’s harvested. 

Verde Momento also claims that 10% of the profits are returned to the communities for sustainability of the flora that make up the local ecosystems.

At $38 USD, this is a great value and at $60 CAD It may sound expensive but the LCBO has irrational price controls and if a bottle of Jamesons is $38, this is (relatively) a steal at $60.

Mal Bien Espadin – Morales

Jun 17, 2021

Mal Bien – Espadin 45.5%
Batch: CLM12

First sniff gets you a lot of roasted agave, cedar and citrus scents and it all works together in balance. No one scent dominates.

91 proof Mezcal that is smooth and easily consumed. Lovely smokey taste without any acrid intensity. The bottle was at 73F and the patio was a roasty 105F which made this room temperature Mezcal refreshingly cool in comparison. Initial sweet flavours of agave followed by a sourness that developed along the sides of my mouth and hung around for a long finish that included some black pepper and leather flavours.

This is an excellent value and is such a good sipper, I don’t think I’d ever want to mix this into a cocktail.

Alipus San Baltazar

Jun 12, 2021

Lote: SBG012/19
Bot. 154/1419

On the nose I’m picking up Orange peels and light citrus notes with a mineral and light woody backend, think pencil shavings and not strong mesquite.

I was drinking this alongside a tomato sauce with mushrooms and pasta which had a very pleasant affect on the roasted tomatoes and onions. I feel it brought out a sweetness in the tomatoes that made for a great pairing or maybe I was half in the bag and everything was just alright.

The sweetness mixed with the smokiness was an excellent combination with roasted tomatoes and smoked hard cheese.

Rey Campero Espadin

Jun 3, 2021

Lot DS033-E, May 2020, Bottle: 4239/6465

On the nose: Anise and dried desert vegetation and maybe a little bit of old leather.

In a tumbler glass served at 23C, I’m getting an interesting lightly oily viscosity that coats the mouth in a very pleasant way, while the 48% ABV is making that coating a little bit bitey on the tongue when you inhale.

Mineral start with light smoke and pepper leads to vegetal and souring flavors with a long tail of anise flavours.

I think it’s an excellent value and a very good example of Espadin.

Koch Ensamble – Angustifolia/ Karwinskii

Jun 2, 2021

Lot 01/19 – in a tumbler glass.
Lemongrass and Mint on the nose, after leaving in the glass for 5 min, some leather notes.

This is a great sipper on a hot day, served at room temperature (30C). Sweet agave with delicate wood smoke. The mint flavour kicks in immediately and fades quickly leaving the sweet and wood smoke flavours lingering. At an ABV of 47% this is pleasantly balanced.

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