Edition 03. Distilled by Pedro Vasquez. 2018 harvest. Bottle 2 of 130 (70cl).
Dried sweet chilies like guajillo and pasilla. Very earthy, with clay pot and humid topsoil notes, almost peaty. Quite saline, with notes of iodine and fresh oysters. Could have been distilled at the Isle of Skye if you know what I mean. A dash of water brings out some citrus and tropical fruits, which funnily enough is coherent with the Talisker analogy. I wonder what their new make tastes like, but I’m sure it doesn’t hold a candle to this beautiful Coyote. Back to it: candied yuzu, pomegranate, stewed apples, marmalade, maybe some quince jelly. Gunpowder, recently polished leather shoes, ginger. Cinnamon and liquorice are very present but appear mostly on the palate. Successive tastings have also revealed clear floral notes of violets and jasmine. Intense! The finish is spicy, ashy, dry and very long.
An absolute gem of a distillate.
Batch D-01-19. 48.8% ABV. Tasted from a 5cl sample.
(This note is shorter than I would’ve liked due to the limited time I had to spend with the distillate.)
Agave syrup sweetness on first approach. Then a lot of minerality, chalk, iodine, clay and some distant campfire smoke. A little bit woody, too, as in a mouldy tree bark and dry leaves. On the palate it’s even rounder. The sweetness makes it extremely drinkable, but it retains some of its earthy complexity. Salted caramel, stewed apples and almost no spiciness whatsoever. Very balanced or a little bit boring depending on your point of view.
I’m not a huge consumer of espadin, however, this accessible yet not overly simplistic one is among the best I’ve ever tried. It might not titillate the sharper palates in the house, but if I owned a bottle, I’d be proud to share it with as many friends as possible.
Edition 04, distilled by Ignacio Parada. 2018 Harvest. Bottle 238 of 280 (75cl).
Evocative of spring. Fragrant, very floral : jasmine, rose water, sakura-scented fabric softener. Stone fruits like peaches and apricots, but also white grapes, apples, pears, lychee. White tea, Marie-Antoinette tea, all kinds of flower-based teas. However, hints of nail polish remover, wet paint and cold cigarette ashes boldly remind us that this is serious business and, fortunately, not a box of macarons from Ladurée that you bought at the airport.
On the palate it’s crystal clear, like spring water. Everything is there. Elegant, refined, limpid, dry, quite reminiscent of a Daiginjo. Still quite floral, but the more pungent notes give way to lumber aromas like sandalwood, pine cones and some waxed exotic wood. It’s flavorful and complex, yet dangerously approachable. The finish is as if you chain-smoked a pack of Marlboro Red after stress-eating that expensive box of rose petal flavored macarons that was actually meant for your mom.
It’s round and perfectly balanced. One of the best sakes, sorry, mezcals I’ve ever had.
Batch D-01-19, bottle 42/180, distilled by Lalo Ángeles (obviously)
Upon first approach, the nose leans strongly towards aloe vera and other succulents. Immediately thereafter, fresh peat and humid, almost decaying vegetation. Then forest undergrowth, ferns, moss, seaweed, seashells. I’m reminded of my hometown in Mexico after a long, tropical, hot August rain. Clay, flint, quite mineral in fact. Perfect alcohol integration. Cooked agave and a hint of smoke top it all off. Gorgeous.
In the mouth it’s creamy, herbal, still quite reminiscent of succulents. It feels like biting into a piece of sweet, juicy cooked agave. Fresh mint, green leaves and green peppers. The minerality is still very present, along with a deep earthy and vegetal peatiness with little to no smoke. The finish is leafy and has you thinking of maguey long after you’ve finished your glass.
I could give it five stars for the nose alone, which is one, if not the most beautiful nose I’ve encountered in mezcal. I’ve successfully used this bottle to convert my fellow whisky-loving, empty-glass-sniffing friends to the wonders of agave distilates. The palate is delicious but falls slightly short in complexity, so I’ll dock it half a point for the sake of objectivity. It’s a stellar, elegant, close-to-perfection, straightforward mezcal and I wholeheartedly recommend it, but don’t expect anything funky or extravagant. For gentlefolk only.
Edition 23, distilled by Rafael Mendez Cruz. 2018 Harvest. Bottle 155 of 670 (50cl).
It’s a little bit hot on new rubber, nail polish and wet paint on first impression. Then strong on aniseed and liquorice followed by more typical aromas of lemon zest, citronella and rosemary. All in all, quite a botanical nose, topped off by a hint of smoke and cooked agave.
The palate is coherent with the nose. The aniseed and liquorice expand into aromatics like dill, fennel and green peppercorns. Star anise fills and coats the mouth, leaving a slightly bitter and mentholated feeling.
The finish is my favorite part : long on smoke, agave sweetness and a light bitterness.
This Tepeztate grew on me quite a lot. I disliked it on my first taste. Even though I love a certain funkiness in my spirits, I found it unbalanced and leaning too heavily on certain aromatics. We ended up getting along quite well, though, and I find myself reaching for it more often than I would have thought. It’s a fun one to dissect, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unwilling to give it the attention it demands.