Category Archives: Mezcal

Del Maguey Mezcal Tasting, 42% to 49%.

Mezcal – the artisanal spirit from Mexico that’s attracting attention right now.

Already a convert – mainly due to the smokey element – I eagerly signed up for the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder Zoom Tasting with Del Maguey Mezcal.

The 1st offering – Vida Mezcal, 42% – immediately satisfied. A seductive smokiness combined with those rich earthy agave notes reeled me in!

Gorgeous!

Chichicapa Mezcal, 46%, dialed down the smoke a touch & ramped up the pungent agave along with a prickly dryness on the finish from the higher ABV.

Unlike the whiskey world – which for some is all about the wood to bring about complexity & flavour – Mezcal is all about the raw ingredients & production methods used to deliver a fully flavoured spirit with depth & complexity straight from the still.

Tobala Mezcal, 45%, shone in this department. Using a roast time of 30 days accentuated the rich smokiness. A long fermentation of up to a week brought out some cheesy funky notes & using the A. potatorum agave species added pungent earthy overtones.

Certainly the Mezcal that enamoured me the most!

Pichuga Mezcal, 49%, rounded the evening off.

Compared to the others there was less smoke evident – but those engaging earthy agave aromas entertained me no end.

The Del Maguey website is packed full of information on these single village mezcals.

If you haven’t ventured into Mezcal yet – you won’t go far wrong enjoying any of the above.

A quintessential Mezcal quartet!

Sláinte

Bottle images courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Britain, Brexit & The Lost Art Of Ordering Via Amazon.co.uk.

Happily receiving amazon.co.uk vouchers over the festive season I rushed to place some orders in the hopes they’d get through before Brexit kicked in.

Many Irish based whiskey fans use UK online sites to source product not normally available in Ireland & there had been warnings this could be in jeopardy after Britain left the EU.

My orders would test this new reality.

A few choices were simply rejected.

The computer says no! c/oamazon

So my search narrowed from the start.

A mixed bag of affordable spirits eventually made my basket.

Jatt Life Irish Whiskey

Jatt Life Irish Whiskey c/oMasterOfMalt

One of many sourced Irish Whiskey brands that exist totally outside of Ireland. This one appears to focus on the Asian market.

Mezcales De Leyenda

Mezcal triple pack c/oBlackwell’s

An attractive Mezcal triple pack to continue my appreciation of this alluring spirit.

Abasolo Whisky

Abasolo c/oMasterOfMalt

Mexico’s foray into whisky excited me.

English Park Whisky

English Park c/oWinestyle

A Czech distillery marketing a Union Jack clad whisky in the UK amused me for the sheer ‘we spotted a market & we’ll fill it’ opportunity.

A few books made up the remainder & I sat back to await developments.

Within a week Jatt Life cancelled.

Cancel 1

Within a fortnight the books & English Park arrived.

Sadly English Park was broken – but a replacement arrived swiftly.

Oops v Yeah c/othewhiskeynut

Then both the Mezcal & Abasolo – coming from the same supplier – cancelled as well.

Cancel 2 & 3

And that was it!

Ordering spirits from the UK is effectively closed.

Will Irish suppliers step up to provide an extended range?

Will former UK based operations set up in Ireland?

Or do the costs & market size just not stack up?

Whatever happens it appears the diversity of choice just got smaller & all that was solid melted into air.

Thank you Brexit.

Sláinte

Header image courtesy abcnews.

La Penca, Joven Mezcal, Con Gusano, 40%

Have you ever encountered a spirit that simply reels you in with seductive aromas?

Entices you with fabulous flavours?

Entertains as it dances merrily on your palate?

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Smoking Mezcal c/othewhiskeynut

Well that’s how La Penca struck me.

Simmering smokiness on the nose.

Smooth earthy agave intermingling with campfire warmth.

The embers gently fading away in a cosy embrace.

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And no, I declined the worm! c/othewhiskeynut

Should have bought the large bottle!

Sheer delight.

Sláinte

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Joven is young or unaged.

Con Gusano is with worm

La Penca uses Salmiana agave for distillation.

 

Mezcal Amores, Cupreata & Espadín Joven, 41%

The generous folks at Axiom Brands kindly sent out some tasty samples from their eclectic spirits portfolio for me to enjoy.

Having already sampled the delights of Australia’s Starward Whisky here,

And visited the maturing casks of Chapel Gate Whiskey here,

I thought it opportune to explore some of Axiom’s other stars.

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An assembly of Axiom Brands spirits. c/othewhiskeynut

Like Mezcal Amores.

I first became acquainted with Mezcal doing a Level 2 Spirits Award at the WSET – Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

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Spirited reading c/othewhiskeynut

There is long and proud tradition of spirit production in Mexico that parallels that of whiskey manufacture in Ireland or Scotland. There are rules & regulations to get any spirit geek excited – and it certainly helps I was hooked immediately by the rich & complex flavours contained within the Mezcals I tasted.

Terroir is key to Mezcal.

Geographically protected to certain regions within Mexico & made with varietals of the long lived agave plant, Mezcal is the artisanal based small scale product to the mass produced sister spirit Tequila.

The 2 Mezcal Amores sent showcased the results of 2 different varietals of agave with the same production methods.

Joven in both these expressions means unaged.

With a spirit as pure and unadulterated as Mexcal – no ageing is required.

Espadín Amores – as suggested in the name – is made from the Espadín agave which must be used to make Tequila – but Mezcal can use any variety of agave.

There is no harsh abrasiveness to this spirit.

It gently warms & caresses both the nose & palate with a richness of flavours.

A gentle soft sweetness combined with hints of leather or even tobacco from the roasting used to prepare the agave swirl around in the mouth in a comforting snug.

Lip smackingly enjoyable.

Cupreata Amores was even better!

Made from the Cupreata agave which matures for 8 to 13 years before being harvested. This mezcal possessed  a deeper – even darker – cornucopia of complexity to hook me in even further to the charms of this Mexican spirit.

There was a contrast to the almost muscovado dark sweetness at the start to a warming stewed note at the end.

Wild yeasts are used in fermenting – much like the popular Brett yeasts of craft beer fame – but without the sour tart results – funky perhaps – but not overpowering – just well balanced & enticing.

I had to have more!

No wonder there is a fan club as fanatical as whiskey has for this fabulous spirit.

It’s definitely amore for Mezcal Amores from me!

Cue Dean Martin.

Sláinte

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Monte Alban, 100% Agave, Mezcal, 40%

One of the most innovative & interesting new whiskeys I managed to sample at the recent Whiskey Live Dublin event was a 10 year old grain finished in ex-Mezcal casks.

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Innovation in an Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Mezcal might not be familiar to many – I only recently sampled one myself – hence I thought it timely to explore this drink.

Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from the agave plant. It has Geographical Indication status and must be made in Mexico.

Mezcal has a long history & tradition involving roasting pits to process the raw agave. The addition of agave fibres to boost flavour during fermentation and distillation in pot stills made of clay – at least for the highest grade of Ancestral Mezcal.

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Mexican Mezcal c/othewhiskeynut

The Monte Alban before me would be an entry level Mezcal – it’s all I could find at my local store – and is produced in Mexico for the Sazerac group.

The nose is very pungent with heavy deep earthy notes complimented by a mere wisp of smoke.

Very smooth & approachable on the palate. The earthy aromas dominate in an oily mouthfeel which slowly dries out leaving a lovely ash laden quality on the long finish.

I found this a very satisfying and intriguing spirit.

One that pulls me in.

I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what Mezcal flavours come through in the final mix of the retail version Mezcal finished Irish Whiskey from JJ Corry.

Sláinte

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