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View Full Version : Mescal (Mezcal) vs Tequila, Opinions Wanted



pepcycle
11-29-2005, 08:49
Read a Pacult article in Wine Enthusiast about the differences in these two spirits. His description enticed me to go out and buy some and at the same time reject his assertion that Mescal should get more respect.
1. Describes tastes of burning rubber and creosote (MMMMM!!!)
2. Singe distilled in Mexican towns with little or no regulation. (HMMMM?)
3. Variety of cactus used, such that just about anything can be included.
4. Worm in the bottle is fairly common. (Drinks and Appetizers?)

Anybody want to chime in on why I should or shouldn't spend some of my bourbon cash on Mescal?

barturtle
11-29-2005, 09:19
I'm not sure why you should spend your money on Mezcal, but I think we can get together this winter when I'm home and figure out if you should. I have a bottle of Tobala that has been in my collection for quite a while and think it would make a good start for a tasting.

Anybody else wanna get in on this?

Vange
11-29-2005, 11:40
IMO, tequila is VASTLY better than mezcal. Here is a passage from a particular tequila site (IMO the best on the web)

"Technically, tequila is a type of mezcal, but mezcals are not tequilas.

There are 136 species of agave in Mexico, of which the blue agave - agave tequilana weber azul - is the only one allowed for use in tequila production. Several different species of agave are allowed for use in mezcal, including a rare wild species, tobala. Other agave plants are used for the production of various regional drinks like sotol, raicilla, bacanora and pulque. Agave has been cultivated on this continent for at least 9,000 years.

No Mexican alcoholic drink is made from cactus. However, cactus is used in some fruit drinks, salads and other food items."

doubleblank
11-29-2005, 11:57
I'll second the notion that tequila is far superior. We go to Puerto Vallarta every spring and generally try the local mescal......raicilla. I use it to marinate chicken and shrimp. Occasionally I'll take a shot with a little ice in it. It is usually very hot with alcohol but does have an interesting aftertaste....perhaps a spicier finish than tequila. Buy a good tequila instead Ed.

Randy

BourbonJoe
11-29-2005, 12:24
I will have to disagree. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/nope.gif I must tell you though, that I'm not an authority on Tequila or Mezcal, but I like what I like. I happen to like Cusano Rojo Mescal. It has a finish like butterscotch. There are some Tequilas that I like, but I like this stuff better.
Bourbon Jose http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

TNbourbon
11-29-2005, 16:34
For whatever it's worth, we have a Mexican customer who searches our area high and low (generally without success) for what he calls 'mezcalito', a variety of mezcal apparently quite popular in his part of Mexico, at least, and which he claims is better than typical mezcal.
And, just like real Mexicans snicker at Americans' taste for 'legal' tequila -- Jose Cuervo, Margaritaville, et al, which are NOT 100% agave -- this fellow also chuckles at the worm in the mezcal bottles. Only in America!

wadewood
11-29-2005, 20:12
The Website for the Beverage Tasting Institute has a good article explaining differences in types of Tequila and Mezcal.

BTI - Tequila (http://www.tastings.com/spirits/tequila.html)

Also click on the Recommended Products - Mezcal for some top notch selections.

Frodo
12-04-2005, 01:58
Hi Pepcycle:

To give you an answer to your question, I think the thing to do it to offer how Mezcal is different from Tequila, and from there you can come to an informed decision. Briefly, Mezcal has a smokey taste that comes partly from the method of cooking the agaves, and partly from the fact that mescal uses many varieties of agave (Tequila uses one - the blue agave).

Another thing is that Mezcal has historically been drunk by the indiginous native mexicans not the whites. It is not generally made for export, and is less seldom aged unlike tequila which is frequently aged for even a bit of time. Tequilas aged for 2-3 yrs are common, but mescals aged for the same time frame are rare. In short, Mezcal is rarely as "polished" as Tequila. I wouldn't say Tequila is "better", just different. And Tequila is marketed to people with more money. Del Maguay makes some single village Mezcals that I found to be unbelievably good.



For whatever it's worth, we have a Mexican customer who searches our area high and low (generally without success) for what he calls 'mezcalito', a variety of mezcal apparently quite popular in his part of Mexico, at least, and which he claims is better than typical mezcal.
And, just like real Mexicans snicker at Americans' taste for 'legal' tequila -- Jose Cuervo, Margaritaville, et al, which are NOT 100% agave -- this fellow also chuckles at the worm in the mezcal bottles. Only in America!



I believe Mezcalito is a brand of mezcal as opposed to a type of Mescal. Still I've had it, and at a similar price, I think it beats Dos Gusanos or other bar brands. Everything else this mexican guy says I agree with. Serious mescals (rare) don't have the larvae in the bottle, and 100% agave is a good - but not the only - barometer of quality for Tequila.

Hope even a bit of this helps.

squire
12-07-2005, 18:26
Evening Frodo,

Excellent post. My knowledge of these whiskies is limited. I lived a year in Texas in 1971 while posted there by the Army and my intoduction to these expressions was by guys who by heritage and tastes prefered the Mezcals. My recollection is I liked the Mezcal more than Tequila. It just seemed to have more depth and was smokey rather than sweet. Of course the stuff my friends poured in their homes was unlabeled but the differences were noticable.

Regards,
Squire

Frodo
12-18-2005, 01:18
Sorry folks - made a mistake about Mezcalito. I've had Mezcalero , made by the same company that makes Dos Gusanos. That's the one I find smoother than Dos Gusanos, or Gusano Rojo. Mezcalito I've never heard of, and I don't pretent to know a ton about mezcal so it might very well exist.

Frodo
12-18-2005, 01:20
Evening Frodo,
...My recollection is I liked the Mezcal more than Tequila. It just seemed to have more depth and was smokey rather than sweet...

Regards,
Squire


Seeing as I like smokey Scotch, the leap to smoky agave distilate doesn't seem too far fetched...

TimmyBoston
05-25-2006, 03:38
I greatly prefer tequila to mezcal, the taste is far more refined and it compares better to the standards of a fine whisky. THe disadvantage is that the prices are usually higher than mezcal, however at the premium level Tequila is cheaper to a greater demand for high quailty spirits.

TK

Jake_Parrott
05-25-2006, 03:42
Lovers of smoky Scotch will go giddy over the Del Maguey "San Luis del Rio" single-village Mezcal. An absolute revelation in agave spirit.

Gillman
05-25-2006, 06:31
How widely is tequila consumed in Mexico, is it truly a national drink or is the export market more important? It is commonly known that e.g. port is not that popular in Portugal, its historic market was in Britain. Can the same be said for tequila and the U.S. as an export market or is it an old-established drink with deep roots in Mexican culture?

Gary

mythrenegade
05-26-2006, 23:19
I had mezcal once. I still have nightmares about that event.

Never, ever, ever again.

ever.

Joel

Frodo
05-29-2006, 03:09
How widely is tequila consumed in Mexico, is it truly a national drink or is the export market more important? It is commonly known that e.g. port is not that popular in Portugal, its historic market was in Britain. Can the same be said for tequila and the U.S. as an export market or is it an old-established drink with deep roots in Mexican culture?

Gary

Tequila is sold all over in Mexico - not just the touristy hangouts. Therefore some of the locals must be buying the stuff. On the other hand, considering the wages earned by working-class mexicans, I don't think tequila would be in most accessable price ranges.

From what I understand, tequila has deep roots in Mexican culture. It's just lately that prices have risen (last 5-8yrs) so that it is now unaffordable by most Mexicans I would think.

Frodo
05-29-2006, 03:20
I had mezcal once. I still have nightmares about that event.

Never, ever, ever again.

ever.

Joel

I got very sick as a teenager on rum and Dr. Pepper (there wasn't any coke around). Ten years later I could drink the odd rum & coke, and now I enjoy aged rum neat.

Mezcal isn't considered a "high class" drink so most of it on the market is of "entry level" quality. Mezcal might not be for you - it has a singular taste - but if you have based your choice on a night with Gusano Rojo then you might want to consider trying some better quality Mezcals before throwing in the towel on the lot.

Kinda like deciding that just because Jim Beam White doesn't do it for you, you may wish to try some mid-shelfers first!

Cheers.

Frodo
05-30-2006, 07:25
Lovers of smoky Scotch will go giddy over the Del Maguey "San Luis del Rio" single-village Mezcal. An absolute revelation in agave spirit.

Yeah, the Del Maguay Mezcals are top-shelf stuff! If what you're referring to is the Chichicapa Mezcal, I've had it and was mightily impressed! Not for everyone though, and the price tag made me think twice...

Jake_Parrott
05-30-2006, 08:56
No, the Chichicapa is a different village Mezcal, one that I have not tried yet. Some of them, I'm told, can be a bit sweet, but the San Luis was finely, finely balanced.

cowdery
05-30-2006, 18:55
How widely is tequila consumed in Mexico, is it truly a national drink or is the export market more important? It is commonly known that e.g. port is not that popular in Portugal, its historic market was in Britain. Can the same be said for tequila and the U.S. as an export market or is it an old-established drink with deep roots in Mexican culture?

Gary

Historically, agave spirits (tequila and mezcal) and even agave beer (pulque) were the drinks of the lower classes while the upper classes drank scotch and brandy. There probably have been some changes in this due to the export value of agave spirits. Beyond that, I don't know the answer, expect that I imagine there is some kind of cheap spirit available for low income folks.

Frodo
05-30-2006, 19:43
...I imagine there is some kind of cheap spirit available for low income folks.

Rum I'd think. Also things like sotol (a regional mezcal). Mezcal has been traditionally drunk by indiginous Mexicans who are in the lower income brackets.

mythrenegade
05-30-2006, 20:42
Mezcal isn't considered a "high class" drink so most of it on the market is of "entry level" quality. Mezcal might not be for you - it has a singular taste - but if you have based your choice on a night with Gusano Rojo then you might want to consider trying some better quality Mezcals before throwing in the towel on the lot.

Kinda like deciding that just because Jim Beam White doesn't do it for you, you may wish to try some mid-shelfers first!

Cheers.

Well, I was at a party. It always starts that way doesn't it...

I am certain that it was low quality. It has been 15+ years since that event. I don't remember anything about the taste, only that I didn't care much for it on the way up... :skep:

Prior to that event I had never thrown up due to alcohol. To date that has only happened twice, and the second time was more related to the sun and being in the pool and drinking too much wine...

I don't care much for Tequila, but I imagine that if I were to try a high end Mescal I might like it. I agree, the original Jim Beam I bought kept me away from Bourbon for nearly 10 years, and I thought of this wonderful elixer as little more than an eggnog additive.

As I've gotten older I've come to the realization that life is too short to drink cheap alcohol.

Joel

Frodo
05-31-2006, 18:33
As I've gotten older I've come to the realization that life is too short to drink cheap alcohol.

Joel

Cheers to that.