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Dolph Lundgren

Mezcal

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Dolph Lundgren

Think this delicious spirit deserves its own thread. I've been making my way through several bottles. The Del Maguey Chichicapa was a great training wheels bottle. I recently put back a bottle of the Piedra Almas Espadin (52%). It smoke was very light and there was a lot of earthy citrus/sweetness. Great bottle. I'm now working my way through the PA Dobadaan. Its a lot more green and vegital, but has opened up a little with air and sweetened. I wasn't a fan out of the gate but its becoming more enjoyable. Still don't think I'd purchase another bottle. I think I might grab a bottle of the PA Tobaziche for a camping trip this weekend.

Anyone else diving into mezcal these days?

Edited by Dolph Lundgren

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tanstaafl2

Not exactly diving in but have been enjoying several mezcals of late especially with cocktails. Del Maguay Vida of course but Sombra has been a favorite as a mixer and for a nice sipping mezcal I have been enjoying the Del Maguey Tobala although that one is a bit pricey for someone to use as a training wheels bottle! Of course the Chichicapa isn't exactly a value buy either.

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Dolph Lundgren

The Sombra was fantastic and such a value pour. I believe it was sourced from one of the same distillers Del Maguey uses. I feel like the Vida is a good mixer but not much beyond that. And yeah, the Chichi isn't cheap, but relative to Bourbon and Malt, its still pretty cheap (and available on shelves).

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tanstaafl2
The Sombra was fantastic and such a value pour. I believe it was sourced from one of the same distillers Del Maguey uses. I feel like the Vida is a good mixer but not much beyond that. And yeah, the Chichi isn't cheap, but relative to Bourbon and Malt, its still pretty cheap (and available on shelves).

As I understand it Sombra was originally made at a Del Maguey producer in San Luis del Rio, where DM Vida and DM San Luis del Rio are made, with consultation from the Del Maguey owner Ron Cooper but is now made at a different distillery in San Juan del Rio I believe.

I agree that Vida is basic but decent for mixing where you don't want the mezcal to dominate. I do tend to prefer the Sombra in most cases as a mixer.

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libertybar

Hell's yeah.

When I first really got into bourbon...now about seven years ago, I put together at my bar, Liberty in Seattle what was one of America's better bourbon lists. From there I moved a bit (while still loving American whiskey) to Japanese whisky but then something happened when I had my first mezcal, now five years ago. Now, Liberty has (arguably) America's biggest mezcal list with over 70 traditional mezcals.

And, that's something to talk about. The difference between traditional and industrial mezcal. So far, in the American market, there are only a few industrial mezcals, Zignum, most widely-available. Like mezcal, the agave for tequila can be cooked in a more traditional manner (in a 'horno' - a brick oven for tequila) or a more industrial manner using autoclaves or worse, a 'difusor' which 'cooks' the Blue Webber agave using very hot water and even acid. Not so great.

With mezcal, traditionally, it's cooked in an 'oven' that is a hole in the ground that first has wood burnt, and then volcanic stones on top of that to retain the heat. To this, the agave piñas are stacked and covered and roast that way for sometimes a week or more. Thus the 'smokey' taste, reminiscent of the Islay/Island Scotch whiskies - literally the phenols being that commonality.

I am belaboring the point here, and I could go on and on about the various agaves used and the incredible difference in the distillation process compared to the bourbon industry - but I would encourage people out there to try mezcal, but make sure that it is traditional mezcal, not the industrial that we'll see more and more and more in the months/years to come.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Andrew Friedman

andrew@libertybars.com

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Clavius

Mezcal intrigues me as I've been told it's like the Islay of Tequila. Any suggestions on a bottle to start out with?

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tanstaafl2
Mezcal intrigues me as I've been told it's like the Islay of Tequila. Any suggestions on a bottle to start out with?

Sounds like Andrew might have some good ideas (he certainly carries a nice selection as he mentioned) but depending on what price point you want to start with and whether you are talking sipping or mixing you have some options.

Del Maguey is a brand that is pretty readily available all over with a decent reputation. Probably can find some in a decent cocktail bar as well if you want to taste first. They make a number of varieties. For one to try neat the DM Chichicapa is not a bad place to start ($65 at TPS). Fidencio and Illegal are also pretty common brands but I haven't tried either in a while. I have an older bottle of Los Danzantes (now called Los Nahuales) reposado mezcal I enjoy as well and it is a similar price to the Chichicapa. I think it has a connection to Del Maguey as well.

If you want smoke try the Sombra! Strong citrusy notes with lots of smoke.

Maybe Max will wonder in and offer some thoughts although I think his focus is on tequila, not mezcal.

Edited by tanstaafl2

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Paddy

My experience is limited to the approximate 55 gallon drum of Monte Alban I drank as an undergrad. :falling:

Somehow, I didn't even manage to save a single tasting note. :crazy:

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Kpiz

Love the mezcal thread! I've been branching out from whiskey recently and mezcal has been something I've been digging. I currently have a Tosba espadin open and it's quite nice. It's a little rough around the edges, but it has a nice balance of agave and smoke.

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unclebunk
Hell's yeah.

When I first really got into bourbon...now about seven years ago, I put together at my bar, Liberty in Seattle what was one of America's better bourbon lists. From there I moved a bit (while still loving American whiskey) to Japanese whisky but then something happened when I had my first mezcal, now five years ago. Now, Liberty has (arguably) America's biggest mezcal list with over 70 traditional mezcals.

And, that's something to talk about. The difference between traditional and industrial mezcal. So far, in the American market, there are only a few industrial mezcals, Zignum, most widely-available. Like mezcal, the agave for tequila can be cooked in a more traditional manner (in a 'horno' - a brick oven for tequila) or a more industrial manner using autoclaves or worse, a 'difusor' which 'cooks' the Blue Webber agave using very hot water and even acid. Not so great.

With mezcal, traditionally, it's cooked in an 'oven' that is a hole in the ground that first has wood burnt, and then volcanic stones on top of that to retain the heat. To this, the agave piñas are stacked and covered and roast that way for sometimes a week or more. Thus the 'smokey' taste, reminiscent of the Islay/Island Scotch whiskies - literally the phenols being that commonality.

I am belaboring the point here, and I could go on and on about the various agaves used and the incredible difference in the distillation process compared to the bourbon industry - but I would encourage people out there to try mezcal, but make sure that it is traditional mezcal, not the industrial that we'll see more and more and more in the months/years to come.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Andrew Friedman

andrew@libertybars.com

Fabulous post, Andrew. Thanks very much. Like many others here in the US, my only experience with mezcal over the years involved consuming industrial quantities of Monte Alban and then waking up with a colossal hangover that lasted for roughly two days which eventually subsided after I puked/shat every ounce of liquid out of my body. More recently I picked up a bottle of Del Maguey Vida after reading various articles about it. The price was right and I enjoyed the bottle thoroughly but I wouldn't mind some affordable recommendations. Thanks again!

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Dolph Lundgren

I highly recommend the Del Maguey Chichicapa to start - it is highly citrusy with a little smoke and is nicely balanced.

I grabbed and opened a Piedre Almas Tobaziche this weekend. It is sweet and floral with a tinge of roasted smoke (think roasted peppers). If you're willing to spend $130, its well worth it.

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Max Power
I highly recommend the Del Maguey Chichicapa to start - it is highly citrusy with a little smoke and is nicely balanced.

I grabbed and opened a Piedre Almas Tobaziche this weekend. It is sweet and floral with a tinge of roasted smoke (think roasted peppers). If you're willing to spend $130, its well worth it.

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Dolph Lundgren

Got a nice haul of mezcal in the mail yesterday. Cracked open a Marca Negra Espadin. For $50, its probably one of the best values out there. The abv is at 50.2% and its sweet and minerally with a tinge of campfire-type smoke. For a mezcal, there isn't much earthiness to it. On the flip side I also hit the PA Tobaziche again and its really great stuff: slightly earthy and vegital with bitterness (coca, coffee) and again, just a tinge of smoke. Both bottles are definitely worth your time.

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RWBadley
Got a nice haul of mezcal in the mail yesterday. Cracked open a Marca Negra Espadin. For $50, its probably one of the best values out there. The abv is at 50.2% and its sweet and minerally with a tinge of campfire-type smoke. For a mezcal, there isn't much earthiness to it. On the flip side I also hit the PA Tobaziche again and its really great stuff: slightly earthy and vegital with bitterness (coca, coffee) and again, just a tinge of smoke. Both bottles are definitely worth your time.

I recently picked up a bottle of Marca Negra. Mine is 51.1 % and very delicious. Lowish smoke with big agave and a long finish. Also, it really stands up well to time in the glass without fading to a watery mess. Highly recommended.

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BourbonJoe

Whenever I get to Mexico, I pick up a couple bottles of Cuzano Rojo. I love it's butterscotch finish.

Joe :usflag:

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AaronWF

I've really warmed up to a bottle of Vago Espadin. Great buttery mouthfeel with supple, starchy sugars. Creamy citrus, boiled earthiness and some gassy kerosene towards the finish. It's a really delightful sipper and a nice way to get away from all the wood I drink with whiskey. Puts me in a great mood too :cool:

And at $50 I'm considering putting one or two more of them away.

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Dolph Lundgren

So I made my way through 3 bottles from the Alipus line: the San Andres, the San Juan and the San Luis. All retail between $40 and $50 and all are proofed around 95. I didn't take extensive notes but the San Juan was my favorite. It was the only bottle where the smoke came through. It was also very briny and possessed a little citrus sweetness combined with some vegital notes (cut grass). If you're an Islay fan the San Juan is the way to go. The San Andres was a little more agave-forward on the palate and had a fantastic buttery mouthfeel. In a way, the Andres reminded me of the Vago Espadin (birch, citrus, earth and almond skin). The San Luis was sweeter than the other two and had a butter-cream thing going on with a little brine.

All three bottles are distinct and definitely worth the money. You can tell the quality of the spirit right away when open a bottle and the strong aroma floats out. With whisk(e)y the way it is right now, I have absolutely have no problem dropping $40 on something that comparatively in the whiskey world would retail over $100. I definitely recommend the Alipus line.

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unclebunk
So I made my way through 3 bottles from the Alipus line: the San Andres, the San Juan and the San Luis. All retail between $40 and $50 and all are proofed around 95. I didn't take extensive notes but the San Juan was my favorite. It was the only bottle where the smoke came through. It was also very briny and possessed a little citrus sweetness combined with some vegital notes (cut grass). If you're an Islay fan the San Juan is the way to go. The San Andres was a little more agave-forward on the palate and had a fantastic buttery mouthfeel. In a way, the Andres reminded me of the Vago Espadin (birch, citrus, earth and almond skin). The San Luis was sweeter than the other two and had a butter-cream thing going on with a little brine.

All three bottles are distinct and definitely worth the money. You can tell the quality of the spirit right away when open a bottle and the strong aroma floats out. With whisk(e)y the way it is right now, I have absolutely have no problem dropping $40 on something that comparatively in the whiskey world would retail over $100. I definitely recommend the Alipus line.

Thanks for the excellent notes. I've been eyeing the same line and didn't know which way to go. And I totally agree that $40-$50 is an excellent price for such a high-quality spirit. Enjoy!

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Dolph Lundgren

I haven't had a bad mezcal yet. The Alipus line is a great bargain. The Marca Negra Espadin is one of my favorites so far, and at $50 it's definitely a value pour (caveat: it has strong mineral / gas notes, which I love but some others might not).

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AaronWF

I have a few of the Alipús on the way as well! The San Luis and the Andrés. I thought I decided on the one you found smoke-y but I guess not. Next order, I guess...

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Dolph Lundgren
I have a few of the Alipús on the way as well! The San Luis and the Andrés. I thought I decided on the one you found smoke-y but I guess not. Next order, I guess...

It's all relative of course, but yeah, the San Juan is the smokiest of the 3.

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tylermke
I haven't had a bad mezcal yet. The Alipus line is a great bargain. The Marca Negra Espadin is one of my favorites so far, and at $50 it's definitely a value pour (caveat: it has strong mineral / gas notes, which I love but some others might not).

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BigBoldBully

Where do you guys order from, or better yet, do you know of a good place to buy quality mezcal in Wisconsin? Despite thinking of mezcal as one of my two biggest loves in the spirits world, it occurs to me that I have only tried about a half dozen and there are only 2 bottles in my bunker.

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AaronWF
Where do you guys order from, or better yet, do you know of a good place to buy quality mezcal in Wisconsin? Despite thinking of mezcal as one of my two biggest loves in the spirits world, it occurs to me that I have only tried about a half dozen and there are only 2 bottles in my bunker.

Andrews has pretty much the best online selection at some of the best prices and a great shipping deal. I recommend the El Jolgorio line.

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ChainWhip

Bump on this thread. Had my first Tepeztate tonight and boy do I need to find some more!

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