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Good to know. My bottle of Vida is almost gone and I was considering "upgrading" to Chichicapa which is twice the price and recommended in the Death & Co book. Maybe I should try it before committing.

 

Twice? Wow. In Australia the Vida is $100AUD. The Chichicapa and a couple of others are $125, which is close enough to $100 to not be a big influence on my purchasing decision (same price bracket/still expensive). Then you have some $150 models.

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Twice? Wow. In Australia the Vida is $100AUD. The Chichicapa and a couple of others are $125, which is close enough to $100 to not be a big influence on my purchasing decision (same price bracket/still expensive). Then you have some $150 models.

Vida is the entry-level offering from the line at $35 or so. Chichicapa is around $70. The rest of the line is $70 - $120, with the exception of the Pechuga and Iberico at $200...

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Twice? Wow. In Australia the Vida is $100AUD. The Chichicapa and a couple of others are $125, which is close enough to $100 to not be a big influence on my purchasing decision (same price bracket/still expensive). Then you have some $150 models.

 

Do you get Fidencio? Their entry level goes head to head with Vida and tends to be cheaper here.

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Do you get Fidencio? Their entry level goes head to head with Vida and tends to be cheaper here.

 

No. Altho' it's not like the Maguey range has been available for a particularly long time, either, so I'll keep an eye out for it.

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The Emperor (Valdez Campos via Gaz Regan) with Del Maguey Chichicapa mezcal (Vida), Campari, Pierre Ferrand dry curacao, orange twist. Equal parts like a Negroni, but no vermouth so not technically a Negroni. Smokey and refreshing.

 

16788847711_ae2d1a91be_z.jpg

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My wonderful wife, on the morning of our wedding, surprised me with a bottle of Chichicapa I had been eying for months. She knew I would not spend the money on my own, and wanted to get it for me. Can't think of a better way of her confirming she knows me well. I am tasting my glass now. It is absolutely fantastic. The rich, mineral quality is really cool. I think my Vida will still be a go to for cocktails, but damn, this one sips well.

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Up until today, my liquor store stocked a grand total of one Mezcal: the Monte Alban. Right... no thanks. But today they rearranged basically the entire store, and as part of that rearrangement suddenly they carry something like eight different ones. Has mezcal become a popular spirit, or has my local store just randomly decided to stock a bunch? Presumably some of them still suck... what are the good ones? A lot of these seem to be relative newcomers to the field, so I am not sure how relevant older articles are anymore.

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My local store carries exactly none.

 

I prefer Del Maguey Tobala, and I stock Vida (which is perfectly nice) for playing with.

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For mixing, Vida del Maguey is a very decent ; its good punch make a good option for cocktails including citrus.
Nuestra Soledad is the same price range. It is more delicate than Vida which is why I like it in stirred drinks.

 

For sipping, there are lovely things but prices are high. Del Maguey experiments a lot with different types of aging (I saw one aged in Pappy Van Winkle bourbon).

 

El Jolgorio makes also great mezcal for sipping.

 

here, you can learn about different types of mezcal using different agaves
http://mezcalphd.com/2013/11/el-jolgorio-a-boutique-mezcal-with-many-varietals/

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It is probably fair to say that "artisanal" mezcal is trending upward, particularly mezcal made from different agave species than the usual espadin, I did a small tasting of several a couple of months ago.

 

We tried three different brands of the tepextate/tepeztate agave species. My favorite was the Vago (52 proof) which emphasized a nice delicate citrus tone and only a mild to moderate smoky nose and palate that developed into a pleasant rubbery character that lasted  well into the very pleasant finish. Second for me was the Del Maguey (90 proof) which initially seemed to have a much heavier smoky character on initial opening but quickly settled down to allow the citrus notes to peek out from underneath. The smokey rubbery tone had perhaps a touch of melting plastic character which kept it in second. Some liked it as well or better than the Vago. Last place went to the El Jolgorio (91.6 proof) which to me seemed to be impacted by a strong burning plastic smell that I did not care for. Unfortunate as it seemed to have a nice citrus quality underneath and I had high hopes for it. We finished with another El Jolgorio from another agave species, Barril, which as I recall also had some of that burnt plastic character. Most unfortunate. Not sure if I had a bad bottle or if it was normal. I expected some smoke and rubber character but not quite that much plastic character. 

 

Mezcal.jpg.20a385c58dc3a58a26c8bbad1d2ba I

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14 hours ago, FrogPrincesse said:

@Chris Hennes is this for mixing, sipping? 

Yes :)

 

Mostly it's curiosity about all of these newer brands. I've had a few of the Del Magueys before, but actually that's one that my store doesn't have. They did have the Vago, so I will definitely give that one a spin.

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I've got an upcoming reservation at a restaurant that features a very large Mezcal list, basically none of which I am familiar with. Obviously I will chat up the staff, but is anyone familiar with any of these?

 

› Cupreata, Agua Fuerte, Guerrero

› Sotol, Flor del Desierto, Coyamel del Sotol, Chihuahua

› Lechuguilla, Alma Mezcalera, Milpillas, Sonora

› Mexicano, El Cortijo, Matatlán, Oaxaca

› Bicuixe, El Cortijo, Matatlán, Oaxaca

› Salmeana, Alma Mezcalera, Charcas, San Luis Potosí

› Sotol Curado con Cascabel, Flor del Desierto, Coyamel del Sotol, Chihuahua

› Barril, Real Minero, Ocotlán, Oaxaca

› Ensamble, Mezcal Koch, San Baltazar Guelavila, Oaxaca

› Sierra Negra, Mezcal Koch, Sola de Vega, Oaxaca

› Chino Verde-Mexicano, Mezcal Koch, Sola de Vega, Oaxaca

› Ensamble, Alma Mezcalera, San Agustín Amatengo, Oaxaca

› Conejo, Alma Mezcalera, Santa Maria Zoyatla, Puebla

› Pechuga, Real Minero, Ocotlán, Oaxaca

› Tobalá, Yuu Baal, San Juan del Río, Oaxaca

› Blend, Secretos de Yegolé, Candelaria Yegolé, Oaxaca

› Madrecuixe, El Jolgorio, Santa María Zoquitlán, Oaxaca

› 2014, Ensamble, Real Minero, Ocotlán, Oaxaca

› 25 años, Tepextate, El Cortijo, Matatlán, Oaxaca

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I tried a couple of El Jolgorio's a couple of posts up and was a bit disappointed with them. Had a heavy burnt plastic character that I didn't care for. But neither were the particular agave species mentioned here which is a somewhat peculiar species  that grows a bit more like a tree or cactus than typical agave. It is in the same family as the Barril that I tried above. Bicuixe is in the same family as well. But not sure if what I didn't like was more the distillery character rather than the particular species of agave.

 

I did like the Tepextate species that I tried from Del Maguey and Vago. I see one of those on your list but a different brand of course. Many of these brands are unfamiliar to me, not that that is saying much!

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The Sotol's by the way are a little different as they are not made from agave but rather another desert plant distantly related as best I can tell. The only brand I have had is  the more common Hacienda de Chihuahua, A much lighter spirit in general than most mescal.

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That's some list, @Chris Hennes.

 

In mezcal more than most spirits, you see discussion of terroir and provenance playing a role. This is because mezcal is made from a variety of strains of agave, in towns and states across Mexico, each with its own techniques and traditions. 

 

Different strains (like Madrecuixe, listed above, or Blue Weber, the agave used in tequila), soils, harvesting techniques, and yeasts (wild or otherwise) will impact the character of the beer. Many agaves are roasted in open pits or underground, which is what gives many mezcals their characteristic  smokiness. The still (clay, copper, or otherwise) will contribute flavor as well, and in some cases roasted chicken ("pechuga"), rabbit ("conejo"), or whole meals ("ensamble") will be floated above the still to contribute unexpected flavors. One of the Sotols listed above even has rattlesnake ("Curado con Cascabel").

 

(Sotol, by the way, is not a mezcal—it's another regional Mexican spirit made from desert spoon rather than agave).

 

The world of mezcal is vast. Some of these will taste tropical and fruity, others flinty and earthy, yet others like liquid brimstone. This is an extensive list, curated by someone who knows the mezcal regions well. It appears to feature direct imports. I recommend letting the staff talk and taste you through it. Enjoy.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Rafa said:

This is an extensive list, curated by someone who knows the mezcal regions well. It appears to feature direct imports. I recommend letting the staff talk and taste you through it. Enjoy.

 

 

Not imports, right? This looks like a restaurant in Mexico...

I would talk to the sommelier/mezcalier and tell them what flavor profile you are after, what you like or do not like, etc, and they should be able to guide you.

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8 minutes ago, FrogPrincesse said:

Not imports, right? This looks like a restaurant in Mexico...

Right, it's Pujol.

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