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Del Maguey San Pedro Taviche Mezcal vs Del Maguey Minero Mezcal

Mezcal is the distilled product from a mash made from the agave plant in Mexico. The better known Tequilla is therefore technically a Mezcal but can only be made in certain Mexican states. A similar product made in other Mexican states is what we call a Mezcal but that’s not only oversimplifying, that’s also ignoring the 3 states that can produce both Mezcal and Tequila.

So agave is essentially the very slow growing barley of mexico, but instead of large distilleries, Mezcal is generally made by small time distillers working in their respective villages, and unlike Scotch, the production process genuinely hasn’t changed much in generations. At this point I am going to skip over the whole cooking, mashing fermenting and double distillation and go straight to the consumer end of this chain. Because there are no large distilleries, there isn’t a concept of ‘original bottlings’ like in Scotch, instead you get a range of Mezcal that spans the tourist bottles with worms inside them, to the premium bottlers that themselves do not distil but, as in Single malt, they buy the single product of villages to bottle under it’s own name. This is the part of the market we are interested in because this is where names like Del Maguey have established themselves as purveyors of quality product.

Del Maguey San Pedro Taviche Mezcal 49%

Del Maguey tells us this was made in a remote mountain valley in Ocotlan, Oxaca. Also “Taviche gets is unique flavor from the blending of three wild agaves; 100% mature unpropigated Espadin, Tobala, Tobasiche and Tepextate. The earth roasted hearts are ground by two men using giant mallets, fermented naturally by airborne microbes and distilled slowly twice in a tiny 150 liter copper still.” Sounds as traditional as it gets. The Agave harvested for this Mezcal was between 6-18 years old.

 Nose: This is honestly … impressive. It noses like a Lagavulin sans peat. Salty with a coastal brine that makes you wonder. Slight dry firewood waiting by the fire. Hugely earthy in a clean way, with roots and fresh mulch. Jars of preserved lemon not dried but in some sort of hyper acidic brine. Petrochemical in the clear plastic and high tone of kerosene sense instead of black diesel smoke. There is a raw but birdled distillate, the same way young Ledaig shows its youth, but it’s clearly not malt. A creamy but gristly herbal dirtiness. Really feels firewood smokey. Clean and sharp.

 Palate:  Big herbal elements really take centre stage here, like a great tincture of aniseed and bark and licorice quinine, wintergreen, eucalyptus, cloves, angelica, rosemary etc… really quite medicinal. Bittersweet and minty. then salty and petrochemical. And finally some dry firewood-y notes. A clean and buoyant clarity.

 Finish: Medium short, not the longest, but the herbal-salty buzz stays with you.

Del Maguey Minero Mezcal 49%

This Mezcal from the Santa Catarina Minas is “One hour beyond the village of Chichicapa and through a mountain pass… This pueblo has an arid semi-tropical microclimate and great water! Our palenqueros, Florencio Carlos Sarmiento and his sons Florencio Carlos Vasquez and Luis Carlos Vasquez, are true craftsmen. Their “palenque” (site of production)is the most well organized we have seen, including a cistern to cool and recycle the water used in the condensation process.” – Del Maguey. Clearly this is a whole world worth exploring if you’re tired of malt. The agave harvest was between 8-10 years old.

 Nose: Very similar but this one has a thickness and for lack of a better word, certain mugginess to it, much fuller in the mid tones. Like slightly rancid cream, with a dirty earthiness that’s more soaking slabs of black mud and clay, decaying branches and thicker heavier herbals like barks and powders of undetermined animal origin. Also a very heavy sort of honey. Because of that this one feels much less like a unpeated peaty Islay, and more ‘exotic’.

 Palate: No it’s actually very round on the tongue, big on honey and an exotic sugary herbal tea that doubles for medicine. Again lots of these licorice aniseed cloves eucalyptus notes. Black earth and bark. Gritty fuzzy dirty herbals. Moldering fruit skins in the sun. Clay. Certainly a heavier feel to it, though with less apparent smokiness.

 Finish: Medium short again, is that due to the lack of aging, or does it just not have the aging potential of malt? Sounds like someone really ought to put a cask of this in inactive bourbon and forget about it for 10 years.

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This entry was posted on October 5, 2017 by in Mezcal and tagged , , , .
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