NTSS Mezcal Tasting

imbericoproductNTSS gathered for their first Mezcal tasting with the following lineup:

Mezcal “Fenix” de Oaxaca Con su Gusano (1970’s) – fruity, earthy and  herbal with a note freshwater lake air and a notably good mouthfeel for a low-proof bottom-shelf spirit… this is pretty good

Forever OAX ($40) – vegetal with underripe fruit, mild pepper, mild smoke and green pepper… this is okay, but not worth exploring

Tres Papalote ($63) – cucumber, agave, grass, white pepper, black pepper, green pepper, green apple and a good mouthfeel… not an exciting spirit, but good

Del Maguey Vida ($31) – vegetal with light smoke, green pepper, brine, green apple and spearmint… very good stuff at a great price

Del Maguey Chichicapa ($64) – apple, pear, pineapple, green pepper, black pepper, green papaya, light smoke, slightly metallic… not as great as I remember, but this is a newer batch and still good

Del Maguey San Luis del Rio Special Cask – 20 Year Old Van Winkel Stitzel Weller Barrel ($120) – green pepper, vanilla, pear, grass, apple, nutmeg… very good, well-balanced with good character

Del Maguey Iberia ($200) – salty and sweet with anise, meat, apple, grapefruit, nectarine and grass… excellent!

Mezcal Vago Espadín ($51) – roasted corn, light smoke, black pepper, corn starch, pineapple… very good and I especially appreciated the roasted corn aspect

Mezca Vago Eloté ($58) – burnt candy corn, corn syrup, honey, candies ginger, vanilla cream … too much corn flavor

Pierde Almas Joven Tequilana Weber (Lote 02TW-SJR, 51.6%, $68) – green pepper, white pepper, guava, agave syrup, straw with a good mouthfeel… this is a really solid mezcal!

Pierde Almas Pechuga (Lote 02-P, 50.1%, $120) – coconut and meat with a nice oily texture and notes of grass and grilled pineapple… excellent!

Wahaka Tobala ($84) – butter, agave, white pepper, meat, plantains… not as good as I was expecting, but still very good

Marca Negra Arroqueño ($130) – astringent with green pepper, vanilla and agave … disappointing

Marca Negra Espadín ($55) – meat, light smoke, green pepper, nectarine and pear … good

My winner for the night was the Del Maguey Iberico (~$200) with Pierde Almas Mezcal de Pechuga (~$120) as the runner-up.  Both of these are a pechuga-style mescal – using ham for Ibérico and the traditional chicken breast for Mezcal de Pechuga.  I really like the contrast of meat and fruit against the smoky agave base. Honorable mention goes to another offering from Pierde Almas, Tequilana – a discontinued offering that is still available for about $60 (I found this bottle for $6 on a clearance rack!).

Del Maguey Chichicapa

Mezcal, 14 Years,
47.8% ABV, $67

From the first whiff, this smells like whiskey, then you start smelling the vegetal agave. The smells are caramel, mild smoke, grass, barley, green pepper, black pepper, bamboo, cedar, turpentine, white grape and sandalwood.

The taste is very green, smoky and hot. The flavors are vegetal and spicy… green pepper, ginger, black pepper, white pepper, dry grapefruit, cedar and oak. Of course, there’s the smokey flavor as well.

This is some great stuff! Much more interesting than any tequila that I’ve tasted. I highly recommend it, even at close to $70.