Espiritu de Mexico

by Shawn

These agave tastings are becoming more frequent, and – if I do say so – more fun as of late. Though they nearly always sell out anyway, the surge in Mezcal popularity over the past three years has permanently made its mark on our tastings, to the point where sometimes we host solely Mezcal tastings. Naturally, it’s WAY more fun to show off both spirits at once and let our guests decide and discover and enjoy.

We nearly ran the gamut in this tasting, the lineup was made up of three unique and high-quality Tequilas, followed by some very traditional and complex Mezcals. Luckily, next door we have the extraordinary Peasant Cheese and owner Crystal McKenzie who is incredible at putting together boards that fit perfectly with the night’s theme. Take a quick look at our lineup and snacks!

Arette Reposado
Arette is the product of 2 brothers of the famous tequila distilling family Orendain. Eduardo and Jamie are part of the 6th generation of the family and operate the El Llano distillery in the heart of the city of Tequila. Arette is the name of a horse that brought home 2 gold medals in the 1948 Olympics. Aromas of moderate oaky vanilla, spice and mildly floral. Lightly sweet agave with hints of more spice and earth along with hints of charred oak. $53

Ayate Reposado
This tequila is sourced by Napa Valley winemaker Dave Phinney for his distillery Savage & Cooke. It spends 4 months in ex-bourbon oak, followed by 4 months in Chardonnay casks. This product (a KWM exclusive mind you!) is a wonderful example of how sources spirit can be used to produce something a little different and allows the bottler to exercise creativity if they so desire. This spirit shows aggressive wood character along with delicate notes of white fruit and pepper. Spending some time with it in the glass brings out more vanilla and butterscotch and slight hints of butter. $120

Gran Orendain Anejo
Marcela Orendain Gonzalez is the sister of Eduardo and Jamie of Arette. Marcela does things a little differently in her distillery Casa Mexicana. Gran Orendain is triple distilled, making for a light, delicate, and drier spirit of high quality. The French oak used for maturation is different than the typical ex-bourbon in that it gives a more mild and spicy profile with earthy hints and allows the spirit itself to show off. $100

Cenizo Colonial San Miguel de Temoaya
Cenizo Colonial is a line of single village Mezcals from the state of Durango. This Cenizo spirit is from the village of San Miguel Temoaya. The machete crushed agave is wild fermented and distilled in unique “Filipino-style” stills. More unique still is the aromas on this bottle. Sweat, light smoke and hints of reptile aquarium with a dry, earthy palate with light tropical fruit and floral notes. $83

Los Siete Misterios Mexicano
This collective bottles single varietal mezcals in order to show off the specific agave. Also dedicated to preserving the ancestral methods of production, most of the mezcals in the line are produced in clay pot stills and bottled at natural strength. Mexicano is a rare varietal and Siete Misterios only produces about 200 bottles a year of its spirit. Moderate smoke with notes of pine, plantain and a clay minerality that’s typical to a clay pot still. $122

Lagrimas de Delores Cenizo Mezquital Joven
This is another line of single varietal Mezcals, though this one from Durango. Not a ton of Information is out there about the Mezquital varietal (aside from that it’s viable from the ages of about 9 to 13 years) so we let the bottle speak for itself. Dry with a moderate smokiness, but an essence of agave penetrates through it all. Hints of honey and minerality come through towards the finish. $105

Sin Piedad Mezcal Reposado
Not a ton of information is available for Sin Piedad. It’s likely sourced spirit bottled for the Canadian market. This Reposado is rich with vanilla and oak with tempered smoke and hints of sherry and dirt. Easy drinking and appropriate for cocktailing use. $95

That was a knock-out of a tasting I do say so. My guests gravitated towards the Tequilas as their favourites, but we had some newcomers to the Mezcal world that sat up and took notice and left with a new love (or maybe it was just all the food?). Either way, I love showing people the interesting world of small villa Mezcal, talking about the different agaves, and describing the interesting, and sometimes esoteric tasting notes that come along with them, so make sure you don’t miss the next hot tasting (Cinco de Mayo naturally). The Siete Misterios Mexicano was the favourite of the night, narrowly beating out all three tequilas which were tied for second. I barely had enough of the Mexicano and Arette to go around, to be honest! These bottles are open in-store, so if your mouths are watering, be sure to visit and ask for a sample!

That’s about all I have for you. Thanks to everyone who joined me and thanks again to Crystal and Peasant Cheese!

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