Water of Life – Illegal Mezcal
God, I love a good sipping tequila. It does not have to be in the heat of summer to make this a thing of beauty along with a nice Mexican beer.
Mezcal is territory I ad so far not dabbled in and my first exposure was Ilegal Mezcal – a brand that was incepted in 2005 and one that has long intrigued me as the rustic labels and wax-sealed cork stoppers have always indicated that there is something to discover.
Turns out that the hand-numbered small emissions from the Oaxaca region of Mexico are not only based on the use of Agave Espadin, but also of a quality that rivals some of my favourite tequilas when it comes to flavour, depth and that beautiful oaky, eucalyptus wood it was matured in. Let alone the aroma derived from the agaves being cooked and roasted in earth pits before being crushed and fermented in oak vats.
Take the Ilegal Mezcal Reposado for example – one smooth drop that after maturation period of four to five months in new oak, offers a breadth of smoky nuances that are embedded in a buttery, vanilla-esque flavour profile. What some might perceived to be too amplified at both ends of the spectrum, i.e. savoury versus sweet, I find immensely well calibrated and appealing.
Things are taken to another dimension with Ilegal Mezcal’s Anejo, This drop has spent more than a full year encased by French and American oak and what results is the aforementioned Reposado variant on steroids in terms smoky- and sweetness. It brings out nuances that I value and cherish in good Islay whiskies, i.e. borderline decadent savoury flavours that are reminiscent of burnt bacon and dark chocolate. It is soft and buttery on the palate while not missing a beat when it comes to a well-rounded out, cognac-like intense flavour experience.
Despite having had an array of fantastic tequilas, this one is one of the better and more complex agave spirits I have had the pleasure of experiencing.
Given the fact that each expression to a mere thousand bottles, you might want to do a concerted effort to secure on of these truly artisanal and stylish vintage bottles, which combine not only the colours of the Mexican flag but also pay homage to the literally golden eras of the Aztecs and the Spain conquest.
image from company website