Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Brands’ Category

Tasting Notes: La Venenosa Raicilla Sierra de Jalisco

Since its premiere at Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle 2014 Raicilla Venenosa has been a constant presence at better mezcalerias. It was the first racilla legally imported into the United States and was only recently joined by a second. The distinctive flavors of this other Jaliscan mezcal are well worth seeking out.

Raicilla Venenosa Sierra de Jalisco Raicilla Venenosa Sierra de Jalisco

The details:

– Location: Mascota, Jalisco.
– Agave: Agave maximiliana.
– Maestro Mezcalero: Don Ruben Peña Fuentes
– Quantity: 800 bottles
– Distillation Date: April 2014
– ABV: 42%

The background:

Esteban Morales really brought raicilla to the United States and we’re all the richer for his work with Arik Torren to make that happen because raicilla is so different from other mezcals – once you try it you’ll instantly understand why it deserves its own category. Read more

Tasting Notes: Los Nahuales Special Edition No. 1

The Los Nahuales Special Edition No. 1 is the first and, hopefully only the first, in a series of special editions from one of the longest standing and most prominent mezcal brands in the United States.

Los Nahuales Special Edition No. 1The details:
– Location: Santiago Matatlán
– Agave: 41.3% wild cuishe Agave karwinskii and 58.7% Sierrudo, a type of Agave americano.
– Maestro Mezcalero: Karina Abad
– Quantity: 1520 bottles. The majority only available through K&L Wines. 720 bottles are distributed by Craft Distillers
– Distillation Date: April/May 2015
– ABV: 48%
– NOM: O14X

 

 

 

The background:

This is the fruit of another of those mezcal world happenstances. While hanging out at Marco Polo with Karina Abad who manages Los Danzantes’ entire production Ansley Coale and K&L Wines’ David Driscoll cooked up the idea of Karina doing a batch all on her own. The rest is in the bottle but you can get a portion of the foreshadowing and narrative in Driscoll’s blogging about that trip. Read more

Tasting Notes: La Niña del Mezcal Bacanora

Long known for her flagship espadín La Niña del Mezcal’s Cecilia Murrieta is releasing intriguing bottles that span the agave spirits universe.

La Niña del Mezcal Bacanora

The details:

– Location: San Pedro de la Cueva, Sonora
– Agave: Agave yaquiana
– Maestro Mescalero: Rafael Encinas
– Bottle: 627 / 1000
– Batch No. : B001
– ABV: 48%

The background:

Bacanora has had it’s own Denominación since 2000 but it’s been traditionally produced in Sonora for quite some time. Unfortunately not many variations are imported, mostly we’ve had to rely on samizdat bottles that we bring in ourselves or find on friends’ bars. To date the most prominent brand imported in the United States is Cielo Rojo. Read more

The latest sign that mezcal is making inroads into the mainstream

For all the accolades and press that mezcal has received, it is still an outlier when it comes to the mainstream bar world. That’s why when the San Francisco Symphony asked us for help in procuring mezcal for their big Opening Night Gala event we jumped at the opportunity. A major part of our mission is promoting mezcal so what better way to put mezcal front and center than at one of the most prominent cultural event in San Francisco? Read more

State of the industry update

IMG_9881

Ven a Comer is this year’s MexIAM motto.

Last year’s Mexican Consulate tasting was a good snapshot of what a lot of mezcal makers’ ambitions. As I wrote at the time, there was an awful lot of mezcal out there trying to get into the North American market. The production volumes were enormous, and there were a tremendous number of brands vying for attention. The strange thing is Read more

Capturing the flavors of Mexico, one bottle at a time

I’ll never forget that first sip of Ancho Reyes, the chile liquor from Montelobos. It was of course at a mezcal tasting held, appropriately enough, for the screening of Viva Mezcal at Guelaguetza Restaurant in Los Angeles. Ivan Saldaña, the mad botanist/chemist behind Montelobos Mezcal, pulled a bottle out for some of us to try. This was the spring of 2012: What we now know as Ancho Reyes was months away from launching in the market. At that moment we hadn’t a clue what this was or how it would eventually take the cocktail market by storm. We tried it several different ways – neat, over ice, with club soda and across the board, the reaction was, well, highly enthusiastic to say the least. The flavor was so deep and spicy, it was the perfect essence of smoked chile in a bottle.

With that kind of a track record, you can imagine the buzz about the soon to be launched Ancho Verde. I was lucky enough to get an early try, and to catch up with Ivan to talk about this new addition to his portfolio. Saldaña has a long history in the agave world. As a scientist he has a deep background of studying agaves and how we process flavors, and in 2011, he launched Montelobos Mezcal. He is also a big proponent of pushing for sustainability in the agave world, especially to make sure that  Read more

Cocktails, beer, mezcal and more – this Lucha is going to rock!

It would be fair to say that despite the fact that we do an awful lot of events, we don’t consider ourselves event planners. This is why we are such believers in collaboration. We always try to work with the best of the best who bring their game to whatever event we have going.

This is especially true of the upcoming La Lucha de La Cocina on August 13th at Pier 70 in San Francisco, a collaborative fundraiser for La Cocina, the non profit culinary incubator in San Francisco’s Mission District that helps <primarily immigrant> women start formal food businesses. In addition to the Lucha Libre and Taquiza (taco extravaganza) which we previously wrote about, there will also be three bars hosted by some of San Francisco’s most innovative bars and restaurants – ABV, Old Bus Tavern, and Novela. Read more

Tasting Notes: Mezcalero Special Bottling No. 2

 

This is the second in Craft Distillers’ Special Bottling series. First came the Mezcalero series, then this. The quality is amazing.

Mezcalero Special Bottling No. 2

The details:

  • Location: Santa María La Pila, Mihuatlán, Oaxaca
  • Agave: Dobadaan aka agave rhodacantha
  • Maestro Mezcalero: Don Valente Ángel García Juárez
  • Quantity: 768 bottles
  • Distillation Date: October -November 2012
  • Bottled: March 2016
  • ABV: 48.76%
  • NOM: O14X

 

 

Background:

You can taste continuity in this bottle. Read more

Tasting Notes: Alipús San Andrés Ensamble

The Alipús line continues to evolve. The latest addition is an ensamble which originally was designed to replace the San Andrés, now it appears it will complement it. The details:

The front label of the San Andres Ensamble.

The front label of the San Andres Ensamble.

  • Location: Santa María La Pila, Mihuatlán, Oaxaca
  • Agave: 80% Espadín, 20% Bicuishe
  • Maestro Mezcalero: Don Valente Ángel García Juárez
  • Quantity: 800 bottles in this batch. More to come.
  • ABV: 47.2%
  • NOM: O14X

Background:

As with its predecessor, the San Andrés Ensamble carries the pink label of the Alipús line because it is also made by maestro mezcalero Don Valente Ángel García Juárez in the same location as the original San Andrés. That original was made solely of espadín and quickly Read more

Tasting Notes: Mezcalero #15

Mezcalero 15 bottle

The latest bottle in Craft Distillers’ stellar Mezcalero series of small batch mezcals is out and it’s quite a marvel. First the details:

  • Location: San Luis del Rio, Tlacolula
  • Agave: Sierra Negra
  • Maestro Mezcalero:Don Baltazar Cruz Gomez
  • Distillation Date: October 2014
  • Bottle Date: October 2015
  • Quantity: 188 cases (846 liters / 1128 bottles)
  • ABV: 47.23%

As with all bottles in the series all those details are printed prominently on the label. It’s hard to believe that until recently this was a rarity, Mezcalero deserves credit for having been among the first to pioneer this standard. Read more