Tradition exists for a reason. In this case it’s blending the tails into the body of the mezcal to bring the ABV down which also contributes to the flavor.
• Location: Santiago, Matatlan
• Agave: Domesticated espadín
• Maestra Mezcalera: Karina Abad
• ABV: 52.4%
• NOM: O14X
Bright agave and lots of turbinado sugar
Rich, subtle, almost caramelized sugars. As with all the Nahuales and Mezcalero mezcals, balance is the keyword. Tasting this blind I would have never guessed that it clocks in at more than 52% ABV. There are no hard alcoholic notes, the roast is integrated, the fruit is integrated, it’s all the more amazing because this style is consistent across all the mezcals that Karina Abad works on.
The whole idea behind this mezcal was to bring back the traditional proofing methodology of adding the tails to the heart of the distillation. The original regulatory language for the mezcal DO forbade this practice but it’s now allowed.
Karina Abad is the maestra mezcalera on this bottle, a rare distinction since she is most frequently working behind the scenes with other mezcaleros but on this one, she led the charge. She’s also one of the few female maestros. I’ve been impressed by how consistent she is with her selections and asked importer Ansley Coal about it. He said that he was equally impressed with the same quality: “What’s great for me is how closely she and I see eye to eye. We always like the same samples.”
It’s equally impressive that she’s able to produce bottles like this that put her aesthetic into action while working with diverse mezcaleros. She clearly allows their personalities to express themselves in combination with hers. That’s a rare gift.