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#1 Guy DeLouche

Guy DeLouche


  • Agave friends
  • 130 posts

Posted 15 July 2012 - 04:05 PM

Brand Name: Manonegra
Producer: Juan Isaias Martinez
Origin: San Juan Del Rio, Oaxaca
Importer: Batrachian Spirits, Manhasset, NY

Retailer: Astor Wines
Type: Joven

Distillations: ? Assuming 2.
Gusano: No
Proof: 100
Closure: Real cork topped with real wood.

Bottle: 750mL flask-shaped, blue glass with a black silkscreened handprint gripping the bottle. Embossed label. Classy, original design without being flashy or tacky. Distiller's signature is on the label, with a hand-written batch number (09-2011) and bottle number (294/750) below it. In short, awesome. (This is my second bottle, and I don't often buy any mezcal twice.)
Agave:100% Espadin.

Other: They make a 100% tobala, but I'm not worthy enough (or rich enough - Astor will special-order you a bottle for a cool $105. Maybe for Father's Day.)

Visual: Hazy. White, snowy dandruff-like sediment. Beautiful, lasting perlas. Legs that don't stop.
Nose: Low smoke, some anise and faint brass complexity, agave and alcohol.
Body/Taste: Gentle smoke, more on the exhale and aftertaste than anywhere, vibrant agave flavors, some of brassy, copper penny flavor, but not as much as I remember from the last batch. Macho! This has some spark, and at 50% abv, it's no surprise.

Aftertaste/Finish: The initial bite fades gently, with an earthy, roast agave mash sweetness in its wake. Pretty much everything that (as far as I know) mezcal is supposed to be. No saltiness here, though perhaps a tiny bit more savory finish would bring out even more sweetness, but the unadulterated flavors of roasted espadin pinas are to die for, even more so in this bottle than in my last Manonegra. That batch seemed to have a bit more smoke, more brass, and a little less agave. This is a definite improvement.
Overall Impression: Holy Toledo, this is exceptional mezcal. I like it every bit as much as my reference Mezcalero, but for different reasons. It's the very essence of fire-roasted agave in a bottle, with little to stand in its way. From memory, I'd have to say this is actually superior to the Piedre Almas Espadin, which is high praise indeed if you've ever tasted that venerable drink. It's less fumy and volatile up front and less fiery at the close, despite its comparable alcohol strength - and there's more agave in between. What more could one ask for? Maybe this is the new reference.

Rating: Excellent.

Bang for the Buck Rating: Yes, it's $50, but for what you get? Heck, I'd have to slap an Excellent on it here, too. This here's the real deal, folks - treat yourself to a bottle. You won't be disappointed.

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#2 Guy DeLouche

Guy DeLouche


  • Agave friends
  • 130 posts

Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:50 PM

Now known as "Mezcal Marca Negra". Same product, different name.