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Mezcal Vago - Espadin

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#1 Guy DeLouche

Guy DeLouche


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Posted 18 August 2013 - 05:22 PM

Brand Name: Mezcal Vago Espadin

Mezcalero: Aquilino Garcia Lopez
Origin:  Candelaria Yegole
Importer: Montanero Mezcal LLC, Ophir, CO

Retailer: Andrews Wine Cellars, Oswego, NY. $35.99.
Type: Joven

Distillations: 2
Grind: Stone

Still: Copper

Batch Size: 595 liters
Alcohol by Volume: 51%

Fermentation date: 9/2012

NOM: 0188X

Lot: 01-12-8

Closure: Real cork topped with real wood
Bottle: 750mL tall, clear bottle
Agave: 100% Espadin

Bottle description: "Espadin has a light aroma of sweet potatoes, citrus and flint. Its palate has hints of Anise and plantains with a long pine and caramel finish."

Visual: Water-clear, no sediment. Lasting pearls.

Nose: I get some light, fresh red (hot, perhaps Thai red dragon) chile notes, rather than sweet potatoes, but there is definitely a sweet, fruity ester from the distillate. The earthy, clay pot note is there, and there is a bit of anise or sweet fennel bulb too. Oddly devoid of that roasty-sweet Espadin agave mash aroma, at least aromatically.

Body/Taste: The agave mash, along with the roasty sweetness I've come to expect from an Espadin joven, makes its presence known on the palate. Absolutely delicious; the flavor of this mezcal explodes, carried by a strong alcohol that's blessedly free of any plastic or vinyl phenols. This was a good ferment, with good yeast. I can see the plantain descriptor; there is a cooked fruit sweetness that must be a result of the slow-roast agave mash. Finishes smooth and sweet, with a nice burn that seems tame for 51%.

Overall Impression: Excellent. I've been able to obtain five of these Vago mezcals, and this is my second favorite; I find their Elote superior. I really thought that the distillations of some of their more exotic agaves like Coyote and Mexicano, would produce better mezcal, but after side-by-side comparisons, good old Espadin finishes very strong. I really love that fresh red chile note, and in small batches like these, it might have been completely coincidental, but wow, when you get to the flavor, it really comes into its own. I've only had this sort of agave mash flavor from the Manonegra/Marcanegra mezcals, which is still a leading brand in my opinion. For $45.99, this is only slightly cheaper than the Marcanegra Espadin, but the two are definitely of similar quality. And it is top quality.

Bang for the Buck Rating: Very good. This is pricey, but some of the best you'll find distributed in the US right now, and well worth the money if you are into mezcal. Read up on what this guy is doing; he's basically an American entrepreneur who got turned on to traditional mezcal while touring Oaxaca. He and his partner have now made a business out of marketing some of the best single-village mezcals for distribution in the USA, giving full credit (and proceeds) to the mezcaleros; and they still make it using traditional methods and equipment. Maybe a spinoff of what DM is (are) doing, but nonetheless a win-win in my book.


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#2 vanguero


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Posted 19 August 2013 - 04:44 PM

after tasting the Mezcal Vago┬┤s Tobala - all I could say is damn it made me want to try more - thanks for sharing the tasting notes -I think that Elote uses corn grown on his extended family's estate - the whole line is far from big production & just looks like a great "traditional" thing - again can't wait to visit these palenques