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Mayalen Borrego and Guerrero

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#1 Guy DeLouche

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 05:59 PM

Brand Name: Mayalen Agua de Juventud

Mezcalero: Erdini S.A. de C.V
Origin:  Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico
Importer: Classic Imports, Norwood, MA

Retailer: K&L
Type: Joven. Borrego is a meat-based distillate, with lamb infused in the final distillation.

Distillations: Guerrero: 2. Borrego: 3
Grind: Stone?

Still: Copper alembic

Batch Size: see bottle#
Alcohol by Volume: Guerrero: 54%. 
Borrego: 49%

Fermentation date: 2013

Bottle #: B, 616/672. G, 749/1014.

Lot: B, CP00714. G, CP00814.

Closure: Real cork topped with plastic.
Bottle: 750mL tall, clear bottle
Agave: Wild Cupreata

Bottle descriptions:


Borrego: "Guerrero's answer to the ever popular and expensive Pechuga from Oaxaca. They start with the same Wild Cupreata base before steeping the nuts, fruits and spices in the batch. This infusion is then redistilled with a freshly butchered leg of lamb suspended in the still. The result is a wonderully unusual spirit with an absolutely unparalleled texture and a wildly delicious range of flavors to offer. Meaty, spicy, herbal, but balanced, at this price the Borrego might be the best meaty mezcal on the shelf."


Guerrero: "From the rural mountains of Guerrero this special Mezcal is a total eye opener. Guerrero has taken a back seat to Oaxaca, but the magnificent products of this tumultuous region are proving to be every bit as unique and complex as their cousin's to the south. The "Guerrero" bottling is 100% wild Cupreata bottled at full strength directly off the copper alembic still. It is 100% hand harvested and cooked in earthen ovens much like in Oaxaca. This massive and complex mezcal has a strong herbal kick to it, before pepper and citrus fruit aromas. Rich cacao and herbal spice continue on the finish. Top quality hand crafted mezcal at full strength for less than $50. No brainer."

Visual: Water-clear, no sediment. Lasting pearls. Thick legs, especially on the Guerrero.


Borrego - Copper, anise, vague meaty notes - the lamb doesn't really come through until the palate. This is my first "pechuga" style mezcal, and it seems a bit out there - I frankly prefer the floral and herbal complexities of the less-expensive Guerrero.


Guerrero - Leather, apricots, a bit of varnish, clay, heather honey. A bit fumey, little in the way of smoke, but lots of layered botanicals in the background. Very wild vegetal agave expression; very different from Espadin, but very good. Seems to soften as it breathes. 


Borrego - Meaty, lamby, earthy. Not as fierce as the Guerrero, but there is a berry-like sweetness that makes for a very interesting finish. Soft smoky notes do make themselves known on the palate and finish, but they are very light. A bit of juniper appears right at the end, like a digestif after a big meal. I still prefer the Guerrero, as it seems there's a bit too much going on with the extra ingredients here, but it's certainly an education, and not an outrageously priced one for $55.


Guerrero - I really like the herbal agave flavors going on here. There are some odd jagged edges - solvent, some Elmer's glue - but the clay and agave are very welcome. This is a stinger though - 54% is no joke, and takes "macho" up a level, but there is also a delicacy to the Cupreata agave, and I get some raw green chile and maybe even epazote before the burn completely numbs the palate. Definitely worth the trip for $50. This is the one I'd get again.

Overall Impression: I'm impressed. There isn't the warm, lulling sweet/burn combo that's so enthralling with the Marca Negra products, or the comforting roast corn goodness you get with Vago's excellent Elote. These are wild, spicy offerings that are complex, bracing, and even fierce. Water of youth? More like a slap in the face from your mama.

Bang for the Buck Rating: Good. These remind me a bit of the Alipus line: good value, very different from each other, sometimes challenging, but the true spirit of Mezcal. No softening of the tradition for North American palates - Mayalen convinces me this is the stuff they drink themselves, even if it does come wrapped in a tall fancy bottle. I am sufficiently intrigued to pursue the purchase of their third product, the Wild Cupreata.


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#2 don Pablo

don Pablo

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 03:14 PM

Always enjoy your reviews. Forget to drop by here very often. Pretty big fan of the Mayalen -- recommend you try their standard bottling. Look me up if you make it out to Seattle.

#3 Guy DeLouche

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 01:22 PM

Much obliged dP, and likewise if you ever find yourself in the Denver area. Mi casa es su casa.