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Mezcal Production in Oaxaca

Source: Alfredo Martinez / Getty

The world of Mezcal is starting to explode more than ever before as tastes mature and expectations in fine spirits evolve. Today (Oct. 21) is National Mezcal Day and we take a look at some of our favorites along with brands we hope to sample in the days to come.

I try not to make this space about my journey because everyone is different, but I hope readers can grasp in my writings that I’m learning to appreciate what I’m sipping in real time and hope you’ll join me on that journey. Of the mezcals featured below, I don’t have a clear-cut favorite as they all have their nuances and notes that work in a variety of ways. Much like the other distilled spirits on the market, Mezcal is an acquired taste but once you understand it, it’s such a beautiful experience. Now, on to the show!

Mezcal Amarás

Mezcal Amarás Review

Source: D.L. Chandler / DLC

For those who follow this space, we recently featured this brand and it is truly one of the better experiences I’ve had in doing this work covering adult beverages and spirits. What I enjoyed the most about the range of offerings from Amarás is that each expression had its own standout moment in terms of the nose, distinct flavors, and finish. I have yet to use any of them in a cocktail but I can see myself grabbing the Espadín Reposado and using it in a riff on the Oaxacan Old Fashioned or a Margarita. Since it’s a little cooler on the East Coast these days, I’m going for the slow sippers but trust me, Mezcal Amarás is worth the journey.

Learn more about the brand by following this link.

Montelobos

I’m not entirely sure as the time all blends together but I want to say that my first real deep experience with Mezcal occurred with the Montelobos brand. I’ve only had the unaged Espadin version of this spirit and I primarily sipped it over a big rock or neat. I was also pretty jazzed to see characters from the hit Netflix series Ozark sipping the drink in Mexico in a rather pivotal scene. In my very general view, this is definitely something to pour for newbies to the stuff but by no means does that signify the level of quality inside the bottle. I hope to try the rest of the range one day.

Learn more about the brand by following this link.

Mezcal El Silencio

National Mezcal Day x El Silencio

Source: El Silencio / El Silencio

I’m not familiar with this brand but here’s what I can tell you about this relatively new player on the scene. El Silencio was founded in 2013 by Fausto Zapata and Vicente Cisneros, both from Mexico City so we’re confident they’re keeping close to the tradition. The brand’s Espadin expression clocks in at a respectable 86 proof which sounds prime for sipping neat or in their version of a Hot Toddy. Hey, it is getting cold in some parts of the United States and El Silencio is making its way through the market due to a growing interest in the smoky spirit.

“The real beauty of mezcal is that it’s a spirit meant to be enjoyed in more ways than one. Traditionally, mezcal is celebrated as a drink to sip and savor, taking in the many complexities and flavors of its profile. That being said, there is absolutely no other spirit in the world that compliments as large a variety of cocktail recipes as mezcal does.” -Torrence Swain Regional Sales Director East Coast

Learn more about the brand by following this link.

Lobos 1707

Oaxaca Old Fashioned x Lobos 1707

Source: D.L. Chandler / DLC

As with most things in the spirits world, you have your snobs and then you have people who drink whatever the hell they want. I fall in the latter and I’ll tell you why. I did a story about Lobos 1707, which you can read here, and I am a huge fan of their products despite Lobos being a so-called “celebrity” brand. Typically, brands backed by a big name are hit or miss but I’m a fan. I’m in the pack! That said, their Mezcal expression was something I found to be a pleasant mixer when I first experienced it. I did that to get myself familiar with the juice in the bottle and as time went on, I found myself pouring it neat and enjoying that way the most. In my opinion, it’s a perfect sip at the end of a good meal or while watching a certain Los Angeles Lakers superstar go coast to coast.

Learn more about the brand by following this link.

Contraluz

Contraluz Cristalino

Source: Contraluz / Casa Lumbre

Contraluz boasts itself as the world’s first cristalino (“crystalline”) mezcal, which means this is an oak-aged mezcal filtered to be crystal clear. The cristalino expression is slowly growing legs in the mezcal market (remember, tequila is technically a mezcal) and we can’t wait to sample this baby for you guys very soon. This brand comes to us from Casa Lumbre.

Learn more about the brand by following this link.

If there are any Mezcals I need to check out, please reach out to me via the comments section below and I’ll be glad to check them out. Until then, enjoy this holiday safely!

Photo: Getty