Mezcal Festival Day 2: Del Maguey Vida, 42%

When I did the bottle share I quickly decided that it would be focused around Del Maguey’s mezcals. Somehow they seemed to be the top of the line and the less random booze of a single village mezcal appealed to me. I guess that’s the whisky anorak speaking, but I want info, and identifiable causes for different flavors.

Since most of the booze was going to be Espadin agave, there had to be another way of identifying the liquid, and apparently the terroir of the agave, and therefore the flavor of the distillate seems to do the trick.

Del Maguey’s Vida is their entry level mezcal. The main product of the line, but still a single village mezcal, heralding from San Luis Del Rio, in Oaxaca. It is made from 100% Espadin Agave and bottled at a somewhat lighter ABV of 42%. Compared to the others that is.

I did take care of picking only ‘normal’ mezcals since Del Maguey have been screwing around with their product a little bit by hanging chicken breasts or an Iberico ham in their still while running it. I kid you not. While this might be an interesting experiment, I find the entire idea puts me off. I would like to taste that ham, though!

Luckily, this one is pure and unadulterated by any kind of meat or poultry.

Thick and syrupy with strong scents of vanilla. Of course, the agave is noticeable with quite some smoke and a smaller spicy note. Quite creamy, with greasy smoke. Not like an engine smoke though. More like burning plants.

The palate is a lot more fruity than the nose, and than expected. There’s hints of creamy orange yogurt and banana. Hints of pepper and salsa verde. Some vanilla again with a lighter smokiness. Agave and a dry sensation.

The finish is very consistent with the flavor albeit somewhat less fruity than the palate. It’s long with vanilla, plants and thick smoke.

I haven’t tried the other Del Magueys yet (getting the Chichicapa in a minute!), but if this is the entry level it sure is promising! Especially at the price this is going at, it’s a lovely drink and there’s quite a lot to discover. The fruitiness surprised me, and in a good way. It added something to the mix that is quite lovely and different from most things I’ve tried before.

If you’re not sure if you’re going to like mezcal but are willing to try it for yourself by buying a bottle, this is the one I would suggest, based on my limited knowledge. It shows quality, and is rather affordable (to us whisky geeks, that is).

So, without comparing to the other Del Magueys, this is highly recommended.

Mezcal Festival Day 2: Del Maguey Vida, 42%. Available at Slijterij Leiden’s website for € 38.95

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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