Mezcal Festival Day 6: Ilegal Joven, 40%

The last of my mezcal collection until yesterday. Yesterday the five new mezcals for the second bottle share came in, but I’m going to do some whiskies again before reviewing those.

Anyway, this one is one I bought from The Whisky Exchange in one the latest bigger booze hauls, with a couple of mates. It might be a bit before this happens again since the exchange rate is currently at a staggering 1.42 Euros for a Pound. This makes booze from the United Kingdom ridiculously expensive. To think that it was almost one to one about five years ago.

The Ilegal comes from illegality. The initial releases of the company were for a restaurant in Guatamala and illegally hauled from Mexico. It became popular and was made into a legal brand with a slightly contraband feel to it. A thin layer of wax to seal the bottle, a nice label made to look like it’s a random scrap of paper attached to the bottle.

The story is nicer than the look of it. As in, if the bottle looks like contraband, it’s bloody fancy contraband. If you regard the bottle without the story, it’s quite nice, though.

There’s agave and lemon peel or lemon oil. There’s a very light smoke to it and a strong hint of earthy scents. Lightly herbaceous like thyme. After a while the earthy notes take over with hints of straw, mushrooms and wet dirt.

The palate is ‘green’. Flavors of plants, straw and agave. Some hints of cactus with a light smokiness again. It’s a bit thin and flat on the palate though.

The finish is sharper with more smoke. The feeling of smoke, like when you’re next to a bonfire and inhale smoke too deeply. It lacks that flavor though. Agave, cactus and the herbal flavor again.

On TWE’s website it was described as having a hollow palate, which I didn’t understand and I asked Billy what he meant. He said it would do well in a cocktail if you knew how to fill the lack of flavor in the middle. If, by that, he means that it sort of falls flat on the palate, he’s right.

It’s a nice enough drink, but for the money you spend on it I would instantly pick Del Maguey’s Vida over this. More so because this is only half a liter and that makes it a fairly expensive mezcal, that doesn’t all what you hope it does.

Mezcal Ilegal Joven, 40%, 50cl, available at The Whisky Exchange for £ 33.95

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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