I recently came across a post from another mezcal blogger, La Nina del Mezcal (click to see her post), that I found to be interesting. It was about the “MEZCALFEST DF 2012”, which was apparently recently held in Mexico City, though I confess that I cannot find anything online in English about this mezcal festival (yes, my lack of Spanish language acumen is a chink in my mezcal armor!).
But nevertheless, her post intrigued me because there was a list of the top 10 mezcals from this festival. Was this La Nina’s list? An official list? I am not sure and she does not say. Please, La Nina, enlighten us!
But I am always on the look out for premium mezcals so this list got my attention. However, the only mezcal on this list that can be had in the U.S. is Wahaka, which I have tried and is quite good. The others, while I had heard of a few, cannot be found in the U.S. (please tell me differently if you know better), so keep this list handy next time you are mezcal binge-ing through Oaxaca and bring some back!
Here is the list from La Nina with a few judge-a-mezcal-by-its-label-and-packaging comments from me :
1. Mezcal El Cortijo. Label is a Freaky Friday Valentine. Man with pig nose ripping heart out of dowdy puritan lady.
2. Los Sietes Misterios. A bit too macabre for me. Skeleton people drinking mezcal? May we all be that lucky when we get there. (OK, perhaps a Day of the Dead reference, but still…)
3. Mezcal Yuu Baal. Now this is a nice bottle! Makes me want to try it.
4. Wahaka. Their juice is good just hard for me to embrace the name or the label. “Wahaka” sounds Hawaiian and the label looks a bit as such.
6. Esperito Lauro. Nice, elegant packaging though it seems a bit busy or medicinal.
7. Michoacan. I don’t think this is actually a brand. La Nina references the mezcals from the State of Michoacan which were recently granted Denomination of Origin status for mezcal.
9. Durango. Similar to Michoacan, this is not a brand, but a State in which mezcal is produced.
So given that 2 names on the list are regions and not brands, I guess that makes only 8 mezcal brands that are here. And one of them is Wahaka, which we all know, so maybe this post should be entitled “7 Mezcals You Have Probably Never Heard Of”? But I will defer to La Nina here as this is just a riff of her original post – she did the homework and provides more color, so I will stick with her list of 10. Be sure to read her post too.
Now the shame of this list is that if you live in the U.S., you cannot buy any of them! I buy a lot of mezcal online, and the two best places I have found are Hi-Time Wine Cellars and Zee Tequila. These two sites do not have any of these mezcals (except Wahaka), and I cannot find them anywhere else on the web.
If you have others that I (maybe the collective “we”) have perhaps never heard of that you think are special, please let me know!