18 Responses

  1. Tyler at |

    Doc, have you tried the Rey Campero Arroqueno? I think either the US supply is very limited or they are just now starting to bring import it. Hopefully more is on the way. I’m curious how it stacks up to your current lineup.

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Tyler, I think they are just now adding it to their US lineup. I did a full tasting of what they had in the US last spring, and I am pretty sure an arroqueno was not among them (given my affection for arroquenos I think I would remember if it was there). So no – I have not tried it. But I will say their Cuixe is outstanding! At that tasting I kept returning to that bottle. But thanks for the tip as now I will be on the look out for their arro……drink mezcal!

      Reply
  2. JN at |

    Great blog and keep the posts coming!

    I recently had a chance to visit Craft Distillers in Ukiah, the guys that are responsible for bringing the Mezcalero series to the US market. They mentioned that there are 3 different bottlings of the 9th release, which I understand to be 9F, 9J and 9L. It is all Arroqueno, but from 3 different distilleries. Here is a little blurb from the Craft Distillers site, which Ted alluded to above:

    From three separate distilleries using single clay potstills in El Potrero de Sola de Vega. Agave Arroqueño, intense & spicy, with a soft mouthfeel from the clay stills. 762 bottles at 47-49% abv.

    I tried the 9F at a spirits festival here in SF and loved it. A week later, I ended up purchasing 9L thinking it was the same thing and noticed quite a variance between the two (there was a week in between, but tasted much different than I had remembered). I own bottles of the 9F and 9L now and hope to pick up the 9J so I can taste all 3 side-by-side. Will definitely report back on my findings, but wanted to confirm what Ted mentioned.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Great info as well. Look forward to the review of all 3!

      Reply
    2. Mario at |

      Thanks Permalink! While I’ve had the Mezcalero 9L for some time and really enjoyed it, I didn’t know there was a 9J and a 9F, all from the same village and all clay-distilled. Whodathunk? So I went hunting: couldn’t find the 9F but found the 9J at Bounty Hunters and am now comparing the two.

      Cutting to the chase, I prefer the 9L. Why? To me the 9L has a softer, richer nose while the J has something a little funky…not acetone or petrol, just something maybe even a little more than funky. As for taste, the L is round, somewhat fruity, fairly complex and downright delicious….the J seems lighter, less fruity and more alcohol-forward…with something else going on that I can’t quite put my finger on.

      Admittedly, I just cracked open the J while my L has been around for a few months as is only about 1/4 full (yes I’ve been a bad boy) and I’ve noticed a freshly opened bottle being “more alcoholic” tasting compared to the well worn, months-old bottle.

      I then had my wife and daughter try the two (after I tasted and noted). The two were unanimous in their preference for L and didn’t really like the J…their notes were more divergent between the two than mine.

      So that’s it from me….and if anyone know where I can score the elusive F, tighten up your mescal bro please!

      Mezcalario

      Reply
  3. Ted M. at |

    Hi John—

    Great Blog and your new book is outstanding—a landmark work, and one sorely needed.

    A couple of notes on the arroqueños. Taste is certainly subjective, but my taste is generally in accord with your assessments, and very much so with regard to the various silvestres, including the arroqueños I have had. That said, I have never been exceptionally enamored with my bottle of Siete Misterios, which seemed a bit puzzling and I did wonder if it was a batch issue. Interesting that in this recent tasting of yours you found it less than what you had remembered. In looking at your photo on your blog it looks like your bottle may be 385/1950, 48.7% alcohol, and I can’t quite read the date, but is it 2008? My bottle is 024/1950, 48.7%, manufactured in 2008 (which seems like a rather long time ago). So, I am wondering if this batch is different from the one(s) that you found so compelling?

    Another note on the Mezcalero 9. The Mezcalero website lists three distillers. My bottle and I think yours only lists Don Leonardo Rojas Garcia. My bottle indicates it is no. 9L., 60 cases 6 x 750 ml, 46.2% alcohol. The Bounty Hunter catalog lists 9J (not L) and indicates it is exclusive to their catalog with only 204 bottles produced, and lists alcohol at 93.4 proof. http://www.bountyhunterwine.com/product.asp?ic=1SMEZNVOS39J
    It appears that there may be several sub-batches of release 9, perhaps each of the distillers bottled separately one wonders.

    Keep up the great work!

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Ted, thanks for all the in-depth commentary! You are clearly in deep, which I respect tremendously of course.

      I suspect that all the Siete we are talking about here is from the same 1950 bottle lot from 2008. I would bet they have not imported anything other than that batch. Every bottle I have ever seen, ordered, observed at bars, friends houses, are all from that lot (at least every time I’ve checked). Which makes it even more curious to me that it seems to have a lost a wee bit of its mojo for me. On the other hand, my friend Mario, still thinks it rules the day and he knows his mezcals well. Maybe my palate has changed or maybe the taste has changed a bit in the bottle, which many believe is a regular occurrence (I am less certain about unopened bottles).

      I am surprised that you were never in love with it. For years, I thought it was the best joven to be found and everybody I turned onto it pretty much agreed. But as you said, this is all so subjective and you know my saying is drink what YOU like! Doesn’t matter what other people like!

      As for the Mezcalero 9, great observation. I might have to buy the BountyHunter bottle and compare – like I need an excuse to buy more mezcal! It would be surprising to me that they would use different producers for a one-off arroqueno offering. But I cannot say I know anything about the way Danzantes works, so just baseless speculation here!

      At any rate, thanks so much for contributing!!

      John

      Reply
      1. Ted M. at |

        Thank you for your additional insight John, and for taking the time to respond.

        In the world of wine (though less often these days) a winery might not have a big enough blending tank for all of the fermenting/holding tanks or barrels of a given wine, so a wine of a given vintage, though labeled the same, may have come from different tanks or barrels. Often the differences are minimal, occasionally the differences are quite dramatic.

        In the world of Mezcal, the batch of Siete Misterios of 1,950 bottles seems moderately large. One wonders if it may not all have been blended together before bottling and perhaps some vessels might have different distillation fractions than others? In the case of my bottle, it is not so much a matter of pronounced characteristics that I don’t happen to prefer, but rather the character is actually rather modest and restrained—not expansive in aromatics as one would expect from an arroqueño.

        In any event, it is one of Siete Misterios mysteries and another enjoyable Mezcal adventure along the journey. All good fun. And again, your book is a wonderful guide for the journey—a spendid match of depth and enthusiasm.

        Cheers.

        Ted

        Reply
        1. Mezcal PhD at |

          I have been to the producer’s palenque who made these bottles (apparently no longer the producer for the Siete Arroqueno). He has the big plastic storage tanks that all these guys use. I am not sure how many liters they hold but certainly look like they could hold 2000 bottles and more.

          Now this is made in clay pot stills which can make maybe 20-30 liters a batch. Then they pour it into the storage tank to bottle. So it is blended from many single batches. They probably would bottle it all at once (i.e. all the same blend of batches) because it can only be bottled after COMERCAM has certified and removed the seal. The producers want to minimize the number of times they get COMERCAM there because it is a hassle and time consuming (not enough COMERCAM guys to go around for ease of scheduling). It is possible these bottles were done from different blends though, so I cannot rule it out. But most likely not.

          So how would I account for the different tastes from bottle to bottle (if they exist)? I don’ know!! But it is interesting that you find this not aromatic and restrained because even the current bottle I have (which I may not think is as good as previous) is still bursting with aroma and flavor. But as you said, just one more of mezcal’s mysteries!!

          Love it all. Thanks for the shout out on the book and contributing!

          Reply
          1. Ted M. at |

            I don’t want to overpost, but Julio Mestre S., founder of Siete Misterios, was kind enough to respond to my inquiry. As usual John, you are on the mark—all of the arroqueño was blended together prior to bottling. Also great news that Siete Misterios will be returning to the US.

            My inquiry and Julio Mestre’s response follows:
            ————————————
            Hola–

            1. When will your excellent Mezcals return to the United States?

            2. Your outstanding arroqueño from 2008 batch of 1,950 seems to have differences among the bottles. Did you blend altogether before bottling or were they bottled from separate containers?

            Thank you—looking forward to more of your wonderful Mezcals.

            Muchas gracias!

            Ted
            ———–
            Hello Ted,

            First of all, thanks for your kind words. I gladly reply to your questions.

            1. We are closing some deals with different distributors as we speak, we hope to be there in no time, probably by the end of this year or the beginning of 2015.

            2. We did blend everything before bottling, it is strange that you noticed differences between one and another, can you tell me where did you buy those bottles? was it a totally different product?

            Cheers

            Salud.

            Julio Mestre S.
            Founder

          2. Mezcal PhD at |

            Ted, you are not over-posting when you are bringing this kind of value! Good stuff. But as he says, it IS strange that we seem to notice taste differences. I suspect the bottles are the same and my palate shifted a bit so they just taste a bit differently to me. And I think it just never worked for you in the first place (to meet you arroqueno expectations that is).

            All is all, thanks for contributing and creating an excellent thread for this post!

          3. Ted M. at |

            This is a bit out of place, but it follows the conversational thread on Siete Misteriosos availability in the US from my 10/17/14 posting. As Julio Mestre S. of Siete Misterios indicated, the brand is now back in the US.

            So far, I have found a copper distilled Agave angustifolia and a clay distilled Tobala at Andrew’s Wine Seller. The Agave angustifolia is a fairly straightforward mezcal at a fairly straightforward price. The clay distilled Tobala is a wallet wrenching 139.99.

            I tend to think of Tobalas as having hints of the supple syrupy character of Mexicano but with more complexity. The Siete Misterios version is quite different. It is rather hard edged in comparison, but with some cheese-like funk complexing elements that are quite compelling. This is a different Tobala—but excellent in its own style. The price is getting a bit over the top, unfortunately.

            Speaking of cheese-like funk, the Racilla La Venenosa Sierra del tigre de Jalisco (orange label) from the Agave Inaequidens, single distilled, has it in spades–no smoke, but amazing complexity.

            Ted

  4. Mario at |

    Great post John! And yes, you’re spot on with respect to characterizing my tasting impressions. But jeez, Siete Misterios knocked from the top? I understand we’re really splitting hairs here with all these fine mescals, but I’m left stunned….ok, not really stunned but surprised. I last did Arroqueno side by sides with wife and daughter (am I a bad family man?) and while we differed on 2nd, 3rd and 4th place, 7M was the unanimous king. I propose the following: let me know which batch of 7M you have and if mine is different, I’ll send you a vile and you can compare to your 7M…..como lo vez?

    Reply
  5. Sonia Gomez at |

    Very interesting and mouth watering post! I’m going on line to get some arroqueños.

    Reply
  6. Pedro Quintanilla at |

    Glad MarcaNegra made it (just)! We are very happy you liked maestro Alberto’s Arroqueño since for the reasons you stated in your post, he says this batch might be his last of this agave, at least in the foreseeable future. Tip: it’s a freshly made batch and it’s quite potent, so you might want to let it rest in its bottle -preferably in a dark place- for at least 2 to 3 months. You’ll find by then that it attains an incredible, elegant balance and that the slight alcohol finish completely goes away. Please let us know.

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Thanks Pedro for the comments and the booze!! I will take you up on your suggestion and put it away for a few months. It really does not need much balancing as it is already excellent, but I look forward to another round during the holidays!

      Reply
  7. Azure Blue at |

    Great post and thank you so much for your information. Are you going to Taste Of Mexico in San Diego the weekend of September 28th? Love your book, Azure

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Thanks for reading! I wish I was in SD for that event. But I was just in San Fran this past weekend and two trips out West is just not in the cards….

      Reply

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