35 Responses

  1. Elizabeth at |

    I have many of the mezcals on this amazing list..just want to make one recommendation..Clase Azul..one of my absolute favorites.

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Interesting choice. It’s one of the more expensive mezcals you can buy at $200+, and while I have not tried it, I have had several very mezcal-y people tell me it’s not very good. But as I always say, drink what you like. So if it works for you, stick with it.

      Reply
  2. woodchip at |

    Hola,

    First of all, thanks! I dig your site; great information with your personal touch. It has been extremely helpful as I carve my way into the world of mezcal.

    I was raised in San Diego (30+ years) and loved tequila. I didn’t start drinking mezcal until I moved to Raleigh, and went to Gallo Pelon last year. Spent over $300, and had a great time sampling various mezcals.

    Just 2wks ago, I bought my first bottle – Wahaka Tobala, and yesterday, after looking at your list, I decided to try an El Jolgorio product (Madrequixe). It arrives Monday – can’t wait.

    Again, thanks, for your efforts – keep it going!!!

    Btw, I also purchased some Jicaras and Sal de Gusano through your site.

    Take care,
    woodchip

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Sorry for the slow reply! Thanks for chiming in and I am glad you are on the right path!! Let me now if I can help. Drink mezcal!

      Reply
  3. K D Kearney at |

    Hello Mezcal PhD and thank you for the starter lists . I have been exploring mezcal for about 2.5 years and have sampled about 2 dozen different joven / blancos and am looking to broaden my palate and experience .

    I have two questions :1) which bottles do you consider to be the finest mezcal anejos – can you recommend 2-4 different items or so ? and 2) I have the feeling that you do not like when worms / gusanos are placed in mezcal bottles . What are your thoughts, then, on Scorpion mezcal? Can you in good faith and good taste recommend any of their products?

    Thank you for any advice and information you can share .

    K D Kearney

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Hey KD, thanks for the note. On your aged request, I think Ilegal kills it here. Their repo and anejo are outstanding by any measure. As you may have already found out, there is not too much other aged product in mezcal, so Ilegal wins by a landslide. Two other brands that make excellent aged mezcals are Agave de Cortes and Sacacuento – but both can be hard to find.

      And you are correct on the worm theme – hate it! Thankfully it is rare in quality mezcals. As for Scorpion, I similarly do not like the gimmick. If you have a great product, why do you need to put a bug in there? The spirit should speak for itself. Setting that aside, Scorpion is closer to a tequila. They cook the pinas in aboveground brick ovens, not earthen pits. So you will not find the characteristic mezcal smoke in that brand. It is good for what it is, but it does not fit for my mezcal palate. And I have found their aged product to be less appealing than a top notch aged tequila. Hope this all helps. Drink mezcal!

      Reply
    2. K D Kearney at |

      Thank you for your swift and thorough reply . Now I really regret not buying the Ilegal anejo when I saw it last week. Well , there is always next time .

      Thanks for the tip on Scorpion , I think I will pass on their products as I like the smokiness of a mezcal vs. tequila .

      Feliz Pasqua !

      Reply
  4. Dylan Sinclair at |

    Agree with De Leyenda line: all I’ve tasted have been very nice. The Guerrero was exceptional. I also was told Siete Misterios is available in the US, but I don’t know where to find it. Their Coyote and Pechuga are both very nice! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      I would take Siete over Legend all day long…..just one opinion…..

      Reply
      1. Dylan Sinclair at |

        I’ve only had 2 of the Leyenda line: Guerrero and Durango which were both very good to excellent in my opinion. That said: I think the Coyote and Pechuga from Siete def are a notch above both. The rest of their line is on par in my opinion though. Too bad it’s so hard to find either of these here in the US (let alone on a dry reservation like where I live…. )!

        Reply
  5. Robert Skok at |

    How would you rate a Mezcal named OaxBCN-I was given
    A bottle but know nothing about it and the website oaxbcn.com is all Spanish and could not find a translation.
    Thank you
    Bob

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      I have never heard of it. Does it list the type of agave? The ABV? Is there a CRM stamp? Is there a NOM number? A good start would be a yes to all those things. You can email me a picture of the front and back babe if you want at john@mezcalphd.com

      Will try to help!

      Reply
    2. Edward at |

      Here’s an article in English on the OAX-BCN mezcal:
      http://www.finedininglovers.com/stories/mezcal-drink-mexico/

      Other details from their OAX-BCN website:

      The mezcal is produced by a fifth generation mezcalero using traditional methods, but they add “Mediterranean” plants and herbs to the agave during the fermentation step for a unique taste profile.

      The agave they use is silvestre madrecuixe. They appear to use a tahona to crush the agave (at least it’s in the pictures). The mezcal is double distilled using a copper still.

      And they only produce 1000 bottles per year.

      Reply
    3. Edward at |

      On the pro side they are using traditional methods and appear to be very particular in the product they are producing.

      But a couple things struck me as “off”.

      First, it’s not quite entirely mezcal in that it’s flavored with other plants. That’s not to say it’s bad. I suspect it is likely very good. But there will be differences in taste from other mezcals.

      And the other article made a point saying how these guys are avoiding the “drawbacks of other mezcals.” Excuse me? You can extol the virtues of your product with dissing everyone else.

      Reply
      1. Cgard at |

        Flavoring Mezcal with fruit and herbs goes back a long way. Don’t diss what you just don’t know. I haven’t tasted this particular Mezcal, only reacting to your comments about “not quite entirely Mezcal”. If you walk into Casa de Mezcal, an old mescal-driven saloon near the B. Juarez market in Oaxaca with a long history, you’ll have your choice of at least herb infused Mezcals. My personal fave is Albahaca….infused with fresh basil.

        Reply
        1. Mezcal PhD at |

          I know that saloon and it is pretty sad these days. They have a handful of mezcals and they are all industrial crap. Maybe they have what you are describing hidden away somewhere – I hope so! Because what they have at face value is less than appealing. At any rate, if you like infused mezcals, more power to you. Drink what you like not what I like!

          Reply
  6. Bill at |

    First off, thanks for your excellent website and book, which have been a great guide for my mezcal journey (current collection of 24 bottles)! This is a great list, and I’m happy to see I’ve managed to dip into some of it. I’m surprised there aren’t more Mezcaleros – I’ve tried others, but own and love the Mezcalero #10 Sierra Negra and the #9F Arroqueno (I think the “F” might denote a different batch than the one you found less than stellar in your tasting). The Mezcaleros can also be gotten somewhat less expensively than other brands’ offerings of the same varietals. I also want to mention Ocho Cientos Sotol Blanco, which I enjoy quite a bit (pit roasted, smoky sotol, unlike Hacienda de Chihuahua, which it also crushes). Finally, I stumbled on an Extra Anejo Mezcal that I haven’t seen you mention: Donaji. It comes in an impressive bottle – pyramid shaped with jaguars climbing up the side, and maybe the most informative label, in terms of method of production specifics, that I’ve ever seen. And the stuff inside is pretty darn good! Where the Illegal Anejo is a dessert of butterscotch and caramel, the Donaji is cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking spices, along with lovely roasted agave.
    Anyway, thanks again for all you do, and if you ever make it out to Las Vegas, NV, I’d be more than happy to share!

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Thanks for the note! 24 bottles is quite a collection. The Mezcaleros are mostly good. They have had one or two misses but I think it is a great product overall. I have the 9L arroqueno and you are right that they are different batches from different producers. I agree with your assessment of Ocho Cientos – I think it is very good.

      I have heard of Donaji but have never tried it. Of course, as you may know, there is no such category of Extra Anejo in mezcal. But I guess they just want you to know it is aged more than 3yrs (I presume like tequila). Glad you like it and I will have to search it out based on your recommendation!

      Finally, if you liked my book, give me a review on Amazon!

      Reply
      1. Bill at |

        Review submitted! I also wanted to mention that wine-searcher.com is also a great resource for finding obscure spirits for sale. The free version is good, but I also think the pro-version is enough of an improvement to be a good value. I recently researched and planned a San Diego and LA whirlwind mezcal and scotch buying spree using that site. (CA can’t ship liquor to NV.) It’s also how I found great mezcal shops/sites like Mission and Hi-Time. Thanks again!

        Reply
        1. Mezcal PhD at |

          Thanks for the hook up! I am glad you enjoyed the book. I have not really used wine-searcher but it sounds like it will come in handy when i am trying to find some hidden gems. I will check it out! I appreciate the contribution to the site. Drink mezcal!

          Reply
  7. Eduardo at |

    If looking to experience the range of organoleptic qualities that mezcal can offer, and on a budget, “de leyenda” offers an interesting trifecta to start.

    If well connected, try to get hold of a crate of “Mal Mezcal”. This gourmet mezcal is cherished by the chefs of Mexicos luxury restaurants, and is only available to the public by a letter of recommendation!

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Mal Mezcal sounds pretty intriguing. I am in Oaxaca in a few weeks so I will try to find it. Thanks!

      Reply
  8. […] you want to elevate your gift to another level, check out my post on Mezcal – Premium Edition. When price is no object, this is the place to look.  Some unbelievable bottles can be found here! […]

  9. Rimas at |

    Thanks so much for compiling these lists. Even though there’s not a ton of brands out there (at least compared to tequila), it can still be overwhelming to navigate the different brands, styles, expressions, etc…

    Your guidance allows me to make my purchases with confidence!

    Reply
  10. Andrew at |

    I’m happy to see such a list. Only though mass-communication can we all help support this industry.

    That said! I have a few additions for you, all of which are available in the ‘States.

    1) Alipus
    2) La Niña del Mezcal
    3) Mezcales de Leyenda
    4) Mezcal Unión Uno
    5) Nuestra Solidad
    6) Siembra Metl
    7) Mezcal Tosba
    8) Vicio
    9) Xicaru

    There’s actually more than that which are available or will soon be available, but…that’s a good start.

    Here at Liberty in Seattle, I have over 100 mezcals, so when y’r in town, please don’t hesitate to stop by and see what’s new.

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Andrew, thanks for the contributions. While I agree that most of these are good mezcals (the jury is still out on a few of them), these are all pretty much in the Starter Kit camp In fact, some are in my Starter Kit post . This post was mainly about going to the high end with an eye toward the silvestres.

      As for the 100-odd mezcals at Liberty Bar, that is amazing! I look forward to seeing it in person!

      Reply
  11. mike at |

    Thanks for the great list!

    Are you much of a pechuga drinker? Would you consider doing a similar list for pechuga?

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      I have a fair number of pechugas in my collection, but I do not find myself gravitating to them that often. But I do think a pechuga post is a great idea! Talking about the history and meaning of pechugas as well as a review of the ones that are out there! I will put it on my to do list. Thanks for the thoughts!

      Reply
  12. Miles at |

    Any of the WAHAKA mezcals other than the Tobala are excellent tasting and can be found for less than $100. They are much more smoke and fermentation-character forward; less of the raw agave and caramel taste. Savory and not for everyone.

    (Bitchy moment here for Canadians: they’re all well above $200 in Canada at the few places I could source them)

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      I find all the Wahaka mezcals to be VERY drinkable. Glad you like them as well! Thanks for contributing….

      Reply
  13. Jerry at |

    Dear PhD:

    As I mentioned in an earlier comment, ‘taste or preference is in the palate of the beholder’ and consequently always personal, subjective exercise. Probably the other key thing you mention is that price does not necessarily mean quality. This is especially true with wine more then any other beverage.

    I would be curious to know which on your list(s) are highlands vs. lowlands and your opinion of them on that basis.

    The retail sources you cite for the most part are 1) typically the only US source and, 2) thence typically the most expensive. You might explore Mission Liquors’ roster.

    Also, lumping Sotol in with Mezcal on your list is probably not the most equitable, productive or accurate characterization and categorization. It would be like comparing Bacanora with Tequila. Granted, they can all be considered Mezcal, I suppose, but probably not the most reasonable delineation.

    Probably the best one on your Premium list is Marca Negra Arroqueno, which also happens to be one of the most expensive. Here we go again. Price vs. quality? Subjective palate? Most economic source?

    I feel one of the currently best priced Espadin Mezcals is Tosba, at about $45.00, if you can find it.

    And, again, thanks for an enjoyable review.

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Jerry, I love a healthy debate so thanks for contributing! To your comments:

      First, I think that the price/quality correlation in mezcal is pretty high, but not universal. And you are right that the Tosba espadin at $45 (on sales now at K&L) is a steal! I have ZERO loyalty to the online sellers I mention – they give me nothing for the references (they probably should!). But I have found the best selection here and when you are Googling brands and bottles, these are the guys that show up. I just went to the Mission Liquors online and you are right – great prices and good nice selection. I will put them on my list! Great tip.

      As for lumping sotol in there, why not? Author’s privilege! I respect that brand and it tastes very much like a good mezcal. As you may know from reading my stuff I am far from a purist. So while this headlines as a mezcal list, I have no problem throwing in related agave spirits (or not quite agave spirits in the case of sotol).

      Finally, highlands and lowlands is really a tequila concept since they really only have two distinct growing regions (highlands and lowlands with distinct terroir characteristics in each). Agaves in the mezcal states have about a zillion distinct growing regions from sea level to around 9,000 feet. The climates and micro-climate are equally as varied as is the soil therefore as well. So that is why you rarely see producers talk about the elevation at which their agaves have grown. Sometimes, but rarely. There are regions, for example, like Santa Catarina Minas in Oaxaca where the mezcals have a strong minerality driven by the terroir of that region. But still not like the highlands and lowlands distinction of tequila. Mezcal is simply much more diverse.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

      Reply
  14. Jesse Torres at |

    Thanks for putting together this amazing list! I would just like to add that Real Minero and Rey Campero are both here in the States and have been on our back bar for nearly a month. So I know they are in Texas and I’m pretty sure they are in Washington, New York, California, and Illinois. Definitely some of my favorites! Salad!

    Reply
    1. Mezcal PhD at |

      Can you tell my readers where they can buy them??? Tell ME! Either at an online store or any liquor store that may carry them – I can always call and ask them to ship. Let me know and I’m in…..

      Reply
      1. Rimas at |

        Zeetequila.com carries both

        Reply

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