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Riveting Taste of Oaxaca

Photo for: Riveting Taste of Oaxaca

19/12/2023 More than a drink, more than a Story - Unfolding uprise of sacred Agave from Oaxaca, Mexico directly to your stocks. Be a part of history & future as we share some of our Top-scoring spirits from homeland Mexico.

Welcome to Oaxaca

A state with a coniferous ecosystem located in the southern coast of Mexico, bordering the Pacific Ocean. “Oaxaca '' name was originally derived from the Náhuatl word, Huayacac, which roughly translated means The Place of the Seed in reference to a tree commonly found in Oaxaca. Peculiar land, Peculiar soil, makes Oaxaca famous for its sacred plant - AGAVE. Agave not only transforms itself into a delicious beverage but it also contains an interesting history with each sip. 

Agave - The Pinnacle

The Agave plant, known as "Maguey" in the Aztec language Nahuatl, held a central and multifaceted role in Aztec culture and mythology. Legend has it that the goddess Mayahuel, the deity of the maguey plant, was born from the bones of the deceased, symbolizing her connection to fertility and nourishment. Agave’s sharp thorns and spiky appearance also held symbolic significance, representing the connection between life and death, making it a vital element in Aztec rituals, ceremonies, and daily life. 

Agave or Blue Agave is majorly used for making your favorite Mezcal & Tequila. Oaxaca alone holds 11 of 211 of these sacred species and produces 90% of Mezcal worldwide. For Mezcal lovers, a well farmed agave places a great significance inorder to fulfill the quality metric. 

Image source : Photo by Danica Hennig on Unsplash

Mezcal : An Agave Spirit

Traditionally called Mezcal, it is the most popular beverage in many rural areas of Mexico, from some northern states up to south states. 

Mezcal is an alcoholic beverage with a different odor and taste, colorless, or slightly amber when it is rested or aged in oak wood, considered a traditional drink consumed widely on both mundane and ritual occasions.

Image source: Matt haney, GPJ  

Following image represents the process of Making Mezcal, from growing the plant to the Distillation process. Every Mezcal is made special. 

What sets mezcal apart from other agave-based spirits like Tequila is that it can be made from (most) any agave plant. Whereas Tequila is made from a very specific kind, - blue agave. Mezcal also has a distinct smoky flavor, which comes from the process of roasting the agave hearts, or piñas, in underground pits before distillation. This process gives mezcal its signature flavor profile and sets it apart from other spirits. 

However, depending on your taste, you may find the best mezcal to be ones like the Lokita Mezcal Artesanal, which features a Smoked fruity, floral and Sweet & spicy with delicious finish flavor profile.

Ample Potential of Mezcal

With over 570 production facilities producing world’s 90% of Mezcal in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Varied soils and warmer subtropical zones (notably the low-elevation mesic areas on hillslopes of the Tlacolula district, in Oaxaca's Central Valleys region), Expect powerful, top tier examples to hail from older maguey , planted to traditional clones, with a smattering of other local agave. At the other end of the spectrum, Mezcal's earthy, smoking, spicy fruity charm makes for an excellent entry-point Spirits.

Mezcal : eight Agave spirits to try

Image Source : desolas mezcal

1. Desolas Mezcal Blanco - Salmiana Agave 
points Gold Medal BSA 2023

Tasting Note : 
Fresh green chile and rose wine on the nose. Savory starts on the palate that leads into a well rounded medium body. Roasted green chile is prominent throughout with a background note of muskmelon. Medium to long finish.


Image Source : Chantaman

2. Mezcal Artesanal Chantaman Tipo Joven - salmiana and espadín Agave
91 points Gold Medal BSA 2023

Tasting Note : 
Aromas of rosewater and freshly cut grass. Balanced juicy and light palate. Bright honeydew melon moves into gently roasted poblano and lilac. Medium toasted wood on the finish. It presents nuances of ripe fruit trees and wild green herbs. In addition, aromas of cooked maguey, woods and a light smoked touch that stand out and show the correct processing of cooking and fermentation.

Image Source : Vidente Mezcal

3. Vidente Mezcal 
89 Points Silver Medal BSA 2023

Tasting Note : 
Chile and mushroom on the nose. Lots of pepper, cinnamon, and some notes of cured meat on the palate.


Image Source : Codigo1530

4. Código 1530 Artesenal Mezcal - cupreatac Agave
points Silver Medal BSA 2023

Tasting Note : 
Smoke, savory green chili & pineapple aromas. Earthy, fresh & delicately sweet on the palate. Typical Mezcal aroma with the dominant smoky note supported by some sweet herbal agave and a touch of citrus.

Image Source : Erstwhile Espadin

5. Erstwhile Espadin Mezcal - angustifolia Agave
points Silver Medal BSA 2023

Tasting Note : 
Smoked meat, cooked peas, vegetal, and savory aromas. Smokey on the palate with vegetal notes continued. Fresh green flavors really shine through. sweet spot of taste, complexity, good value and versatility. Elegant. Balanced. Nuanced. Approachable but not boring.

Image Source : Firme

6. Firme Mezcal Tobala - Tobala Agave 
points Silver Medal BSA 2023

Tasting Note : 
Mild and sweet delicate flavors of stone fruit. Spicy peppers, and a floral fragrance throughout. Homogenous long body, lightly smoked with fresh floral, Cocoa, Butter with a subtle after taste of nuts, peanuts, walnuts, cinnamon & corn.

Image Source : Mezcal Pluma

7. Pluma Negra Espadin Silver - ESPADÍN Agave
points Silver Medal BSA 2023

Tasting Note : 
Salted dark chocolate and lily aromas. Clean light bodied palate. Faint candied anise and a finish of crisp lime and lemon peels. lime, pear and apple come forward, with subtle herbal and almond notes at the end.

Image Source : Rancho Mezcal 

8. Rancho de La Luna Mezcal - espadín Agave
points Silver Medal BSA 2023

Tasting Note : 
Clean aroma of malted barley and aloe. Light body with a rustic texture. Meyer lemon peels on the palate, long lingering finish of fresh tarragon. Espadin joven carries notes of spice, quince & fresh olive. 

Conclusion: It's about history & everyone’s favorite mezcal enhancing your cocktail experience to be more delightful. Bartender Spirits Awards brings you the finest Winner-collection of Mezcal, which gives you a scope of unique taste & power to improve your shelf. 

We are?

The Bartenders Spirits Awards is where brands are judged for the on-premise channels by on-premise trade buyers and tastemakers.

Bartenders are the true bar influencers, their passions and tastes become direction for consumers, either be it, their guidance with wine, beer or spirit recommendations. The creation of new drinks are driven by the bartenders’ tastes and perception of the current trends.

The aim of the award is to provide independent and honest reviews for brands targeting the US on-premise trade. The results will be a relevant and practical source of reference for the bartenders, bar managers, bar owners and professionals when making purchasing decisions for their establishments.

Our judging panel boasts some of the most renowned names in the US Spirits industry.

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