Zignum Mezcal Reposado
Final Grade: A-
Price: $25 (750ml)
Mezcal is a new spirit for me. It's only in recent years that mezcal has started to become more widely distributed in the United States, and I hadn't had much exposure to it before now. Based on this sampling, however, I'll definitely be exploring more of this interesting spirit.
Mezcal is like tequila's country cousin -- lesser known and a bit rougher around the edges. Beyond that, the two spirits are very similar. Tequila is made within a defined area of Mexico -- basically, the state of Jalisco -- and it's made only from the blue agave plant. Mezcal can be made anywhere is made in a different part of Mexico -- primarily Oaxaca -- and it can be made with other varieties of agave.
Zignum Mezcal is made from 100% green agave. How does green agave differ from blue agave? I haven't the faintest idea. What I do know is that Zignum Mezcal Reposado is distilled in Oaxaca, Mexico, and then allowed to "rest" in oak barrels for two months. ("Reposado" means rested in Spanish.) That gives the spirit its tan hue and a slight hint of oak flavor.
On the nose, this spirit is vegetal and slightly earthy, a very different aroma from whiskey or rum, with a touch of vanilla that increases the longer it stays in the glass.
The taste mirrors the smell. It is likewise earthy and vegetal, before turning peppery and hot. It has a nice spiciness and heat to it that is agreeable and not overwhelming. It's dry (i.e., not sweet) and has a medium-long finish; very nice going down.
Some of the reviews of this spirit complain that it tastes too much like tequila. Not being a student of mezcal, I can't really comment on that. However, I can say for certain that it is a fine tasting spirit; one that I would definitely have again.
Judging from their marketing materials, Zignum Mezcal is primarily intended as a mixer. I thought it worked quite well as a sipper, but since the company helpfully includes several recipe suggestions, I gave one of their cocktails a try.
2 oz Zignum Mezcal Reposado
3 Orange Wedges
1 oz Passion Fruit Puree
1 tsp Agave Nectar
Muddle the orange wedges in the bottom of a rocks glass. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Add ice.
A delicious, sweet cocktail, with a luscious flavor of fruit and just a hint of spice. This would be an ideal drink to sip by the pool. I can see myself making these again...and again.
Quality Grade: A-
Value Grade: A-
Final Grade: A-