The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2017

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august 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  107 BOZAL'S ESPADÍN-BARRIL- MEXICANO ENSAMBLE agave varieties: espadin, barril, mexicano As mentioned above, Agave espadín is the most commonly used species of agave for mezcal and is thought to be the ancestor of Agave azul. The thin, sword-like leaves fanned in a half-circle give it the appearance of an extremely large cannabis leaf. Maturing at between eight and 12 years old, it's the easiest agave to domesticate, which is why it's used to produce around 90 percent of Mexico's mezcal. The espadín blended into Bozal's Espadín-Barril-Mexicano Ensamble (or blend) demonstrates wet earth and wild flowers. The barril species is typically used as fencing in Mexico due to its hearty foliage. Used here in mezcal, it offers bright citrusy note. The agave mexicano (aka dobadaan) adds a spicy jalapeño note—an incredibly rare character in agave. It typically matures around at ten years old and is found at lower elevations. The nose on this blend is perfumed and extremely pretty, dot- ted with talcum powder (clay), lemon and magnolia blossoms. The flavors of sweet, floral-driven earth, river rocks with a touch of salinity paint the palate while sweet lilac-vanilla takes you to the lingering, round and creamy peaty-smoke finish. 94 proof. 100 – Meridith May BOZAL ANCESTRAL PAPALOTE O CUPREATA agave variety: papalote The cupreata agave is known as maguey Papalote in the state of Guerrero, where it grows wild on the mountain slopes of the Rio Balsas basin. Cupreata from Guerrero presents a profile starting with sweet floral notes, followed by the aroma of wet earth and subtle minerality. Perfumed notes of lavender clay and a subtle smoke interchange with myrrh and vanilla. Texturally round and buoyant, the liquid seems to float across the palate in an ethereal caress of lemongrass and caramelized smoke, which evolves in an indulgent charred marshmallow finish. 96.8 proof. 99 – M.M. BOZAL CUIXE agave variety: cuixe Cuixe (or cuishe) is a rare, wild subspecies of Agave karwinski that excels in dry, low-lying areas. It looks a bit like a squat palm tree or yucca plant. It is often smaller than its close relative, madre cuishe. Due to its taller shape, it is often more difficult to harvest, as the stalk containing the piña is firmer than others. Cuixe is also one of those instances where a specific agave carries a different name depending on where it's grown; confusingly, cuixe is also known in varying regions as agave madre cuixe, agave barril and agave tobasiche. Nomenclature aside, Bozal Cuixe offers rich, tropical fruit and a dry finish. The nose is delicately woodsy, with san- dalwood and black pepper. On the palate, grilled pineapple and a lanolin-based floral tone sweetness play alongside saddle leather and clay. The finish is generous. 94 proof. 95 – M.M. BOZAL PECHUGA SACRAFICIO agave variety: cupreate (papalote) Cupreata (or maguey papalote in the state of Guerrero) can only be found in higher-elevation areas (1,200–1,800 meters) in Michoacán and Guerrero, specifically on the slopes of the Rio Balsas basin. It can take up to 15 years to mature and is particularly difficult to harvest because of the angle of the steep slopes. Bozal Pechuga Sacraficio is made from cupreata and is also a pechuga—a mezcal redistilled with fruits, spices, grains and a (usually raw) chicken breast (pech- uaga is Spanish for breast). In Bozal Safraficio's third distillation, an organic chicken (cooked, in this case) marinates with locally sourced fruits, chiles, citrus fruits, raisins, cinnamon and clove for a mezcal that's richly complex and utterly authentic. BOZAL'S ENSAMBLE agave As mentioned commonly is thin, BOZAL agave Cuixe Agave It looks It cuishe. BOZAL agave Cupreata Guerrero) areas Guerrero, BOZAL CUPREATA agave The in Confused yet? The regulations are purposefully hazy because there are small mom- and-pop mezcaleros venturing out into their backyards and neighboring hills, harvesting and distilling any wild agave they happen to come across—and there are between 200 to 300 species to choose from. Add to that the regional variations in agave names across the handful of Mexican states allowed to produce mezcal, and the picture gets even more complex. One mezcal producer in particular celebrates diversity in mezcal and harvests indigenous wild agave from steep hillside areas in Oaxaca and Guerrero—Bozal. In an effort to explore and get to know some of the intrepid mezcaleros' most beloved species of agave, The Tasting Panel took a look at Bozal's portfolio of handmade artisanal mezcals.

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