All 3 Flasks in One Review
A trio of reviews today courtesy of my Agave Mixtape subscription. If you think it looks off somehow, that’s because the Lalo batch yield was too small so an additional Mal Bein flask its replacement. This month includes a Mexicano batch from brothers Chucho and Poncho Sanchez, an Espadín and Bicuixe batch from Felipe and Ageo Cortes, and finally an Ensamble from a new producer, Celedonio Aquino Gutíerrez.
I have recent knowledge of Sanchez considering last box included an arroqueño batch from them. I was unfortunately not subscribed since the beginning so I missed Ageo’s tepextate batch from box 1.
Full details on these batches as well as how to subscribe, can be found over at Agave Mixtape.
Mal Bien Mexicano 47.60% – Chucho + Poncho Sánchez
Very confusing mix of chemical anti-septic and banana peels on the nose. It’s like those Crayola fruit scented markers. Plastic, tape, paint like aromas. Berries that you forgot about in the back of your fruit and vegetable drawer. Dried leaves and hay. Raw honey or agave nectar. This starts out really abrasive on the nose for me, but with some air I get more delicate sweet lemon tea. Finally some slight salty brininess.
Lots of burnt herbs and grass on the palate. Heavily chemical forward flavors. A mild artificial citrus note that is not pleasant. Cleaning detergent. Not a very enjoyable sip.
A very familiar “Is it soap or cilantro?”. I love cilantro but the finish is actually soapy. Burnt matches and this kind of minerality to it.
I’m really not a fan of this one. Last box I also felt the arroqueño was lacking. I do not enjoy the burnt herbs and plastic, chemical flavors. A bit below average for me. I’ll have to come back to this one another time and see if anything changes in the bottle.
Mal Bien Bicuixe-Espadín 47.20% – Felipe + Ageo Cortes
The nose has this mild lactic quality funk to it. There’s a lot of savory spices. The spice is so distinct, I think you could pull them out instantly. Full of all these botanicals, seeds and herbs. Cinnamon, clove and anise. A bright sweet onion scent. Woodsy grasses and a small touch of salinity.
I had quite a bizarre reaction on the first sip of this mezcal. It was a shock to the palate like expecting to have a glass of soda and instead you take a sip of soy sauce. A ton of these spiced meat savory flavors. It’s still the same distinct spice notes I got on the nose. It tastes almost deliberate like a pechuga. Finally there is a short burst of sweetness that tastes like demerara sugar.
Very pleasant to sip. Dried lumber and those spice flavors following through on to the finish. Bitter salad greens. Herbal tea. With more air this went from a more bitter spirits to a balanced and even slightly sweet.
I’m really glad I gave this one more air time to mature in the glass. It was really rather enjoyable but you wouldn’t have experienced those flavors had you not known to let it sit for a while. I might need to track down a sample from Agave Mixtape box #1.
Neta Ensamble de 6 47.6% – Celedonio Aquino Gutíerrez
Delicate scents waft around in my glass. There’s some grapefruit or lemon oil, along with a big herbal, earthy quality. Wood, sawdust, and leather. Some very light fruit – pear, apple, melon. Vegetal elements like season cooked stew – Carrots, potatoes and parsnips seasoned with Thyme and rosemary. It’s the Irish whiskey of mezcal – just extremely light, delicate agave.
I nice sweetness to this. A mix between honey and stevia. Not quite fake sugar flavors. A smoke element is definitely present. Earthy root veg, mushrooms, and a savory onion soup.
Light earthy notes on the finish. Some wood smoke and it makes me perceive it as dry. It’s unfortunately rather short on flavor. You are left with just a lingering dirt and wood.
Honestly it’s not awful but it’s certainly lacking flavor. It needs more focus as to what those flavors need to be in the glass and then turn it up all the way. Another one I will revisit in the future to see if anything develops over time. Overall, good but not great.