Inaugural Release from San Bernardo Mixtepec
This 150-liter batch of espadín was produced in March of 2020. Cooked for 3 days in a conical oven fired with locally sourced Nogal walnut. Hand mashed in a hollowed tree trunk (canoa) and then fermented in buried clay pots for 3-5 days. Twice distilled in clay pots with copper and stainless steel condensers.
See Creador’s website for more details on production along with dozens of amazing photos of the palenque.
The nose brings a relatively clean and vegetal spirit. Full of raw green elements and touches of citrus. Roasted poblano, dried ancho chilies, adobo sauce. Lime and avocado leaf. Eucalyptus, lemongrass, bell peppers, and aloe. Grilled cactus leaf tacos. Some sweetness with dates and figs. Herbal bubblegum. There are also some more astringent chemical aromas with some rubber innertube, some cardboard, and natural gas. The distillation and fermentation methods are present here as well with a very iron-heavy earthiness that I really enjoy. It’s the scent of a brick sidewalk you can smell after rain.
Summer squash, sweet potato, and seasoned grilled zucchini dominate the palate. Fresh vegetables with a slightly lactic note. Hard crumbly but mild cheese like asiago or cotija. Herbal notes bring more fresh flavors of cilantro, parsley, chives, and lemongrass. There are also some more funky vegetables with some artichoke, fennel, and asparagus flavors present. I also get some fresh lumber notes but not typical pine. Perhaps the walnut is lending a different type of flavor to the spirit. The chemical notes from the nose are not noticeable on the palate at all.
The best part of this mezcal is undoubtedly the finish. Ripe vegetables, tobacco, and lumber notes. It’s dry with more pleasant woody flavors. Dried tobacco and black tea. Odd note but pan-fried tofu in a citrusy Szechuan style sauce. Citrus oils and chili powder. Long grasses, cactus, clover, and dandelion greens. Sugar snap peas and green beans. Finally, my favorite elements are these dense earthy and metallic notes clearly evident from the clay used. Slate, cast iron, and fresh rubber notes give this spirit some depth to an otherwise vegetal espadín.
This mezcal was tough to judge. I enjoy all of the flavors aside from some of the more harsh chemical notes. It doesn’t detract too much and compared with another clay pot espadín I have, I think I prefer this one.
Creador is just now landing in Texas, but I’d suspect this bottle will be a reasonably priced intro to José’s mezcal. If you enjoy bright, vegetal espadín, this is worth buying outright. I think the mineral and metal heavy clay bring balance to those fresh green elements.