Mal Bien Zacatoro 51.3% – Ciro + Javier Barranca

Amazing Guerrero Zacatoro from Don Ciro

Distilled by Don Ciro and his grandson Javier, this tiny Angustifolia batch was made from semi-cultivated agaves. Cooked for 5 days in an pit oven, then fermented for another 7. It was twice distilled in copper alambique pot stills with the final proof adjustment made with puntas and colas.

Full details on this batch can be found over at Mal Bien.

With the first few whiffs from my glass, it had a very unique and earthy scent. Almost like a rich soil or compost heap. Banana peels, sweet vegetables like carrots (along with the greens), and a bit of sweet potato. A bold tropical note came out under the alcohol vapors. Some guava and pineapple along with the banana. The more I let it sit in my glass, the more I get a bit more green wood and tea scents. A slight cast iron metallic note is lurking in the background. A wonderful balance of sweet fruits and mineral rich soils.

Right off the bat on the palate I have to comment on the velvety viscosity of this mezcal. It’s simply wonderful and tastes amazingly cohesive. All of the flavors are working in perfect harmony. There’s a lot of spices that remind me of another recent Mal Bien release – Borrego pechuga from Sonido. Lots of savory notes with some spiced richness that I rather enjoyed. A lot of kiln dried lumber flavors. All sorts of clove, nutmeg and peppercorns. There are some familiar vegetal notes but the spices almost remind me of an Asian dish. Lastly there is an odd, but amazing, flavor of muesli. Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits with a bit of cereal grains. Very fun flavors I really enjoy.

All of these flavors are also present on the finish. It’s again, cohesive notes from start to finish. I get this cashew and broccoli stir fry flavor from the finish. Some Chinese 5 Spice and soy. Smoked paprika. Chipotle chilies. Very refined and pleasantly warming finish.

I cannot recall another spirit so consistent with it’s flavor. It’s a testament to the experience of Don Ciro making an amazing mezcal that I just cannot put down. I wasn’t able to buy one of the only 24 full bottles of this release but as soon as I saw another batch released, I bought it instantly (expect a review soon!). Overall this is a must buy but if you can only find it at a mezcaleria, kill the bottle at the bar.