Para Yana Selection Summer 2022 Release
It has been a fair bit since my last agave review. I’ve been focused on removing bottles from my shelf that are nearly empty and I’ve been neglecting my ever-growing sample stash. It’s not that I haven’t been consuming mezcal and tequila, I’ve just been enjoying the bottles on my shelf instead.
Diving into old favorites both new and old. Comparing my preferences today to bottles I reviewed a long while back. The agave shelf has grown substantially and my enjoyment of the spirit hasn’t waned.
This Tequilana was distilled during the hot, dry summer of 2021. After roasting for 6 days in a conical earthen pit, it was left to ferment for an extended 17 days. A 2 day dry ferment, followed by 15 days of wet fermentation. Twice distilled in copper pot stills, the final abv was adjusted with heads, hearts, and high-proof tails, settling on 47.7%.
This batch yielded 264 bottles, selected by Yana Volfson (Beverage director for Atla, Cosme, Damian). These were sold by Astor Wines in NY. More info on Batch TEQWGS2106 can be found on NETA’s Website.
Nose: After you first pour this mezcal, two distinct notes stand out immediately. Citrus and fat. This bright acidity hits you with aromas like a buttery, white wine reduction. Think of a lemon and herb butter paired with charred artichokes. The vegetal notes lean on the grassy and herbal side to me. Banana leaves, palm fronds, dried grass, and mild dried chili. Rosemary, thyme, and delicate fennel. Fatty, creamy, lactic, and savory oils like oil-packed tinned sardines. Yeasty and fermented focaccia bread, dressed with sunflower seeds and pepitas.
Palate: The citrus notes from the nose come through as an intensely sour flavor on the palate. Pears and sour tamarind. Apple cider leaning into tart vinegar. A strong glass of powdered orange drink mix with just a bit too much added. After the initial shock of sour flavors, an herbal and textile flavor and texture emerge. Dry cotton balls and hemp. Sterile metals like copper although I’m hesitant to say medicinal. Mineral-rich iron, calcium, and salts. The glass changes entirely as your mouth begins to salivate. Cured meat, dried jerky, and an unsalted sunflower seed shell flavor that takes me back to the ballpark.
Finish: Texturally, the finish is very reminiscent of the palate notes. Dry and earthy with many of those mineral qualities coming forward. A very difficult finish at times as you bounce from a sweeter diluted pear juice flavor to a more sour lime and a tart white balsamic vinegar. Roasted agave with a hint of smoke and agave nectar sweetness. The mesquite wood that fired the oven is prevalent and brings a wonderful balance and richness to the burlap textile flavors. I will also say here on the finish that it leans medicinal with notes of eucalyptus, aloe, and an aerosolized sunscreen.
This is quite a unique mezcal with a broad flavor range. I feel like I’ve said that about a fair few mezcals but I truly mean it. The unexpected and extremely sour esters on the palate. The terroir mineral flavors. The wild yeast and bread notes. All of these aspects give me an appreciation for this spirit and mezcal as a whole.
I think unfortunately the dry mineral texture erodes the more enjoyable aspects of this mezcal. Texturally, you get an unpleasant cotton mouth effect. If you’ve had sour candy, you know the effect it has. As you start to salivate, it quickly dissipates due to the alcohol and gives you an unpleasant consistency. It’s a very unusual criticism but I’m pointing it out mostly as I adore tart and sour flavors.
This expression is going to be very mood dependent. I enjoyed my sample, but I think I would pass on buying a full bottle for myself.
Final Score: 87