La Escondida Mezcal Reposado & Tuxedo Affumicato

So, after a somewhat delayed “Dry January” due to my birthday, I’m continuing here today in the year 2024 (a little late, I know). You might probably not be able to tell from the proportion of articles about agave spirits here on the blog, but I really love mezcal and tequila. In fact, among the “great spirits”, they are the most recent personal revelation that has happened to me to date, even though they have now been around for more than a decade. And that’s why I’m delighted to be able to report on some spirits from precisely this spectrum here today and in the coming weeks (nevertheless with a critical impartiality). Today we start with a not quite everyday bottling. (provided test product)*

Admittedly, “not quite everyday” in our latitudes, because in Mexico a Reposado Mezcal is not a rarity. But ultimately, of course, it is also relatively under-represented there when compared with its unmatured brother. In Germany and many other countries outside of Mexico, on the other hand, it seems to me that the term mezcal is basically used synonymously with unaged mezcal. The situation is actually different with tequila and most casual consumers or bar visitors are aware that there are other variants (even if the “golden” tequila with the little hat probably plays a not inconsiderable, albeit questionable, part in this).

However, although I pointed out a long time ago in this blog that there are more than just unaged mezcals in the mezcal segment, this has not changed the rarity of a reposado or anejo mezcal. So it’s all the better that I can taste La Escondida Reposado Mezcal here today. At least the unmatured sibling bottle has completely won me over, which is why expectations are naturally high. Anyway, if you want to find out more about the background to the La Escondida brand, you should read this article here.

After distillation, La Escondida Reposado was allowed to mature for nine months in former French oak barrels. That’s basically all the difference. But in terms of taste, I expect the French oak to leave an unmistakable mark on the mezcal. Let’s see how the mezcal performs in the tasting.

Tasting notes:

Aroma: A beautiful smoke with mineral notes of limestone and salt rock immediately unfolds on the nose, behind which diffuse herbal notes shine through, which are most reminiscent of fine mint, subtle chamomile and heather. Some vanilla is also present, which is probably due to the barrel ageing and distinguishes La Escondida Reposado from its unaged brother, and there is also a hint of oak. It’s crazy that I can’t help thinking of the smell of a Stutenkerl (wich is a traditional German type of pastry) with its pipe, where there’s always this nuance of dough, yeasty notes and clay.

Taste: Oh yes, this is a mezcal to my taste. The smoky tones are also present on the palate, but they are not overpowering, rather they leave room for some white pepper, Emser salt pastilles (a type of throat lozenge quite common in Germany), herbs, vanilla, there is even a hint of caramel, as well as a fine woody note – there are also distant notes of berries shining through, the closest thing I can think of is strawberries. I also had this association with the unaged La Escondida.

Finish: long and relatively dry, with smoke, spices and a hint of vanilla pod

In short: I think this mezcal is really, really good! But the barrel influences are more on the finer, subtle side, which is why this mezcal would be a bit of a waste in many cocktails that call for this type of spirit. Here, it should rather be a stirred drink in which the mezcal plays the leading role. And that’s when I thought of the Tuxedo Affumicato. This is a martini style cocktail by Riccardo Aletta from Holy Birds in London, where he created it in 2016. The special element is given to the drink by a spray of Strega liqueur from an atomizer, a really impressive drink in which the La Escondida Reposado can show what it’s made of!

Recipe “Tuxedo Affumicato” (by Riccardo Aletta, 2016):

4 cl La Escondida Reposado
2 cl Lillet Blanc
1 cl Maraschino
1 dash Pechaud’s Bitters

Liquore Strega

Preparation: Stir all ingredients except for the Strega over ice and strain into a pre-chilled glass. Sprinkle with one or two sprays of Liquore Strega from an atomizer and the oil from an orange zest.

Glass: Nick & Nora, Goblet or Martini

Garnish: orange zest

Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online

*The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.

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