Mezcalendar Day 1: Ilegal Joven

I’m hoping to blog each day of December* with the contents of my Advent mezcalendar which the lovely Daisy bought me for my birthday. I’d long wanted to try this smoky cousin of tequila since I read about Carrie’s trips to Oxaca in the excellent Perzine You Don’t Get There From Here. We finally came across it in cocktails in Paris this Spring and since then we’ve been trying it at every opportunity. The great thing about these calendars is that you’re able to try a number of different mezcals without having to pay bar prices or fork out for a whole bottle at home. We’re quite new to the flavours in these but expect to find characters similar to Islay whiskys and tequila – please bear with us! Hopeful by the end of this we’ll have settled on a joven to buy for home mixology and perhaps a reposado or anejo for drinking neat.

    2015-12-02 17.19.42 (1) So behind the door on day one is perhaps the most widely known brand, Ilegal Mezcal Joven (unaged). This is the third largest selling mezcal in the world; so is quite widely available (as mezcals go!) We’ve had this in cocktails before but how does it fare as a neat spirit?

Daisy found it to have a slightly plasticky burning rubber aroma which reminded her of “new car smell”. This was even ore noticeable with added water. Taste wise its lightly smoky and fairly bitter, almost IPA-like.

Steve found to be quite gentle on the nose, with a low level of 2015-12-02 19.21.23smoke and fruity coconut water/ agave notes. It certainly taste quite sweet with agave syrup and a touch of smoke, fairly brief in finishing but returning with a flourish of citus at the end. Adding water brought out some suggestions of cooling menthol.


Verdict: Neither of us were particularly keen on it; and for this reason it wouldn’t be a contender for our cocktail cabinet.

Lets see what day 2 brings us!




*already delayed by a few days!

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