Blancos Ilegal Mezcal Joven

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Submitted by Tequila.net     April 25, 2010    
 
92
 
94 (1)
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Mezcal Review

Brand
Ilegal
NOM
Agave Species
Region
Tlacolula, Oaxaca
Oven Type
Extraction Method
Distillation Method
Distillation
Alcohol Volume
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Tasting Awards
2010 TEQUILA.net Awards - Bronze Medal
2010 Bronze Medal

Ilegal Mezcal Joven

Ilegal Mezcal Joven is produced from 100% Agave Espadin, and is a small batch artisanal product from Tlacolula, Oaxaca, Mexico. Each bottle is wax sealed, and contains a hand numbered parchment style label.

HISTORY
Ilegal Mezcal, pronounced "eeh-lay-gal", is named from the expeditions of John Rexer, as he smuggled product to his Bohemian Tequila / Mezcal Bar, Cafe No Se, in Antigua, Guatemala. Unable to import his product into the United States using the illegal name "Ilegal", John was forced to import a product essentially with no name to get around the TTB labeling regulations. You'll notice on the close up label photo, "Produced for Ilegal Mezcal", is a smaller font and positioned after "Mezcal Anejo". This creative method of labeling allowed him to bring his Mezcal into the US without changing the name to something less appropriate.

Ilegal Mezcal is entirely handcrafted using Agave Espadin, roasted / baked in a conical earth pit, using both mesquite and eucalyptus wood. The cooked Agave is then crushed by a millstone, and fermented in oak vats. Ilegal Mezcal is then double distilled in small, alembic copper stills. This production is much more of an art than a science, which is the beauty of age-old traditions followed by Oaxaca palenques.

Looking closely at the bottle and label, the colors of the Mexican flag are present, a green wax top and red numbers. Gold embossing was used to reflect the gold of Aztecs and the Spain conquest, and the crucifix was added as a symbol used by both the Aztecs and the conquering Spaniards.

Photos by Tequila.net

Editor review

Ilegal Joven * Tasted June 2010 * Riedel Tequila Glass

Appearance: clear - medium tears
Aroma: sweet smoked agave, light floral, ash, tobacco, eucalyptus
Initial Taste: sweet agave, tangy with hint of raisins
Spirit Body: floral, smoke
Finish / Aftertaste: medium finish with smoke and ash
92
Excellent
Highly Recommended
Overall rating 
 
92
Aroma-Nose 
 
93
Initial Taste 
 
91
Body 
 
93
Finish 
 
91
Enjoyability 
 
92
Price 
 
90
Presentation 
 
91
Reviewed by Tequila.net August 01, 2010
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (186)

Ilegal Joven * Tasted June 2010 * Riedel Tequila Glass

Appearance: clear - medium tears
Aroma: sweet smoked agave, light floral, ash, tobacco, eucalyptus
Initial Taste: sweet agave, tangy with hint of raisins
Spirit Body: floral, smoke
Finish / Aftertaste: medium finish with smoke and ash

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User reviews

Average user rating from: 1 user(s)

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Overall rating 
 
94
Aroma-Nose 
 
94  (1)
Initial Taste 
 
94  (1)
Body 
 
97  (1)
Finish 
 
93  (1)
Enjoyability 
 
96  (1)
Price 
 
95  (1)
Presentation 
 
85  (1)
Tasted out of a snifter 16/12/2012.

Taster's note: this was tasted on a cold day in a cold house. I'm sure if I'd had chance to warm it a bit more it would receive an even better review.

I've never tried Mezcal before, and the first thing I notice about this is the pleasant nose. I find the nose of a lot of tequilas to be overpoweringly alcoholic when taken from a snifter; often you have to do a little searching for the real nose. Not so with this mezcal. It's a pleasant combination of fruit and smokiness (I don't get the 'ash' that the editor mentioned, just a pleasant smokiness with a hint of unlit tobacco - similar to rooibos tea). I find it quite a strongly flavoured nose, if that makes sense.

Initial taste is very smooth and mild, but is quickly followed by a very quick powerful blast of sweet heat that smooths into a nice warming finish that doesn't last particularly long, but doesn't quite fade completely for a while. Lots of agave, smoke, and floral notes. It almost comes across as being aged more than it is, there's a slight woodiness buried in there that I'm sure would be much more present in the repo and anejo of this line. The finish has a buried note of sourness that is not unpleasant.

It slips down very easily.

Originally I was a little sceptical of mezcal, often having had it described as akin to a 'less refined' tequila, or perhaps a more 'raw' flavour. However, while I can see where those descriptions come from, I would like to note that they're not entirely accurate. I wouldn't call it 'less refined' or 'raw', but perhaps 'more powerful'. It's a very strong flavour, and I'm wondering if I actually prefer it to tequila for the money.

Which leads me on to it's price. VERY reasonable. Not cheap, by any means, but to get myself a tequila that I enjoy as much I would expect to pay a lot more. Whether that's just because it's mezcal and not tequila, I don't know.

The only slight disappointment for me is the presentation. While it's a clean, authentic looking label (with handwritten number) in a somewhat minimalist bottle (which, when coupled with the label looks good), the wax seal didn't cover the join between cork and bottle completely, and the cork isn't a great fit (feels slightly loose) and I wonder how good the seal it forms really is. Maybe this it's just this one bottle, who knows? The pictures on this site look like the wax has been applied with more care. Had these two issues been better, it would have scored much higher, as the bottle itself does evoke an impression of a home-produced spirit back in the olden days, and I like that that reflects it's history. It's not JUST a bottle, it has a story to tell.

All in all, this is a great mezcal and I don't think it's going to last long before I'll be keeping an eye out for it's older brothers to replace it. I'm VERY interested to try the anejo now (and indeed, other mezcals).

For the record, I MUCH prefer this to the various blanco tequilas I have.

Highly recommended.
Overall rating 
 
94
Aroma-Nose 
 
94
Initial Taste 
 
94
Body 
 
97
Finish 
 
93
Enjoyability 
 
96
Price 
 
95
Presentation 
 
85
Reviewed by AxeSlash December 16, 2012
Top 500 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (5)

Tasted out of a snifter 16/12/2012.

Taster's note: this was tasted on a cold day in a cold house. I'm sure if I'd had chance to warm it a bit more it would receive an even better review.

I've never tried Mezcal before, and the first thing I notice about this is the pleasant nose. I find the nose of a lot of tequilas to be overpoweringly alcoholic when taken from a snifter; often you have to do a little searching for the real nose. Not so with this mezcal. It's a pleasant combination of fruit and smokiness (I don't get the 'ash' that the editor mentioned, just a pleasant smokiness with a hint of unlit tobacco - similar to rooibos tea). I find it quite a strongly flavoured nose, if that makes sense.

Initial taste is very smooth and mild, but is quickly followed by a very quick powerful blast of sweet heat that smooths into a nice warming finish that doesn't last particularly long, but doesn't quite fade completely for a while. Lots of agave, smoke, and floral notes. It almost comes across as being aged more than it is, there's a slight woodiness buried in there that I'm sure would be much more present in the repo and anejo of this line. The finish has a buried note of sourness that is not unpleasant.

It slips down very easily.

Originally I was a little sceptical of mezcal, often having had it described as akin to a 'less refined' tequila, or perhaps a more 'raw' flavour. However, while I can see where those descriptions come from, I would like to note that they're not entirely accurate. I wouldn't call it 'less refined' or 'raw', but perhaps 'more powerful'. It's a very strong flavour, and I'm wondering if I actually prefer it to tequila for the money.

Which leads me on to it's price. VERY reasonable. Not cheap, by any means, but to get myself a tequila that I enjoy as much I would expect to pay a lot more. Whether that's just because it's mezcal and not tequila, I don't know.

The only slight disappointment for me is the presentation. While it's a clean, authentic looking label (with handwritten number) in a somewhat minimalist bottle (which, when coupled with the label looks good), the wax seal didn't cover the join between cork and bottle completely, and the cork isn't a great fit (feels slightly loose) and I wonder how good the seal it forms really is. Maybe this it's just this one bottle, who knows? The pictures on this site look like the wax has been applied with more care. Had these two issues been better, it would have scored much higher, as the bottle itself does evoke an impression of a home-produced spirit back in the olden days, and I like that that reflects it's history. It's not JUST a bottle, it has a story to tell.

All in all, this is a great mezcal and I don't think it's going to last long before I'll be keeping an eye out for it's older brothers to replace it. I'm VERY interested to try the anejo now (and indeed, other mezcals).

For the record, I MUCH prefer this to the various blanco tequilas I have.

Highly recommended.

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