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Tapatio Reposado is how aged tequila should be. The notes of spice and pepper coming from oak aging integrate wonderfully with the natural sweetness and tropical fruit quality of the Blue Weber agave. As you take more time with this tequila, it reveals hints of caramel, cacao, toasted coconut and floral perfume. A grassy undertone leads to a crisp and mineral finish. Great as a sipper, this finds a perfect home in cocktails,from Margaritas and Palomas to a Tequila Old-Fashioned. Oskar Kostecki
Produced from the wild agave Selmiana in the high altitude Central Mexican Plateau in the state of San Luis Potosi, this is a beautiful foil to traditional Oaxacan mezcal. The agave is not roasted, but cooked (similar to Tequila) resulting in a spirit that is not smokey, but instead bursts on the palate with a crazy array of flavors. Herbal and mineral tones weave their way through a bright citrus and floral character. There's a slight sourness, a funk that I associate with cheese rind, and noticeable acidity, which is quite shocking for a distillate. The wilder side of mezcal. What I also notice with my bottle of Selmiana is that it changes quite remarkably once open. When I first popped the cork, it felt slightly muted and withdrawn, but within 20 minutes all the exuberance I remembered from previous bottles was there again. It is fascinating watching the bottle change and evolve over a period of weeks. Oskar Kostecki
Barril is usually one of my favorite agave species used in the distillation of mezcal, and this example from Real Minero is no different. Tremendously expressive, this shows notes of papaya, guava, pineapple, purple flowers, apple, pear drop, candied orange, earth, and saline minerality. This is a very joyful and generous mezcal, with incredible complexity. Oskar Kostecki
The agave that Edgar calls Warash is most likely indigenous to the Sierra Norte Mountains. At least the folks at the Consejo Regulador de Mezcal down in Oaxaca City seem to think so, as they have never seen anything like it anywhere else. Edgar first encountered a solitary plant as he was walking in the mountains and became intrigued. After monitoring this sole agave, he was able to obtain seeds, and propagate it on a wider scale. After a few attempts at distilling it, this year Mezcal Tosba has finally been able to release the first ever commercial batch of Warash! This is a truly knockout mezcal and unlike anything I've ever tasted. Wave after wave of roasted pineapple, red berry fruit, wild raspberries, lime zest and a green, herbal character. Extravagant yet balanced, there is beautiful viscosity on the palate and almost a honeyed edge. To tame the raw distillate, Edgar rested this batch in glass for a year and a half, and only 180 bottles were produced in this first batch. Having tasted it at the palenque and then again in New York, I can safely say it is one of the best mezcals I have tried this year. Oskar Kostecki
The plots for Tosba's Espadin are scattered throughout the valley, ranging in altitude from 1100m close to the village of Lachiroig to about 600m around the palenque. The growing conditions and maturation times vary greatly. Lower down the mountain, due to the more tropical conditions,the Espadin can mature in as little as 6-7 years, while the plots at higher elevations take up to 11 years. At the moment Edgar is co-fermenting and co-distilling plants taken from all the different parcels, but on my visit we talked about the future possibility of separating the Espadin according to terroir. Though currently we are in love with this new release. Higher proof than the earlier batches, it still retains its hallmark vivacity and acidity. The nose is all crushed rock and tropical fruit (banana!), with a faint whiff of aged Parmesan. The palate shows notes of guava and watermelon bubblegum, with a floral element reminiscent of hibiscus. There is a hint of thyme and cardamom, along with a smoky, charcoal note. Viva Mezcal Tosba, this is sensational Espadin! Oskar Kostecki
Barril is a subspecies of Karwinskii agave which grows wild at high elevations, and often takes up to fifteen years to mature. This batch from Simeone y Apolonio Ramirez is very effusive and perfumed, characterized by violets, jasmine, fig, a mineral slate character, a hint of umami and an undercurrent of salinity. Only 133 bottles made! Oskar Kostecki