Mezcal Expert Guide

If you taste the mass-produced mezcals, you might be left wondering what the fuss is all about. The true tasting pleasure comes from what’s produced out in the villages, but some brands are rising to enough production while still maintaining their artesanl value. If you get a chance to visit the state of Oxaca, head out into the Sierra Madre mountains to find numerous mezcal producers.

Otherwise, a common, ‘up-there’ brand is Del Maguey, although it wouldn’t be chosen over other local mezcals in Mexico, so depends where you are. You’ll find it in states, thanks to founder Ron Cooper who was an integral of boosting mezcal imports in general to the US. It was designed to be an entry-level mezcal, with balanced smoke, mineral, fruit, and earth, the typical four flavor-elements in mezcal. The Young Espadin from Wahaka Mezcal is at a similar price point, and likewise supports smaller Mexican palanques. You can branch out to labels like Mezcal Vago or La Niña del Mezcal, and you’re your way to deciding whether you like strong smoky mezcal, young or age, or fruity and earthy.

Some of the best and top-shelf mezcal brands include:

  • 400 conejos
  • Pierde Almas
  • Union
  • Los Amantes
  • Montelobos
  • Los Danzantes
  • Siete Misterios
  • Delirio
  • Nuestra Soledad
  • Aliplus
  • Real Minero
  • Mezcalosfera de Mezcaloteca
  • Rey Campero

 

Mezcal prices range anywhere from $40 to more than $100. Lower prices usually reflect common agaves, like Espadin, or machinery processes. Higher prices reflect rarer agaves, like Tobala, and handcrafted processes.