It’s been a long while since Malt had last a Mezcal review. So here I am bringing Yuu another Mezcal review for Cinco de Mayo.
With Espadín being the most farmed and used agave variety, Espadíns being bottled by Mezcal brands have become the de facto way to evaluate a brand. I’ve already reviewed Yuu Baal’s Espadin and liked it, which made me think I should also check out their Mezcals that use less common – and even wild – agave varieties.
The basics of Pechuga Mezcal are something I’ve already discussed in this review. For quick recap: it’s basically a Mezcal distilled during the festive seasons with nuts, fruits, and animal meat.
This bottling of Pechuga Mezcal by Yuu Baal uses Espadín agave from San Juan Del Rio. It was cooked in a concave stone oven and crushed with a stone mill. Wild fermentation occurred in wooden pine vats. A raw turkey breast and fruits were hung in the copper pot stills during the second and third distillations.
Yuu Baal Pechuga – Review
48% ABV. USD $120 from K&L Wines
On the nose: I get medium-to-pronounced-long aromas of pink peppercorns, kumquat, bell peppers, fermented strawberries, and Haw Flakes (Chinese disc-shaped hawthorne candy). In between are light and brief aromas of smoked ham, smoked duck, and Chocnut (Philippines candy made from cocoa powder, peanuts, sugar, milk powder and vanilla).
In the mouth: Sweeter compared to the more sour nose. Tastes like pink peppercorn, Chocnut, and yellow bell peppers are more pronounced and upfront. The prickliness is more of a hindrance here. After that are strawberry and plum-flavored fruit roll-ups. There’s a bit of Chocnut, Haw Flakes, and pickled pearl onions.
I’m not a Pechuga Mezcal expert; I’ve only had four different bottlings from four different brands. None of them have been that memorable to me, but I find this interesting. The amalgamation of flavors is something I never thought I’d taste in Mezcal. I wish the mix of flavors were more cohesive. I felt like some flavors were fighting to be noticed. It ended up hindering me from sensing them properly.
Madrecuixe, aka Agave Karwinskii, is a type of agave that’s mostly found in the southern parts of Mexico, most specifically Oaxaca. It takes about seven to 20 years to fully mature. They grow up to at least eight to 15 feet tall.
This one was cooked in a concave stone oven, then crushed with sledgehammers. It was naturally fermented in oak wood vats and double distilled in copper pot stills.
Yuu Baal Madrecuixe – Review
48% ABV. $79.99 from K&L.
On the nose: An intense and long welcome of Chocnut that lasts up to the end. At the end are light and fruity-sour aromas like lanzones, kumquat, sour strawberries, and persimmon. In between are lighter aromas of buttered corn-on-a-cob, yellow bell peppers and clay dishes.
In the mouth: An unexpected saline texture. There’s a bright tartness and depth to this which makes me think of Bordeaux red wine or a Nebiolo-based Italian wine. I also get lasting tastes of raspberries and strawberries from the tartness. It’s accompanied by Chocnut, pink peppercorns, and yellow bell peppers. In between are flashes of Indian mangoes (more sweet & sour than just sweet), dried figs, and pink grapefruits.
Just judging this by the nose, I thought this would be disappointing. Despite the intense and long aromas of Chocnut, the rest of this Mezcal smelled flat. The other aromas were weak and brief. But tasting immediately made me like this. Safe to say, the mouth of this Mezcal carried this. If this was also disappointing in the mouth I’d have given this a 4. But, tasting how good this was immediately redeemed it. So, I thought I’d give this a 6. But this type of brightness and tartness is something I don’t get in too many Mezcals, hence the additional point.
Agave potatorum aka Tobalá aka Papalome is probably the most sought-after agave for Mezcal production due to the sweeter, nutty, and buttery flavors it produces. This is mainly found in Oaxaca and Puebla. It’s a smaller kind of wild agave. This agave takes around eight to 15 years to fully mature.
The way this was made for Yuu Baal was stove oven cooked, stone mill-crushed, naturally fermented in oak vats, and double distilled in copper pot stills.
Yuu Baal Tobala – Review
48% ABV. $79.99 from K&L.
On the nose: A little peppery, with light aromas of slightly smoked agave syrup and yellow bell peppers. After that is a very noticeable smell of Chocnut. After that are very subtle aromas of dried coconut husk and clay utensils. After that is another wave of strong Chocnut aromas, but this time accompanied by more agave syrup and horchata. Smelling the clay utensils, somehow, gave me a mental image of drinking sake from one of those artisanal sake cups.
In the mouth: More full-bodied than what the nose would suggest. This is peppery and oily. I get medium tastes of Chocnut, yellow bell peppers, horchata, and a lightly smoked cow’s milk cheese comes to mind. In between are subtle but long tastes of grapefruits and oranges.
I love how full-bodied this is. It may lack complexity, but there are no dull moments. This mezcal’s depth will remind you that you’re drinking mezcal. Letting other mezcal newbies try this should also show them that mezcal can be this good. I love this.
Agave marmorata aka Tepextate/Tepeztate is popular for its long life. It takes about 15 to 35 years for this to fully mature in the wild. This agave has thick and waxy cuticles that make it hard to shave the agave down to its base.
Like the Tobala, this was cooked in a concave stone oven, crushed in a stone mill, naturally fermented in oak wood, and double distilled in a copper pot still.
Yuu Baal Tepeztate – Review
48% ABV. $99.99 from K&L.
On the nose: Very hot on the nose. After the heat comes a somewhat flat and saline texture. Smelling this mezcal feels like it’s missing a backbone. Behind this are subtle but long aromas of Chocnut, starfruit, and something green and floral that reminds me of elderflower, peppermint, aloe vera, and bell peppers.
In the mouth: Sweeter than on the nose. I’m getting sweet and purple tastes such as beets, dragonfruit, purple lettuce, and pink peppercorn. The sweetness really lasts. After a while, I get medium tastes of Chocnut, agave syrup, gooseberries, shiso leaf, and something sweet, fruity, but pickled.
At the start, this is similar to the Madrecuixe. Both are lacking on the nose, but your opinion will change after tasting it. If it weren’t for the lackluster nose on this, I might have scored it higher than the more sought-after Tobalá. But since the Tobalá is a more complete mezcal, this Tepextate is only better than the Tobalá in the mouth.
This Tepextate might be one of the most complex and deep mezcals I’ve had in recent memory. It gives off different sweet flavors and alternates to green and not as sweet ones. If you ever get to try this, I recommend you do it when you have a lot of free time and are with good company. The flavors in this are long and pleasant.
Image of the Pechuga bottle courtesy of K&L.
Images of Tepeztate and Tobala bottles are from Atoda Madre’s owner.
Images of agave and the Madrecuixe bottle courtesy of courtesy of Mezcal Review.