Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Es Mezcal son Amores

     After realized various travels in the different mezcaleros states of Mexico, the Mezcal Amores founder, real lovers of their country, its heritage and its citizens, met the best Maestro Mescalero to create a high quality mezcal characterized by its sweetness, its sustainable development and organic approach, its handcrafted making process and its unique flavour.

First and foremost, the goal of Mezcal Amores is to educate people about this magic drink, valuing a  tradition, a country, a population and highlight the daily work done respecting the environment and sharing it to the rest of the world teaching us about mezcal from the plant to our glass (how to enjoy it).

The agave which is strewed, harvested, processed and distilled by Mezcal Amores is Espadin (agave angustifolia). This agave grow around 10 years. Depending of the agave species, the growth is between 9 and 35 years (ex: 35 years for an Tepextate agave).

Mezcal Amores is characterised by its 100% artisanal full process, its triple distillation in copper still at the difference to the mayority of the mezcal distillery which complete only two.

In the case of Mezcal Amores Reposado, it is a 100% Organic Agave Espadín from Santiago Matatlán,Oaxaca in which the agave cooking step takes place in a clay oven which make it less smoky. Then, Amores distills its mezcal reposado three times to reach its characterized sweetness

To be called “reposado” the spirit has to be aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two months. Amores rest the precious elixir for 8 months in American oak barrels.

It’s bottled in a stylish bottle signed and numbered by Enrique Jimenez, the master mezcalero. On it, a sun is engraved representing the element which allows the agave to grow and feed. You can also notice at the back of the front label, “Bebo del sol su sangre” (I drink from the sun its blood) which is the Mezcal Amores slogan.

Mezcal Amores donates 15% of its gross benefits to reforest 10 agaves for an agave used to generate jobs in the local community, support the production for a long term and to improve the working conditions in the distillery (palenque). It also supports health, nutrition and education programs for the local communities.

Tasting notes

Color: Golden brillant, amber. Sweet body.
Nose: Woody notes with persistence of cooked agave and slight touch of roasted hazelnut. Hints of vanilla and cooked agave.
Palate: Sweet and smooth with cooked agave (citrus) taste and a touch of vanilla with a hint of wet wood. Slight smoky notes tempered by its sweetness.
Finish: Slighty warm and persistente, delicate and lengthened.
ABV: 37%
Agave type: Espadin, 10 years old

Gold Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2012

I recommend to drink this excellent mezcal neat but not alone… It’s a versatile drink to keep in your cupboard at home. It also taste particularly good paired with orange wedges dipped in chili powder, o sal de gusano, the traditional way to appreciate a mezcal.

Mezcal Amores is light, sweet, subtle flavoured to enjoy as an aperitif or as a super after-dinner, with authentic Mexican chocolate (Tabasco/Chiapas) with high percentage of cacao.

Tomo mezcal por que me conecto con la tierra, con mi historia, con mis orígenes, con lo mío. Saboreo el clima y la planta, me conecto con lo simple” Mónica Patiño

(I drink mezcal because it connect me with the land, with my history, with my origins, with myself. I savour the climate and the plant, I connect myself with simple thing)

Have a jovial solar tear, let's fill yourself with energy, joy and love.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fly away with "El Murcielago"...

Mezcales de Leyenda is a cooperative joining small producers from across Mexico to produce a range of organics mezcals from a variety of different wild (sylvestre) agaves which represents the distilling heritage of the different regions. These mezcals offer a great opportunity to sample the characteristics mezcals, from each region.
Each bottling is represented by an animal referring to ancient Nahua mythology and today is about “El Murcielago” (bat).

I tasted Murciélago in La Nacional, Condesa (Mexico Df), which is a “joven” (young) mezcal giving off personality and robustness elaborated in Durango volcanic valleys by small producers who ensure the best quality and the best care in each bottle. Hailing from the mountainous state of Durango, this mezcal is made from agave Duranguensis or Cenizo

It's exclusive to Durango and Zacatecas, where it is found among pines and oaks in the Sierra (Mountains) or within scrublands in the plains.

Nice logo and bottle reflected by this worthy mezcal representative.

Tasting notes

Color: Transparent
Nose: Cooked agave, orange peel, raspberry flavours…
Palate: Quite dry. Herbal combined with citrus fruits tastes (orange peel). Earthy and smoky notes. Hints of fresh leather.
Finish: The smoky and dry notes drift away and leave you with an agreeable sweet and smooth finish.
ABV: 40%

Let’s make a wonderful night flight travelling to the Mexican roots…wake up your spirit...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Water Of LiFe, travelling in Mexico to explore more deeply the fabulous world of mezcal

For several weeks, Water Of LiFe, has been travelling in Mexico to explore more deeply the fabulous world of mezcal (cf. post “Improbable Tequila and Mezcal Brussels“, February).

Everyone knows about tequila, whether if they like it or not, but what does its brother mezcal taste like?
Mezcal won't appeals everyone, but when somebody likes tequila, definitely should try.

The word mezcal come from the náhuatl, the azteca language, “mexcalli”, derived from “metl” which means maguey (agave plant) and “ixcalli” meaning cooked or stewed. According to archaeological studies, this distillate of agave is the oldest distilled drink of Mexico and probably of the world. It’s a new taste for most of us, that's the reason as why we have to behave with it… we have to enjoy it, sip it, not shoot it. The Scotch fans and spirits fans in general, should consider investigating mezcal.

To my opinion, Mezcals have a lot to demonstrate us before to age it thanks to the 30 types of agaves which can be use to elaborate it, the geology of the soil, the sun exposition and the climate where it is produced. Once you age it, I think we lose some of the mezcal original flavour but some of the reposado ones could make me change my mind…

Today, mezcal has a big opportunity to become as important as o more than tequila.
The mezcal producers has to carry on creating small and reduced batches to not become industrial as Tequila is and preserve what it characterize and make it so special being one of the few drinks left which can accurately be called "artisanal". Unlike most of other spirits, production of mezcal is, on the whole, a smalltime affair, mezcal is largely handcrafted. Actually, most of the mezcals exported come from Oaxaca and are elaborated with the agave called Espadín, harvested by hand.

Mezcal has become trendy, chick among the Mexican middle and high class whereas it was still considered as a low class drink few years ago. Recently (≈ 5 years), the interest for mezcal is growing up in Mexico and abroad, Mezcalerias have mushroomed across Mexico City. People begin to know how to consume it and consume it more and more. In the Condesa neighbourhood, I had the opportunity to taste two brands which called me attention: Mezcales de Leyenda and Mezcal Amores (next posts)

Having a mezcal or two, this drink is considered as magical in some regions of Mexico. It goes well paring with food, as an aperitif or digestive sharing with friends, to celebrate, it allows us to have a short travel to Mexico.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Water of Life's "Coup de coeur" (favourite): Domaine des Hautes Glaces

 Located at 892 meters high in the French Alps, The Domaine des Hautes Glaces (DHG) is a mountain farm distillery. It produces natural, handcrafted single malt managing the whole process on the same site by Jéremy Bricka and Fréderic Revol, both nature and whisky lovers. 
This full-integrated process is certified as fully organic using renewable and local sources.

From growing the grains to bottling the single malt, they work meticulously and are obsessed by the excellence through each step of the process. 
They daily make efforts to highlight and respect the particularities of their lands and the French historical distillation savoir-faire. 

The notion of terroir is at the heart of their approach meaning, as in wine making, each barrel is in link with a climate. Each plot used to grow their cereals has its own geographic characteristic: slope, microclimate, exposition, and geology.

After each harvest, the barley and rye grains are malted, brewed, fermented at the distillery and slowly double or triple distilled in their pot stills. This process allows them to elaborate a very aromatic distillate which will be transferred or not, depending of the product concerned, to barrels from various French vineyard regions (exclusively french barrels) waiting in the cellars to be filled. At this moment, the time takes its place for a more or less long maturation. At that stage, this is a question of patience…

As alchemists, they try to find the best balance between these six elements which take part in the single malt making process: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Metal, Wood in order to produce the best spirit as they can.

The DHG still not have whiskies available on sale and that’s not the most important. Their approach is to have the opportunity to carry on the different steps of the elaboration of their futures whiskies. Thus, they provide single malts at various stage of the maturation
L10#01, which was the first previous single malt made with barley available on sale, matured two months in French oak barrels. It allows to follow the influence of the barrels on the new make spirit.
Let’s have a look on their actual range…


From the first barley harvest of the Domaine des Hautes Glaces in 2009 (climate Les Gabert) were extracted 13 barrels of single malt whisky whose will be the oldest whiskies from the Domaine des Hautes Glaces.

In order to celebrate the launching of the distillery, the Domaine des Hautes Glaces has decided to share with us this historical beverage, through a very special vintage, PRINCIPIUM.

You acquire a labelled and corked… empty bottle.

The principle of this spécial serie of only 1616 bottles is the fortunate owners will have the oportunity to follow the maturation of their own whisky deciding to fill your Principium bottle whenever they deem the time is ripe with the original vintage of the Domaine des Hautes Glaces.

Whiskies lovers, let’s bottled our own 5 y.o, 10 y.o, 12 y.o, 15 y.o…and more ! A real dream for most of us.
It is a way to take part in the history of this amazing Alpine Farm Distillery, DHG.

Woska Serac

Woska is a generic name created by DHG defining a triple distillation (direct heat) of various grains harvested at the domaine. It’s an unageed, aromatic distillate reflecting the land from which it comes.

SERAC is the first opus of the serie, made from rye grown and harvested in Serre in 2010, where DHG grows this cereals. It is a unique concentrate of captivating flavors which can be enjoy as an aperitif, a digestive and also for stylish cocktail hours.

It can be perceived as a Irish whiskey ( because of the triple distillation tradition) but not aged and using rye or such as a tasty vodka…
Each one call it as he wants, the essential is to taste at least ones, it worth it!

Tasting notes

Colour: Colorless
Nose: Smooth, fresh and fruity through pear. Gentian and green anise notes. Hints of acacia honey.
Palate: Creamy and smooth. Malted rye combinated with fruity taste such as pear and plum. Pepper and cloves flavours. Almonds notes.
Finish: Soft, well-balanced and long finish.  Powerful spicy taste through  nutmeg and pepper. Emergence of fresh white floral notes. Persistence of malted rye.
ABV: 43%


S.11#01 is the previous of the rye single malts serie, the « S » meaning rye in French, "seigle", harvest 2011, serie n°1.

Elaborated with rye harvested in 2011 (Climate Les Gabert) and matured 12 months, it’s the product of a direct heat double distillation matured in french oak barrels: ex-cognac barrels and new oak barrels (Tronçais forest). It allows us to discover the typicity of the rye cereals.

Tasting notes

Colour: Copper coloured
Nose: Almonds and gentian notes.
Palate: Grown and supple. Cereals, malted rye caracteristics (spicy and earthy) notes followed by prune taste.
Finish: Long and spicy through pepper, liquorice and tabacco notes.
ABV: 46 %
L10#03 is the third and newest opus of the L10 serie, made of barley from the 2010 harvest (climate Andrieu), an ascending tasting from the spirit still to the whiskies. Matured 22 months in French oak barrels, this new single malt get closer to the universe of the malts of exception, taking its distance with the juvenile aspect of the two first L10 serie opus.
A real single malt in your own right!

Tasting notes

Colour: Pale gold
Nose: Smooth and subtle. White flowers and slight candied white flesh fruits (peach) combined with malted barley notes. Hints of truffle
Palate: Well-balanced and silky. Almond paste notes associated with citrus fruits, vanilla and pastry taste

Finish: Long and lingering. Malted barley fade down little by little. Roots, Ginger with slight camphor retro olfaction. Pleasant apricot tart note in the end of the glass.
ABV: 46%

Seductive by its fineness, its fruitness and its smoothness..
Love it!

Very promising range...Awesome!

From this summer 2013, we'll be able to enjoy the distillery visit...

More informations on the DHG website: (version FR) (version EN)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A seductive whisky for a first introduction to the whisky world

Auchentoshan distillery is the nearest distillery from Glasgow. 
Auchentoshan whiskies are produced in the Lowlands traditional style meaning that they are elaborated through a triple distillation such as Irish whiskey: Wash still/low wines still/spirit still. This is the only Scottish distillery to permanently do this and It is well explained on their own website:
This triple distillation allows to obtain pure and soft distillate which reach 80% of alcohol, which is not common in Scotland (≈ 70%). Those whiskies are renowned to be light, smooth and delicate.

For several weeks, I had a mission to find a whisky that can be appreciated by some of my female friends which usually define whiskies as too strong aged alcohols. To resolve it, I chose an easy-to-drink whisky and we tasted together an Auchentoshan 12 years old.
They changed their mind, new people to share spirit experience with. Mission accomplished!

The same experience can be reproduced with a Glenkichie 12 years old to introduce non-amateur to the fabulous world of whiskies. They are two entry-level whiskies for new whisky amateur.
Tasting notes

Colour: Gold/amber
Nose: Light. Citrus and apple (cider) notes. Caramel, toasted almonds.
Palate: Light and smooth. Floral. Citrus fruits: Orange zest/lemon. Spicy: Cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and ginger taste. Honey, caramel notes. Bourbon and Sherry mark.
Finish: Medium and dry. Spiced and barley malted notes. Slightly bitter tasting (dark chocolate)
ABV: 40%


Monday, April 15, 2013

A story of oak maturation

The Balvenie distillery was founded by the William Grant & Sons family in 1892 in Dufftown. This same family started the Glenfiddich and the Kininvie distilleries in the Speyside region. It is one of the few Scotch distilleries which has its own malting floors, also supplying its neighbour Glenfiddich. The Balvenie whiskies are elaborated for more than 50 years by David Stewart, the masterblender. The company enjoys a excellent reputation in the whisky world with several whisky awards.
Today, let’s taste one of his realisations, The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 y.o. It is a Single malt Scotch Whisky which is matured in two distinctive casks. Over its period of maturation, it’s transfered from an ex-Bourbon oak cask to a Sherry oak cask. 
Tasting notes

Colour: Amber
Nose: Citrus fruits (Orange dried peel), honey, vanilla. Hints of oak.
Palate: Soft, medium body. Sweet fruit taste. Honey, vanilla, cinnamon, spices notes. Slightly tannic (sherry notes) and oaky. Citrus taste and bitterness. Duality of flavours (Bourbon+sherry maturation)
Finish: Medium. Dry vanilla notes and spicy.
ABV: 43%

A pleasant Single malt whisky with an interesting nose, very aromatic. An easy to drink Scotch whisky, great for introducing people to single malts. I recommend without hesitation and it is available at a reasonnable price.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Back to the origin...

Today, let’s talk about one of the first whisky which made me up my fascination for whiskies: The Aberlour A’bunadh (a-boona), A’bunadh meaning “the origin” in Scottish Gaelic.

Tasted for my first time at the distillery, appreciated several times, I recently had a glass in the Café Brun in Bordeaux.

A’bunadh is a cask-strength single malt whisky from the Aberlour Distillery (Pernod Ricard) in the Speyside region (Scotland).

This cask-strength is produced as the 19th century traditional way of making whiskies, exclusively matured in Olorosso sherry barrels, unchilled and unfiltered.

It has no age statement. Each batch is blended from 5 to 25 years old barrels and each batch carries a unique number, mentioned on the label. Thus, depending from which batch the elixir come from, colour, nose, palate and the ABV vary. For example, the ABV can oscillate from 59% to 63%.

What does it taste like?

Tasting notes
Colour: Dark amber/Deep copper
Nose: Powerful. Spicy and fruity. Citrus fruits notes. Sherry, winey notes. 
Palate: Well balanced. Citrus fruits (orange), black cherry and dried fruits notes. Ginger, dark chocolate. Spiced and woody. Intense Olorosso sherry notes.
Finish: Long and warming. Chocolate, honey. Oaky and spicy notes.

A superb after-dinner malt, complex and powerful for sherried lovers
To match also with an onctuous molten chocolate cake (fondant au chocolat)

It’s also a very good value for money for a cask-strength malt whisky. An advice, always have a bottle of it in your whisky collection or some if you want to compare the different batches.

I really recommend the Aberlour Distillery Experience, an excellent visit where you can unbolted your own Aberlour whisky, direct from the cask (Sherry or Bourbon).