Ilegal Mezcal Joven

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

A Mexican companion for Thai food

Ilegal mezcal is a brand with a succulent story. John Rexer imported or should we say smuggled mezcal from Oaxaca to Guatemala for his bar Café No Se. The clandestine bar was well known amongst writers, musicians and artists.

The brand is now completely legal but still has the look and feel of a smuggled product (although the fine details reveal the contrary). Ilegal only uses the espadin agave variety and the agave spirit is double distilled by a fourth generation mezcalero Eric Hernandez.

Fun Fact: Ilegal is selling "Donald eres un pendejo" T-shirts at the moment. I'll let you guess which Donald they're aiming at...

Identity Card Ilegal Mezcal Joven

    Ilegal Joven espadin mezcal
  • Ilegal Joven
  • 100% espadin agave
  • Unaged / blanco
  • 40 % ABV

Tasting notes

Colour: Joven means young, so this is a young, white and thus unaged agave spirit. Swirling leaves thin and fast legs on the glass.

Nose: This mezcal is showing off why it could be a great malternative to a young lightly peated whisky. The Joven has an almost Laphroaigian TCP or antisceptic nose but far less smoky. Lots of agave and green bananas. Kaffir lime or dried lemongrass. The nose remains pretty closed so adding a drop of water makes a big difference. A distant hint of sweet basil and peppery beef.

Taste: The smoke is more prominent now. Coconut and charcoal. A fairly dry palate with a mineral touch. Sweet cactus, straw and ginger marmalade. Cigarette ash and mustard seed.

Finish: Peppery smoke and as dry as a Mexican desert. A mixture of cooked agave and sand spiced with sichuan peppercorns.

Mezcal Ilegal Joven

Price: €47 / £34 (Master of Malt)

Ilegal Mezcal relies an a cool story of a bartender smuggling illegal mezcal to his cult bar. The now completely legal Ilegal brand attracts a younger rebellious audience. The Joven is a very fine mezcal but could profit from a higher alcohol percentage. Compared to the Marca Negra it feels a bit timid. At the same time, it's more approachable for newcomers to this particular Mexican spirit.

It's a 50cl bottle so it's not the cheapest but also far from the most expensive mezcal and certainly worth giving a shot.

Mezcal Ilegal Joven espadin

Source and pictures: Ilegal Mezcal

Thanks for the sample Sjoerd!