That's right .. I'm not sure what more needs to be said except that the mezcal has a unique essence that is more than just a gimmick, as I thought initially. Pechuga de Conejo by Bosscal Mezcals is a pretty interesting expression that does precisely what a great spirit should do - evokes a conversation.
Durango Mezcal Is Not The Same As Oaxacan Mezcal
To many Americans, mezcal is synonymous with smoke bomb in the same way that Islay Scotches like Laphroaig are compared to other whisky spirits. While generally speaking, mezcal will almost always be more textured and a bit rougher than a typical tequila, Durango mezcals are typically far less smoky than their cousins from Oaxaca and other parts of Mexico.
While most people think that mezcal is simply the generic term for agave spirits made outside of Jalisco - it is actually limited to a handful of areas in Mexico including: Guerrero, Michoacán, Zacatecas, Durango, Puebla and San Luis Potosí, and of course Oaxaca - where 80-85% of all mezcal currently originates!
As the popularity of the spirit expands, other states are building and expanding their distilleries and agave farms and Durango appears to be the next big destination for innovative agave spirits.
Not All Agave Is The Same
We've been taught that Blue Agave or Weber Agave is the best and this is mostly because of marketers promoting tequila as a premium spirit over the less well defined mezcal producers. The reality though is that there are many different types of mezcal out there and the impact between one vs another is very similar to how Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes may both be white ... the wine produced is significantly different.
The same holds true for mezcal as well.
The dominant agave that mezcal is made from in Oaxaca is Espandin which offers one of the highest sugar content of any of the agave plants and is the ancestor of Agave Tequilana. This high sugar content makes it an excellent candidate for distilling though many critics dismiss it as having less complexity and personality than other options. Regardless - Espandin represents more than 80% of all agave used in the product of Mezcal, so this is probably what you identify as being mezcal.
On the other hand, Durangenis Cenzio is from Durango, Mexico and is wild-grown on steep rocky mountainsides and harvested at between 10-12 years of maturity. The radical changes in temperatures from 25 degrees to more than 100 create a very complex flavor that the careful production process used by mezcaleros in Durango is able to bring out in the finished spirit. These mezcals tend to be sweeter and sometimes have notes of the mesquite trees that also grow in the region.
I look forward to exploring more of the differences between these different agave plants but for now it's time to explore the expressions created by Bosscal Mezcals!
We Tried Three Expressions From Bosscal Mezcal
While most people are familiar with Joven - the classic, unaged spirit - Bosscal offers two others that are pretty wild and should probably be on any guy's shelf who loves unique spirits. This includes Damiana, a mezcal made with a flowering herb that is said to be an Aztec aphrodesiac, and Pechuga de Conejo, a mezcal made with a real (formerly alive) rabit that hangs suspended in the still and drips oiles and juices into the spirit.
Pechuga de Conejo -
Bosscal Pechuga de Conejo is created in a way some may consider very unusual. It’s made using meat. Triple-distilled, a skinless rabbit is suspended in the still during the third distillation, allowing the liquid vapors to pass through it (“pechuga” means ‘breast’ in Spanish and “conejo” means ‘rabbit’). The heat and steam from the process cook the rabbit as the spirit distills, killing any harmful bacteria present, allowing the meat’s fat and juices to drip into the mezcal, adding a savory quality to the spirit. This unusual mezcal has a light smoke and is very crisp and smooth with citrus, orange and blood orange notes. Also deep within the flavor you may get hints of apples, mandarin, apricot, plums and quince fruit, which all combine to produce amazing balance and flavor. Production is limited due to the local apples that must be in season to be added to the distillate. $99.99 (42 proof)
Damiana is a traditional herb that thrives in the same regions as agave and has been used by the Mexican people for centuries. The tiny flower was a favorite of the Aztecs for its supposed aphrodisiac qualities. This mezcal features light smoke and is very crisp and smooth with amazing herbal notes, from the damiana flower added into the second distillation. Citrus, orange and blood orange cues accompany sweet, tartness and floral notes to create a very well-balanced spirit. MSRP $49.99 (42 Proof)
Winner of a Gold Medal at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Best in Show at the 2022 TAG Global Spirits Awards, Bosscal Mezcal Joven is an unaged product and certified 100% organic. The palate shows citrus – particularly orange and blood orange – with sweet, tart and floral notes across the balanced, lightly smoked palate. MSRP $44.99 (42 Proof)
For more information on Bosscal Mezcal, visit your local liquor store.