Get ready to take a trip down to the dusty jungles of Oaxaca, people! On this special MEZCAL edition of the “Tequila Whisperer” show, Th’ Lip dusts off his boots and machete and prepares to taste all the intricate flavors of “Ilegal Mezcal”!
“Ilegal” is a new mezcal brand with a GREAT backstory (and you KNOW Lippy loves a good story!). Seems an American expat traveled down to the jungles of Guatemala and opened the “Café No Se” featuring as many Oaxacan mezcals as he could secretly slip into the country. After making a name for himself as the “go to” mezcal bar in Guatemala, he started to create his own brand of mezcal according to the tastes he and his favorite bar “regulars” adored. The result: “Ilegal” mezcal. Is this story TRUE, or just a great marketing tale? It won’t matter if the juice is worthy. With the top-of-the-market prices “Ilegal” charges, this juice had better be worthy. Watch and see!
AGAVE SOURCE: ESPADIN AGAVE – OAXACA
GENERAL TASTING NOTES:
“Ilegal” is one amazing brand! It brings in all the complication, fruit, and spiciness that a seasoned mezcal drinker is looking for with only a modicum of smoke. The flavor profiles are rich, “rounded” and full-bodied. There’s no skimping on the luxurious mouth experience simply because some of the smoke has either been filtered out or the Espadin agaves were cooked around less smoke to begin with.
The joven (least aged) features an oily-viscous mouth feel that brings on hits of pear and apple,and finishes with the pleasing spice of white pepper. Surprisingly, the reposado features MORE smoke than the joven! The reposado’s introduction of sweet wood is an interesting complication that starts to “round out” the flavor of the mezcal. But it is the 14-month aged anejo that delivers on the promise of the oak introduction. This anejo introduces some of the most pleasing and certainly surprising aged flavors of any mezcal your Tequila Whisperer has EVER tasted! At times the slightly astringent sour-sweet wood was reminiscent of the mighty “70th Anniversario” extra anejo TEQUILA from “El Tesoro”! High praise, indeed.
Th’ Lip recommends starting with the anejo on this mezcal and working your way BACKWARD. It’s a solid BUY for the anejo whether or not you’re a “mezcal drinker”, and depending upon your interest and history with mezcal in general, a solid buy recommendation for the entire line. If you enjoy mezcal you will love this brand! Good Job, “Ilegal”! What’s next: an extra anejo??!?
FLAVOR Profiles for Ilegal (general all ages)
4 thoughts on “Ilegal Mezcal Review – joven, reposado, anejo (episode 61) tequila review”
I just opened a bottle of Ilegal Mezcal Joven…I’m not enjoying it.
I’ve tried many Tequilas and I like to sip the Anejos. The flavors are pleasing, vanilla, caramel, oak.
I was expecting to find similarities with the Mezcal.
Maybe I can describe the aroma and taste as earthy, but not flavorful at all.
Yes, Mezcal is quite different from tequila. Related, but different. It also has the smoky- “barnyard” component. I found the Ilegal brand to be among the lightest touches when it comes to the smoke — but it’s still definitely there. If I could suggest one other brand for you it’d be “Scorpion. That brand features a lot more of the sweet, vanilla oakiness that you’re liking. Try their anejo first.
Then let us know!!
You were right on with your description of Ilegal. I tried the Scorpion last night and It was like you said. I enjoyed that quite a bit more. I went back to the Ilegal and had a few sips. I knew what to expect this time and it wasn’t as disappointing as my first experience. It must be an acquired taste.
Happy to hear that you sipping experience with “Scorpion” was a good one, Brad!