You may ask yourself, can a product call itself mezcal if it doesn’t contain that signature smokiness? To a certain degree, a question like this harkens back to some people’s perception of scotch—where only the peated, smokey iterations are familiar to sense memory. In fact, however, smokeless mezcal is a thing—and no, it does not taste like tequila. Instead, it boasts a pure agave profile, with a bit of citrus and definitely some notes of brine. And Mezcal Viejo Indecente, an aged iteration making its way to the US now, is an ideal example. This is still an Oaxaca-made spirit, produced from cooking piña, the heart of certain agave plants. However, the 100% Espadín agave is steam-cooked (a method native to northern Mexico) rather than oven-cooked over wood-burning fires.
There are plenty of other notable attributes: from the sustainable agave farming imparted by the Lucas family (who owns the farms and the brand and has been producing mezcal in Mexico for three generations) to the fact that the agave has been aged for at least eight years. As for how it tastes, beneath the 47% ABV, the agave shines—fruit-forward with a little honey and citrus. The uncommon smoothness makes it more for sipping and not for shots. For people who love mezcal for its smoke, this may be too gentle, but for people seeking new well-made agave spirits, it’s a fantastic option.
Viejo Indecente is available at Mash & Grape for $60.
Images by Cool Hunting