Jake Lustig, the man we all love behind ArteNOM Tequila, has finally brought his expanded portfolio of Don Amado mezcales north of the border! You can revisit part one of my trip to Santa Catarina Minas here, with details of the distillery here if you need production specifics, but know right away that Don Amado is one of my favorite mezcales simply because it isn't all that smoky. It's a flavorful, graceful, nuanced spirit that always places the inherent flavors of the agave above the need for power or vigor. These three higher-end expressions are living proof of that synopsis; they're complex, ethereal, and delicately-detailed spirits that truly encompass what top shelf mezcal has to offer. I first tasted these over a year ago and have been impatiently waiting for them to arrive ever since! Check out the score below:
Don Amado Largo Mezcal $89.99- Originally established in 1700, the distillery that produces Don Amado is renown throughout the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca as one of the finest producers of premium mezcal. The distillery uses only estate-grown agave to ensure the plant's high sugar levels, and mixes steam into the agave's smoke roasting to smooth out the mezcal's characteristically smoky flavor. "Largo" which means "long" in Spanish is how the folks refer to "Karwinskii" or "cuishe" agave in Santa Catarina Minas, where the distillery is located. Cuishe is known for its exotic and subtle complexity of flavors, a plant-like note bolstered by a nuanced spiciness and mild roasted finish. The finish of the Don Amado Largo is a symphony of sweet agave pulp, baking spices, and mild vegetal goodness. It tastes expensive.
Don Amado Pechuga Mezcal $89.99- Whereas "pechuga" usually refers to the chicken or turkey breast added to the distillation process to provide oils and fats, owner Jake Lustig has never been a fan of decomposing meats. Instead, he uses a combination of locally-sourced wild apples, wild apricots, stubby bananas, along with walnuts, cloves, cinnamon, and market-bought spices, the result is something in between mezcal and gin. The flavor of the agave is never compromised, but rather heightened and brightened by the addition of fruit and spice. Absolutely delcious! It's almost like mezcal gin.
Don Amado Arroqueño Mezcal $89.99- The arroqueño plants are gathered, roasted, and distilled in ceramic and bamboo pot stills, resulting in a slightly smoky and earthy distillate. The aromas are incredibly complex, almost meaty, but the distillate is 100% pure grace; a long and meandering road of picante spice, pepper, and chili. There are few mezcales on the market with this level of depth for under $100.