Montelobos Mezcal is a new player in the market. It was first introduced in September, and has been hitting shelves ever since. Montelobos is helmed by agave expert Ivan Saldana, and was launched in partnership with Milagro. It’s being distributed by William Grant and Sons, which lends some weight to the release, as the major supplier has the network to blanket the country, should it so desire. And on Monday, the Montelobos crew rolled through town, giving us a chance to sample the spirit and learn more about it from Mr. Saldana himself.
Montelobos is distilled from 100% organic agave espadin. The agave plants mature for about 10 years before they’re harvested, at which time the agave hearts, or pinas, are roasted underground in a fiery pit of wood and stones. Mezcal drinkers will know this process as the crucible where mezcal gains its traditional smoky character. After nearly a week, the cooked agave is ground into a mash by Rambo, the mule, who pulls a large stone wheel over the agave. That mash is then mixed with water and fermented. From there, it’s twice distilled, bottled and ready for consumption.
The unaged mezcal is full of fresh agave and light smoke on the nose. Add in some tropical fruits and just a hint of anise, and you’ve got one fragrant spirit. Drink up to find lots of roasted agave flavors, plus notes of sweet vanilla. You can taste the wood and earth where the agave baked. It finishes long and dry, with some lingering hints of smoke and dark chocolate.
In addition to sipping this mezcal neat, we also sampled a few Charlotte Voisey cocktails. Montelobos definitely has application here, with a strong presence that stands up in drinks ranging from sours to daisies to stirred cocktails. But with a good, easy-drinking mezcal, we were content to enjoy this one on its own.
It will be fun to watch Montelobos as it continues to grow in an already rapidly-growing space. With support from Milagro and William Grant, it’s got potential to make some serious waves in the category, similar to how Pisco Porton made the pisco market more visible seemingly overnight.
For now, you can find Montelobos in select markets, including California, New York and Texas.
– 43.2% Alcohol by Volume
CE Rating: ★★★