Launched in the U.S. in August 2020, Vamonos Riendo Mezcal sets itself up as a kinder, gentler entry into the category. Much of that has to do with its making. It is triple-distilled from two types of agave: eight-year-old Espadin and 14-year-old Tobalá. The Tobalá has been cultivated at 6,500 feet above sea level, where plentiful sunshine but a dearth of water and oxygen have led the plant to concentrate resources in its piña, or heart, fostering intense flavors and aromatics. Because of that altitude, the plants’ fermented mash can be boiled at a lower temperature, preserving those flavors and aromatics.
The mezcal is clear in color, but upon closer inspection features the faintest possible tint of green. Its nose carries earthy, fruity, and funky aromas that bring to mind peach and plum pits beside vegetal notes of cucumber and coriander. What’s more noteworthy is how faint the smoke is, appearing as a whisper coupled with a funky, slightly savory note that had me thinking of meat just beyond its sell-by date. I don’t mean that in an unpleasant way: Rather, it brought the hogo, or “high taste” phenomenon associated with Jamaican rum to mind.
The first sip reveals it to be fresh, fruity, and bright with peach and plum skins leading the way, helped by a hint of lemon and orange. Texture-wise, it’s medium-bodied but slippery on the tongue. The fruit-forward sweetness is interrupted at the center with white pepper, which grows green to incorporate coriander before we’re joined by more peach at the back. But that’s where the mezcal dries out, gradually replacing its fruit component with a dry carpet of oak, setting up a long, lightly spiced finish that’s escorted by a subtle but satisfying trail of smoke before we end on soft white pepper.
Vamonos Riendo represents a very different side of mezcal from the smoke-bombs that have proven popular over the past decade. While far softer, it’s by no means neutral. The light-in-body spirit is bold in flavor, delivering a lush bouquet of fruits escorted by vegetal spices and the lightest touch of smoke. I suspect it will make a great alternative entry to the category for those who have sworn off the spirit, while offering mezcal lovers an invitation to discover something new.
— 42% ABV