Zignum is a new player in the mezcal market, having launched in the U.S. late last year. Offering a silver and reposado mezcal, Zignum is made from 100% agave and claims to be a smooth spirit that’s easy to mix. The smoothness and general lack of smokiness comes from Zignum’s production technique.
In traditional mezcal production, hearts of the maguey plant, a form of agave, are placed underground and roasted using layers of hot stones and banana leaf wrappings. This process does not allow smoke to escape, so the maguey hearts, or “pinas,” are imbued with a distinctive smoky flavor. Zignum Mezcal, however, extracts the juices of the plants before steam-cooking them above ground, which eliminates the smoky taste. Zignum says this results in a silky smooth spirit with a clean taste that allows consumers to fully appreciate the flavor of the green agave in its true form. Let’s see how they did.
Zignum Reposado Mezcal is aged for two months and has a shimmering, straw-to-gold colored appearance in the glass. It’s light and fresh on the nose, with aromas of vanilla, coconut and bananas. It’s more reminiscent of rum than most mezcals. Take a sip and that agave starts to come through, plus a background of light earth and smoke. There’s more vanilla and fruit, plus some brown sugar. It’s medium-bodied, sweet and smooth, and it finishes dry with soft notes of oak.
Those easy-drinking qualities and its solid price point–about half the price of others in the category–make Zignum a potential gateway mezcal for drinkers new to the spirit. It’s a far cry from the traditional, artisanal, small village mezcals, though. And my personal mezcal baseline leans toward the earthier, smoky stuff (also see: Islay Scotch). But if you’re new to mezcal and want something easy to start with, this starter mezcal might just be for you.
– 40% Alcohol by Volume
CE Rating: ★★