So You Like Smoky Mezcal?

Mezcal is enjoying a huge surge in global popularity lately. Spirits lovers around the world are drawn to its delicious flavors and smoky notes. If you're a fan of the smoke, these are our highest rated extra smoky mezcals. ¡Salud!
Apr 06, 2016
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    The Cortés family has been producing artisanal mezcal for five generations. They produce a range of mezcals ranging in styles and philosophies but what they all have in common is that they are all vivid expressions of the place and the producer. From the village of Santiago Matatlán using agave espadín and aged for 18 months in American oak, this mezcal was produced entirely using “artisanal” methods.
  • 9
    Gracias a Dios is a fair trade brand that sows three agave plants for every bottle produced. The wild, organic plants used in this mezcal are 15 years old at harvest and undergo double distillation. The spirit is bottled fresh without further aging.
  • 8
    Cuixe agaves take up to fifteen years to mature, at which point the plant has developed a tree-trunk like stalk that can reach ten feet in height. This bottling is the only variety Aquilino makes from wild agaves; the rest are made from plants farmed by Aquilino himself or one of his neighbors.
  • 7
    Alipús is made from contracted mezcal particularly distilled to express the geographical differences that terroir, fermentation, water source, and distillation play in the decisive flavor of single village distillates. They use almost exclusively the agave species espadín.
  • 6
    Tobaziche is one of the most easily identified subspecies of agave due to their unusual elongated piñas. They more closely resemble a palm tree than what is typically thought of when agave plants are discussed. Wild tobaziche agaves take roughly 12 years to mature and easily grow to over 8 feet. Master Mescalero Adrián Bautista produced this mezcal in Rio de Ejutla, Oaxaca using traditional methods.
  • 5
    Double-distilled and aged in French oak barrels from 2-11 months. It is 100% agave and is bottled at 80 proof. It is bottled with a scorpion collected from the local hills surrounding the distillery rather than the usual agave worm.
  • 4
    Distilled from wild-grown Dobadán agave plants, this mezcal hails from Oaxaca, in the southern part of Mexico. Double-distilled in copper pot-stills by master mezcalero Alberto Ortiz, the piñas or hearts of this agave average 8 to 12 years old before being harvested.
  • 3
    Sombra was created as a passion project of famed sommelier and wine negociant Richard Betts of Betts & Scholls. Created as a stance against the “Vodka-ization” of Agave spirits, this is meant to jump out in a cocktail. It is 100% espadín that are first grown in the villages of San Juan del Rio and San Juan before being uprooted and planted on the slopes of the Sierras in Oaxaca. After roasting for 2 days in a stone pit with an oak fire source, the agaves are crushed in a tahona (stone wheel) and then allowed to ferment naturally for 8 days.
  • 2
    A mezcal distilled in a very old-school method: small clay stills. This ancient method is usually not considered beyond small home distilleries because of how fragile the clay pots are (they often need to be replaced as they break) and how expensive this method is to produce spirits. Another thing to note is the clay stills are made from the soil of their estate. This is bottled at 94 proof, much higher than their traditional Plata expression which is 80 proof.
  • 1
    Introduced in 2010, Del Maguey VIDA Mezcal is an artisanal single-village organic mezcal made from espadín agaves. These agaves are harvested from the village of San Luis del Rio in Oaxaca. Roasting of the agaves lasts for 3-8 days followed by an 8-10 day wild fermentation. The mezcal is twice distilled in wood-fired copper stills. Bottled at 84 proof.