GSN Review: Marca Negra Mezcal


Most consumers today are informed enough to know that mezcal is unrelated to mescaline and does not need an agave worm in the bottle.  In fact, mezcal is a spirit related to tequila, but in many ways quite different.  The plant used can be one of thirty different kinds of agave (as opposed to Blue Weber which is used in tequila), and is generally distilled in the Oaxaca region of Mexico (as opposed to Jalisco).  But, perhaps the most notable difference is the smokiness of the final product.

Traditonally, mezcal is cooked in pits of hot rocks and then covered with stones.  In fact, the word mezcal literally means “over-cooked agave”, and it is this process which gives it its memorable and unique character. Each distillery has its own method, but the end result is the same.  Think of mezcal as the South of the Border cousin to Islay Scotch.

Each and every bottle of Marca Negra contains information on the type of agave used, where it was made, alcohol content, the master distiller’s name and even the batch and bottle number.  The bottle we received at GSN was crafted from Espadin agave estate grown in San Luis del Rio, Tlacolula, Oaxaca.

Marca Negra Mezcal (101.8 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Hefty dose of smoke with mint and tobacco leaf.
Taste: Heavy smoke flavor with an unusual almost soap bubble-like undertone.  Incredibly intense and unique.  After several sips, bright spice notes come through along with an unexpected lemon citrus tinge.
Finish: Burnt cigar and bitter tobacco leaf linger for a long time.  There’s also a very dry and tannic quality that stays in the back of the throat.
Overall:  This one ranks up there with one of the smokiest mezcals I’ve ever tasted.  Honestly, I almost feel as if I had just smoked a fine cigar.  You might want to add a bit of water to open it up and see what happens.  There is not a lot of subtlety here.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Marca Negra