GSN Review: Hedonistas de la Fe Mezcal

Hedonistas de la Fe recently announced the launch of its own online sales platform for all four of their hand-crafted, premium mezcals direct from its website and available for delivery across the USA. Having only launched in autumn 2022 to wide acclaim, it is the first time this mezcal has been available outside of Mexico. 

Hedonistas de la Fe is produced in Matalan, Oaxaca, sacred ground zero for mezcal. Unlike other spirits, these unique mezcals are hand-made according to a 500-year-old tradition. From harvest to distillation, the process is non-mechanized and created in one distillery by the Santiago family, a rarity in modern mezcal. The flavor profiles vary from the cultivated ESPADIN (Agave Angustifolia) to the wild agave, which include the powerhouse TOBALA (Agave Potatorum), the elegant CUISHE (Agave Karwinskii), and the complex TEPEZTATE (Agave Marmorata). 

Hedonistas’ ESPADIN – GSN’s Remarks: Lightly smokey nose with hints of sweet vegetation. Nicely sweet and judiciously touched with smoke. Round mouthfeel and short finish ending on a cantalope melon note. Tasty. GSN Rating: A

Hedonistas’ TOBALA  – GSN’s Remarks: Dark, briny, wood smoke nose. Quite smoke forward to the taste, akin to the depth you would find in an Islay Scotch. The agave kicks through, bringing a friendly sweetness to the palate. A chewy mezcal that has a fairly long finish with the creosote lingering for several minutes. GSN Rating: A-

Hedonistas’ CUISHE – GSN’s Remarks: Mild woody nose with a mild patina of char. Light entry with a soft and gentle caress on the tongue. There is a vegetal, peppery quality to this which brings some heat at the back of the palate. Very much in line with the traditional mezcals that are regional, and hard to find outside of their hometowns. Exemplary release in the portfolio. GSN Rating: A+

Hedonistas’ TEPEZTATE – GSN’s Remarks: Heavily vegetal nose, with a goodly amount of mid-range woodsmoke. On the palate, this is exceptional. Sweet, almost floral and fragrant with mild herbs. Clean, lovely balance of agave and char with a creamy roundness that is memorable. The finish is semi-long, with a soft fade into a dry finish. A gem of a mezcal. GSN Rating: A++

Hedonistas de la Fe is produced in partnership with Mezcal Santa Maria and the Santiago family, which is headed by Gerardo “Kaín” Santiago Hernandez, a fourth-generation  Maestro Mezcalero raised in Matatlan, Oaxaca. The online price range is $64.99 to $199.99 per bottle and the company offers free shipping for orders of $150 or more.

For more information go to: Hedonistas de la Fe


GSN Review: The Producer Mezcal: Ensamble & Tepeztate

The Producer Mezcal recently announced its launch this month with two expressions, Ensamble and Tepeztate just in time for the fall and holiday entertaining seasons.

“The Producer’s goal is to open the door for those curious about mezcal, who want to learn about the individual agaves, palenques, producers and role mezcal plays within the culture of Oaxaca,” says Carlos Sada, Head of Operations for The Producer.

Each expression of The Producer tells the story of the maestros who carefully craft each mezcal: Erasto Martinez Hernandez, a third-generation mezcalero who spent his early years learning from his father how to work the agave fields and the stills; Celestino Sernas Lopez, also a third-generation mezcalero specializing in wild agave fermentations, and Juan Pacheco Santos, a new dynamic partner. The Producer is also dedicated to philanthropic ventures and community growth programs, by providing educational resources and various mentorship opportunities to their community of producers and their families in Oaxaca.

Ensamble: Espadin + Cuishe – The Palenque origin for Producer Mezcal Ensamble originates from Tlacolula de Matamoros in Oaxaca, with the agave originating from Tlacolula de Matamoros and Soledad Salinas in Oaxaca. Maestro Erasto Martinez produces the Ensamble in copper pot stills with an eight-to-eleven-day open air fermentation to allow for natural airborne yeast to ferment the mash. The Espadin (Angustifolia Haw) are harvested at 7 years while the Cuishe (Karwinskii) are harvested around an average of  9 years. Abiding by artisanal methods, the cooked agave hearts are crushed in a traditional fashion using a stone tahona wheel. GSN’s Remarks: Quite fruity with fresh agave flavor, while the smokiness is tempered and lighter than many mezcals. This all works in its favor, as the spirit is allowed to express itself. We find the blending of the two varietals to be quite interesting. One giving some round, low notes, while the other provides lighter and bright flavors. This is a mezcal that we keep returning to. It is that good. Exceptional. GSN Rating: A+++

Tepeztate – The Palenque origin for Producer Mezcal Tepeztate is Santiago Matatlan, Oaxaca, with the agave origin from the Sierra Sur, Oaxaca. The coastal region of the Sierra Sur imparts a subtle salinity and dryness to the distillate and is a true expression of terroir. Maestro Celestino Sernas produces the Tepeztate in copper pot stills with a 13-day open air fermentation. The wild Tepeztate are harvested around an average of 16 years but can take up to 25 years to hit peak maturity. GSN’s Remarks: If you are a fan of Scotch whiskies, then this mezcal is for you. Smokey, salty, dark and mysterious, the spirit indeed does have a terroir. This expression is more of a rustic nature and character than the Ensamble, but is no less wonderfully crafted. The agave has been softened by the creosote where is has a shy murmur, and the char leaves a lasting impression. GSN Rating: A

Note: The team plans to add more wild agave selections like an Arroqueño in 2022.

For more information go to: Producer Mezcal


GSN Spirited News: September 28th 2021 Edition

Edrington has added a new 30-year-old whisky to The Macallan’s Double Cask line. The 43% abv single malt is blended from whiskies matured in Sherry-seasoned casks made from European oak sourced from France and Spain, and American oak from Ohio, Missouri, and Kentucky. The company has teamed up with photographer Erik Madigan Heck to capture the spirit of the whisky in a series of photos tied to the release. The Macallan Double Cask 30-Year-Old is packed in a presentation box and is rolling out now around the world for a suggested price of $4,000 a 750-ml.

Maker’s Mark has debuted its newest limited edition bourbon, Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series 2021 Limited Release: FAE-02. Retailing at $60, the new offering was bottled at 109.1 proof. FAE-02 was made by finishing fully-matured, cask strength Maker’s Mark in secondary barrels fitted with double-heat-treated virgin French Oak barrel staves that undergo an infrared exposure prior to a flame toast finish.

The Dalmore has launched a new, ultra-limited, 30-year-old whisky in the U.S. The Dalmore 2021 Edition is bottled at 42.8% abv and matured in ex-Bourbon barrels before finishing in Tawny Port pipes from Graham’s. Only 200 bottles of the 2021 Edition will be released in the U.S., available at retailers like Total Wine, Wally’s, and, among others, for a suggested price of $5,500.

Edrington has announced Highland Park 15-year-old Viking Heart, the latest permanent addition to the Orkney-based distillery’s portfolio. The 44% abv whisky is a new creation and blends Sherry-seasoned European and American oak barrels with a little bit of whisky matured in refilled barrels previously used to age Highland Park’s malts. The whisky comes in an embossed ceramic bottle and will retail for around $110 when it hits shelves across America around the beginning of November. 

Beam Suntory has launched a limited edition bottling of Jim Beam Black to celebrate the 43rd Ryder Cup. The new bottle features imagery from Whistling Straits, the Wisconsin course where the Cup is currently being contested, and will be available in select retailers in Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Wisconsin for around $23 a bottle. Jim Beam Black is an extra aged variant of the distiller’s standard white label whiskey and is bottled at slightly higher abv of 43%.

The Producer, a new mezcal brand, is rolling out now in the U.S., making its debut with two expressions: Ensamble ($47) and Tepeztate ($98). The 40.2% abv Ensamble is made from 7-year-old Espadin agave plants and 9-year-old Cuishe agave plants that are distilled in a copper pot still following open-air fermentation. Tepeztate is also bottled at 40.2% abv and is made from agave plants sourced from Sierra Sur, Oaxaca, a coastal region. The wild agave for this mezcal is harvested after roughly 16 years.

Fort Collins, Colorado’s Old Elk Distillery has launched its Whiskeysmith line of flavored spirits in markets across the U.S. The brand launched last October with three flavors—chocolate, banana, and pineapple—and, since then, has added four more flavors: blood orange, salted caramel, peach, and coconut. All seven flavors come in at 30% abv and are pitched to consumers as “cocktails in a bottle” or as ingredients to add new flavors to mixed drinks.

BenRiach single malt Scotch whisky, part of the Brown-Forman portfolio, is debuting two new offerings. The first, Malt Season, is the first expression in a century to be produced entirely using barley malted from the distillery’s floor maltings. Retailing at $149 a 750-ml., it was matured in Bourbon and Virgin Oak and is bottled at 48.7% abv. The second new product, Smoke Season, retails at $72 and is bottled at 52.8% abv. It’s billed as the most intensely smoked whisky ever released by BenRiach.

Chicago-based Inspiro Tequila has introduced its first expression, Luna Blanco, a gluten-free and additive-free 100%-Blue Weber agave blanco Tequila containing zero sugar and zero carbs. Inspiro’s initial offering is rested in American oak barrels for a lunar quarter and packaged in a custom-designed bottle. Retailing at $53, it’s currently available online, with distribution to select local markets coming soon. Inspiro was founded by former attorney Mara Smith.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily