Friday Tastings: Pierde Almas Mezcal

Mezcal—tequila’s smoky, rustic, long-neglected ancestor (tequila is a mezcal made without smoke; for a better explanation, go here)—continues to enjoy a stateside renaissance.  Which brings us to Pierde Almas, a fine new line of mezcals that has almost launched in New York City (yes, it’s a bonafide Gilt MANual scoop).  Think generational, artisanal, tiny production. Think hand-lettered agave fiber labels, and roasted agave hearts crushed by horse-drawn mill in the Oaxacan sun. Pierde Almas (meaning losing your soul, but in a good way), distilled by the fourth-generation mezcal makers of the Sanchez Altamirano family in the tiny hilltop village of San Balthazar, in Chicicapum, has been in top cantinas in Mexico for a couple years. And the range (arriving via a couple—not themselves spirits professionals—who wanted to see their favorite mezcal here) includes two varieties of agave we’ve never seen before in the states: the wild, austere, vegetal Tobaziche ($120), and the Dobadaán ($70), a rare cultivated agave, grown only in the Ocotlan valley, with herbal undertones and a sweet agave burn. A luscious Tobalá (a small wild agave, found only the local mountains), bursting with butterscotch, rounds out the range. A more classic Espadín, and a Pechuga (a special mezcal distilled with wild berries over a chicken breast) will arrive in March.  These subtle mezcals are currently only available in New York City, but that’s what FedEx is for. At the bottom of each bottle, you’ll find this phrase: “Otra vez esta maltida felicidad.” Or: “Once again this goddamn happiness.” To which we can only add: indeed.

Available at Astor Wines & Spirits.

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