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Mezcal Vago Elote

Bottle of Mezcal Vago Elote sitting on a wooden table, in front of a mixed white and wooden background

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Mezcal Vago Elote

EMMELINE'S RATING:
4/5

About Mezcal Vago Elote

Mezcal Vago Elote is exported by Mezcal Vago. Founded by American-born Judah Emanuel Kuper, Vago works with small, traditional palenques in southern Oaxaca to bring their mezcal to the market. As a brand, their aim is to empower these local mezcaleros who are masters of the craft, while also helping us consumers experience truly great mezcal. The exporter is currently owned by Heaven Hill company.

This particular bottle of Elote mezcal is made in Candelaria Yegolé, Oaxaca by mezcaleros Temo and Mateo García (listed as “Hijos de Aquilino García”). It was the signature recipe of mezcalero Aquilino García Lopéz, who unfortunately passed away in 2020. It is made with Espadín agave, which is cooked, crushed with a traditional tahona, and fermented in pine vats. It is then distilled with toasted corn in a copper still before undergoing a triple sediment filtration. The leftover mash from distillation is used to make paper for the bottle’s labels. The mezcal is hand bottled at approximately 100 proof. Each batch may vary.

Bottle Specs

❖  ABV: ~50.3% (batches may vary)

❖ Distillery: palenque de Aquilino García Lopéz

❖ Aging: none

❖ Price Point: low price

My Tasting notes

I took a whiff of this mezcal, and found a slight yogurt-like scent in the beginning. As I continued, the overall aroma was smooth and sweet, with a nice depth to it. There was smoky charred wood and chocolate in the background.

Bottle of Mezcal Vago Elote with the lower two thirds showing, next to the cork top and a small snifter glass with clear liquid, all sitting on a wooden table

My first sip was very strong and tingly, followed by a burst of yogurt-like sweetness. By the second sip, my taste buds had acclimated a bit, though it took me a while to identify any specific notes. Overall, the charred sweet corn was prominent, with an illusion of cinnamon and chocolate. Despite mellowing out over time, this mezcal did burn my throat just a bit.

Cocktail

Yield: 1 drink

Cranberry Mezcal Margarita

Small angled glass filled with deep red liquid, with a rose gold cocktail pick with fresh cranberries sticking out of the glass at a diagonal angle

Ingredients

  • 2oz Mezcal
  • 1oz Cranberry juice
  • 1oz lime juice
  • 1/4oz simple syrup
  • garnish: fresh cranberries

Instructions

  1. Add the ingredients to shaker with ice, and shake until chilled.
  2. Strain the mixture into a small glass.
  3. Garnish with fresh cranberries if desired.

I thought this mezcal performed nicely as a mixing spirit, and was very smooth. The savory sweetness of the corn balanced the tartness of the cranberry juice surprisingly well. Smoke and pepper notes were present, but not too overpowering against the mixers.

Bottom Line

EMMELINE'S RATING:
4/5

Overall, I really enjoyed this bottle of Mezcal Vago Elote. That said, my research on this product set my expectations very high, and I can’t help but wonder if it tasted better in the past. Though I would feel comfortable recommending it to most people, I can think of at least two other mezcals I tried this year that I enjoyed a bit more. For sipping, it had a bit too much heat for my taste, but I thought it was excellent in cocktails.

One thing I found a bit odd was that the marketing materials appeared to be outdated. I was absolutely gutted upon finding out that the original mezcalero, Aquilino García Lopéz, had passed away back in 2020. To be fair, I did have PMS while I was doing the research, and I may have cried actual tears over this man I’ve never met. But I’ll admit, I felt betrayed by the official website when I took a closer look at the bottle’s label, and realized the truth. In my opinion, the website should reflect the new mezcaleros (his sons) by now, and hopefully give some info on what may have changed or stayed the same at the newer palenque.

That said, I still really admire how the brand empowers local families who have expertise in mezcal, and I think that is worth supporting. I look forward to trying some of the brand’s other offerings from the other 3 mezcaleros.

As always, drink responsibly.

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