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Del Maguey Vida

by Jason Lightner December 10th, 2013 | Liquor
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agave fieldSo a new Mexican place opened up shop in my area about a month ago. I’d wrongly assumed that this was going to be the week I got away from sampling new agave-based spirits and, instead, moved on to something a bit more wintery. Maybe next week.

This week brings us yet more mezcal to sample, as we look to the appropriately named Del Maguey Vida to lift our spirits and gives us something to tap into as we scarf down these rather excellent nachos. Del Maguey Vida is an artisanal mezcal, organically produced as what they call “single village mezcal.”

From the Del Maguey website:

“VIDA San Luis Del RioTM is an artisanal, Organic Mezcal from Del Maguey, at an entry-level price point and broader availability. Launched in 2010, VIDA is highly mixable and has arrived to much anticipated industry acceptance and high bartender demand. Hand crafted, it is twice distilled, very slowly in small wood-fired, riverside copper stills to flavor specifications that underscore its versatility in cocktails.”

There are few spirits so unique as to make a lasting impression on the one enjoying them. Much of the stuff that’s out there is so pedestrian, and I don’t mean that in a small way — I mean that in a big way. Nearly everything being produced nowadays is just iterative and derivative, and the only real difference in flavor for the vast majority of spirits is smoothness. Everyone’s busy trying to achieve “unparalleled smoothness” that almost no one is thinking about the flavor.

Let me tell you, friends, Del Maguey is thinking about the flavor.

Vida is an exceptionally smoky gem, featuring an almost burnt-agave flavor with lots of woody goodness and spice on the palate, with subtle hints of salt and caramel underscoring this light amber elixir. As full bodied as they come, this one’s a sipper’s pleasure as it not only smells as lovely as it tastes, but lingers on the finish, allowing you to enjoy it that much longer.

Sure, Del Maguey Vida can be mixed, and would likely make a fine Mezcal Old Fashioned or Dirty Margarita, but then the absolutely unique allure of this beverage is its uniquely intense taste. As they say in Jalisco, “don’t ruin a good thing by fixing it.” I’m sure they actually say it in Spanish, but Google Translate is just so far away…

Del Maguey Vida is hard to come by, and if your local laws allow for it, the best way to get a bottle might be to purchase it online via their website. It’ll typically run about $33.99 — a fair price indeed.

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