Here’s something a little different for you to try, Sotol. My first experience with this spirit was at the first annual Taste of Mexico Celebration held at St Vibiana’s in Los Angeles. Simply put, I loved it.
Here’s how Wikipedia explains it… Sotol is a distilled spirit made from the Dasylirion wheeleri (commonly known as Desert Spoon or, in Spanish, “sotol”), a plant that grows in northern Mexico, New Mexico, West Texas, and the Texas Hill Country around San Antonio and Austin. It is known as the state drink of Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila, Mexico.
You can think of it as a cousin of Mezcal as it is made in much the same way. Hand distilled bottle by bottle, Sotol is the very definition of an artisanal spirit. Here’s Ed’s review and notes…
Origin… The Sierra Madre of Chihuahua
Tasting Notes… Incredibly powerful nose of sweet floral notes, with a touch of spice and heat. Hints of smoke and mineral character with citrus rind and lots of heat (90 proof). Yet it is incredibly complex. The second pass shows even more floral notes. The finish has a pleasant vegetal aroma that stays with you for over 10 minutes.
Sotol, distilled from the hearts of the wild harvested Sotol plant (technically not a member of the Agave family, meaning this is not a Mezcal) is made in Northern Mexico. The Por Siempre brand is made by the Perez Family, 6th generation distillers.
Sotol Rating… 3 sotols. [we can’t give it magueys can we?]
Availability… Widely available in the better stocked wine and spirit stores.
Cost… $35.00 – $40.00 USD
Additional Thoughts… I highly recommended (3 Magueys, okay, Sotols) this fine spirit. Each bottle is made from a single Sotol plant that takes 15 years to mature (one plant per bottle). This means every bottle will be a little different from the last one you tried. At $40.00 a bottle, it is an artisanal spirit that is affordable, making it a great value for the well stocked home bar.
Explaining our ratings…
Here’s where we start… We love the spirits of Mexico. Whether it is tequila, mezcal or sotol, we’d love to share a drink with you. But clearly our favorite is mezcal… specifically artisanal mezcal. The type that is hand made, following the centuries old traditions passed down from one generation to the next.
Generally, we only review small batch mezcal so if you are expecting to read about mezcals or spirits that come from some 100,000 liter vat, you won’t find them here. We don’t believe that they fairly represent the heart and soul of the truly magical mezcals and spirits that are produced in Oaxaca and other places around the great country of Mexico.
We rate everything on a scale of 1 to 5 magueys, or sotols.
If we write it up, it’s good and will be guaranteed at least 1 maguey. 3 magueys is top notch and the cherished 5 maguey rating is reserved for the really special stuff. If you are fortunate to have a mezcal that gets 5 magueys, consider yourself fortunate, because it is a top of the mountain spirit, in the same class as a fine French wine or a treasured single malt Scotch.
Finally, not all of the mezcals, tequilas or sotols we review are available in the US. This reflects the view of Ulises Torrentera of In Situ Mezcaleria, and many mezcaleros and distillers, that to truly appreciate mezcal and the other fine spirits of this great country, sooner or later you need to visit us here in My Mexico!