Joven and Blanco Mezcal

Joven and Blanco Mezcal

Blanco, or joven, mezcal is a clear Mexican spirit which has smoky, spicy and vegetal characteristics. It is largely unaged and bottled shortly after distillation, although a resting period of up to two months in oak or inert containers is permitted. The joven classification accounts for 95% of all mezcals.

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Joven and Blanco Mezcal

Much of this spirit’s flavour and allure stems from the choices made in production, the producer's terroir and the essence of its base ingredient, the agave plant.

Agave contains multitudes and its potential for diverse and complex flavours is why many traditional producers choose not to age the spirit, electing instead, to have the agave’s character stand on its own.

Maturation may not be permitted in joven mezcal, but time is still a huge factor in its production as it can take from five to 35 years – depending on the species and variety – for an agave plant to reach maturity. Once it does, the heart or ‘piña’ of the agave is harvested, and roasted with wood in underground pits – imparting a smoky flavour – before being milled, fermented and finally distilled. The many nuances within each of these processes can significantly affect the final flavour in your glass. It’s difficult to codify the diverse flavour of joven mezcal, but it can run the gamut from fruity and grassy, to savoury, mineral, funky and spicy. Brands like Neta and Banhez represent this broad range of flavours while championing varietal mezcal or ensamble mezcal.

As the name might suggest, varietal mezcal showcases just one type of agave. There is plenty of diversity in this style, as their are hundreds of agave varieties to choose from and innumerable ways to process them. The most commonly used agave is Espadin, which comes from the angustifolia species. Its high sugar concentration gives good yields during fermentation and tends to produce mezcal with a good balance of herbaceousness and sweetness.

Ensamble mezcal is a combination of two or more agave species roasted and distilled together in a single batch. This could be done to supplement rare agaves like the grassy and vegetal Tepextate, which takes 25-35 years to reach maturity and commonly grows in hard to reach places. While other producers prefer the flavour from their own proprietary blends of agave and choose to stick to a longstanding house style.

In short, it is the agave plant, and the way it was tended to that make joven mezcal such a exceptionally expressive spirit.

Did you know?

  • It can take between five to 35 years for an agave plant to reach maturity
  • Its flavour can run the gamut from fruity and grassy, to savoury, mineral, funky and spicy

Typical Character and Style of Joven and Blanco Mezcal

  • Smoke Smoke
  • Banana Banana
  • Hazelnut Hazelnut
  • Earth Earth
  • Mixed Herb Mixed Herb
  • Milk Chocolate Milk Chocolate
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