Spirit of the Month: May 2017
We choose our Spirit of the Month to highlight some of the greatest spirits in the world. Some of them are age-old classics, some of them are great new releases, but whatever it is, you can be sure that it's something we love. This month we've chosen:
Ilegal's flagship mezcal, unaged, approachable and very tasty. It's packed with smoky flavour, but doesn't go over the top, offering an easy-drinking introduction to Mexico's native spirit.
From Billy Abbott,
The Whisky Exchange
- Nose: Rubber, iodine and medicinal smoke, with crushed stones, butterscotch sweetness and a hint of lime.
- Palate: Sweet and grappa-like, with light smoke, ground black and white pepper, green bell peppers and a hint of menthol.
- Finish: Sweet fruit, and soft black and white pepper.
The story of Ilegal starts with Café no Sé in Guatemala. Already known for its excellent selection of mezcal, sometimes smuggled across the Mexican border by owner John Rexer and barman Stephen Myers, the bar needed one of its own. John and Stephen scoured Mexico for a suitably traditional distillery and Ilegal was born.
Production is very old-fashioned, with brush-covered pits for cooking the agave and a horse-drawn tahona wheel for crushing the piña. Distillation is in small batches and bottling is by hand, all leading to a high-quality, great-tasting mezcal.