Chisholm Trail Crafts | Jarrito Tumbler Tasting Notes

Chisolm Trail Crafts | Jarrito Tumbler Tasting Notes http://wp.me/p3u1xi-5bd
An example of Chisolm Trail’s craftsmanship

Tasting notes submitted to Chisholm Trail Craft Glasses for the prototype of Stolzle’s jarrito tumbler, a proposed vessel designed to exclusively appreciate agave spirits.

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JARRITO TUMBLER TASTING NOTES

 

Mr. Romeo Hristov from Chisholm Trail Crafts, Incorporated, has asked me to test a prototype of the Jarrito tumbler for tequila/agave spirits produced by Stölzle Lausitz GmbH.

Personal Tasting Procedure

All tequilas and other agave spirits are always tasted at room temperature.

As I had been instructed by a representative of Glencairn, the glass should be held at the chest or lower, and the aromas of a spirit should rise up to greet you.

Also, as I had been instructed in the past, with any type of stemmed glassware (brandy snifter, Riedel, champagne, etc.), I prefer to nose (with mouth open) by physically turning and facing to my left as I inhale through my left nostril, and doing the same movement to my right side and nostril.

Lastly, after nosing in the same manner at the front of my nose, I then use the single pass technique across my entire nose.

I prefer to hold all vessels from the stem or the foot to prevent inadvertent warming of the liquid being tasted.  The jarrito was held from the bottom.

Craft Agave Spirits

Tequila(s):  Cobalto Organic Blanco (NOM 1586 Destileria Casa de Piedra; 40% ABV, 80 proof).

Terralta blanco tequila (NOM 1579, Destileria El Pandillo; 55% ABV, 110 proof).

Terralta extra anejo tequila (NOM 1579, Destileria El Pandillo; 55% ABV, 110 proof).

Tequila G4 blanco (NOM 1579, Destileria El Pandillo; 40% ABV, 80 proof).

Hacienda Vieja anejo (NOM 1412, Destiladora de los Altos; 40% ABV, 80 proof)

Los 3 Garcias blanco, reposado, anejo (NOM 1594, Casa Tequilera Alcardan K & Asociados; 40% ABV, 80 proof)

Mezcal(s):  Estancia Raicilla (R & J Estancia Distillery; 40% ABV, 80 proof).

Santo Diablo Mezcal Joven (Unaged, 45% ABV, 90 proof, espadin).

Montelobos Mezcal Joven (Unaged, 43.2% ABV, 86.4 proof espadin).

 Glassware

Chisolm Trail Crafts | Jarrito Tumbler Tasting Notes http://wp.me/p3u1xi-5bd
Tears of Llorona served in Riedel stemware.

Riedel Ouverture tequila glass:

  1. Look, feel and handling (describe the shape, proportions, weight, and balance in the hand).

An accepted tool of tequila tasting since its introduction in 2001, it is the vessel most of us have been exposed to and taught to use to appreciate tequila’s many facets.

Elegantly stemmed and reminiscent of champagne glasses, but not as narrow at the bowl, it can be easily handled and tilted, either at the stem or foot, to examine the color and clarity of the liquid without spilling.

Weighing significantly less than common champagne glasses, there is a risk of Riedels breaking, especially between the stem and bowl.

  1. Initial nosing, persistence, complexity and emphasis of the aromas.

Nosing tequilas, and some 80 proof mezcals, can be a challenge.

Depending on the tequila, and regardless of the proof (ABV), one had to be instructed to literally stick one’s nose inside the bowl and to inhale deeply to find aromas that might have been missed at the initial pass.

Alcohol burn with any proof tequila is also a real possibility while “digging in” to try and capture the scents and nuances.  Frequent swirling is necessary in order for aromas to bloom and for any excess alcohol to dissipate.

While some tasters prefer the Riedel for unaged (blanco) tequilas, it was reputed by the Riedels to have been designed specifically for reposados.

That said, darker expressions of tequila (some older aged reposados, anejos and extra anejos) sampled, and their layers of complexity seem to remain, for the most part, intact.

Glencairn whiskey nosing glass:Chisolm Trail Crafts | Jarrito Tumbler Tasting Notes http://wp.me/p3u1xi-5bd

  1. Feel and handling (shape, proportions, weight, balance in the hand):

Long associated almost exclusively with the whisky and scotch industries, as well as its aficionados, it has been widely favored and accepted by tequila cognoscenti “oak heads” for many years.

In fact, it has been preferred over the Riedel Ouverture, especially in tasting and enjoying the more aged tequilas.

Known for its distinctive thick foot and bell shaped bowl ending in an extended neck chimney, it has the same size opening as the Riedel.  This allows for more even mouth surface (and ultimately palate) coverage with which to sip, savor and nose a spirit.

Its footed base keeps the vessel steady on any flat surface without the danger of breaking any stems as is often the case with Riedels when accidentally knocked over.

The thickness of the foot is ideal for handling the Glencairn.  Swirling, nosing and sipping are done easily, without inadvertently warming the liquid inside.  Its design is very pleasing to the eye, as well.

  1. Initial nosing, persistence, complexity and emphasis of the aromas:

The Glencairn’s construction allows the taster to discern aromas and nuances often overlooked or muted by other accepted glassware without completely extinguishing the necessary effects of any excess alcohol.

In the case of sampling blanco tequilas, and in particular high proof blancos, I believe the bell (bowl) allows for any excess alcohol to become trapped long enough to not interfere with the nosing process.

As I mentioned earlier, the Glencairn efficiently presents any spirits’ aromas when held in close proximity to the nose.

I believe the thinness and strength of the glass Glencairn uses to produce its vessels is the secret to its value and versatility.

It is just about the perfect glass for any spirit, including tequila, and everyday use.

Stolzle jarrito tumbler:

  1. Feel and handling (shape, proportions, weight, balance in the hand):

In the attempt to craft a drinking vessel that could ultimately be associated exclusively with Mexican agave spirits of all types, both styles of jarritos (tumblers) are uniquely designed without a stem or handle which are both European inventions.

Both jarritos have a slightly weighted flattened base.  One model has a more extended neck similar to the Glencairn or Riedel.  The other model has a slightly shorter neck and a bit wider circumference providing even more mouth surface, and eventually, palate coverage by the sampled liquid.  Both have a slightly bell shaped bowl, not unlike the Glencairn.

Also, similar to the Glencairn, I believe its bell or bowl allows for the non-interference of excess alcohol when nosing higher proof tequilas and mezcals while still discerning the spirits’ various aromas.

Our CMO, Lisa Pietsch, particularly enjoyed the “hand feel” of both jarritos.

Gracefully designed, the jarritos seem to naturally invite the casual sipper to wrap his or her fingers around the bowl and neck of the vessel, allowing the impression of becoming more “intimate” with the agave spirit inside.

For judging purposes, the natural reflex to hold the vessel by the bowl can be circumvented by simply placing the jarrito on a flat surface and nosing from a standing position, if necessary.

The base of both models is still wide enough to hold the jarrito securely by the fingertips to swirl and sniff.  The danger of inadvertently warming the liquid inside by using this technique is negligible.

Finally, the thickness of the jarrito glass is just millimeters thicker than the Glencairn.  The short necked jarrito is also slightly thicker than the long necked one.

  1. Initial nosing, persistence, complexity and emphasis of the aromas:

Glassware:  Extended neck jarrito.

Nosing (80 proof tequila)

The floral aromas were instantly noticeable without having to swirl the jarrito to help aerate the liquid.  Upon closer nosing, the fruit aromas became very prevalent, as well.

In the case of Tequila G4, there was an instantly discernible scent of wet cement perceived at just the initial pass through.  Normally, this particular aroma isn’t evident until after several attempts using the Riedel Ouverture.

Nosing (110 proof tequila)

 The sharpness remained as above.

As with any high proof spirit, there would be significant alcohol present, however, only at the bottom of the glass where it belongs.  In this case, the alcohol was not at all offensive or aggressive.

Intake 

 Again, I was taken aback by how lucid and sharp the liquid tasted on the intake.

Glassware:  Short neck jarrito.

Nosing and Intake (110 proof tequila)

Same as long necked jarrito, however…

Both the nose and the intake showcased significantly sweeter elements in the Terralta extra anejo that was both surprising and pleasing.

Terralta is a very complex tequila to begin with, but the short neck jarrito stood up to the challenge.

Overall Impressions and Recommendations

 Incongruence between nosing and tasting… 

For those of us using Riedels exclusively to assess tequilas and all other agave spirits, it is not uncommon to perceive an imbalance or incongruence between nosing and tasting.

I believe, at least in tequila competitions and tastings that I have been involved in, that frequent re-tastings or re-pours are necessary for the judge to determine accurate ratings and/or flavor notes.

Tasting in HD…

In nosing 80 proof tequilas with the jarrito, I was struck by how sharply and easily it was to discern the separate aromas from each other.

It was like watching television in HD, or hearing the notes on a finely tuned piano for the first time.  The nuances and subtleties of the tequilas came across loud and clear.  It was very exciting.

The presence of alcohol…

In nosing 110 proof tequilas, and having spoken to well known tequila master distillers at length, the presence of alcohol is a necessary element for the spirit itself to express its unique characteristics and aromas.

Any attempt to eliminate its presence, either by using specific glassware designed to do so, using ice, or additives included during the spirits’ rectification process, only serve to mask a potential flaw or to mute other pertinent characteristics inherent in the spirit.

For this reason, I look for and expect a certain amount of alcohol.

Criticism against Glencairn…

Chisolm Trail Crafts | Jarrito Tumbler Tasting Notes http://wp.me/p3u1xi-5bd

There have been some reviews by a few critics of the Glencairn that it presents the aromas and flavors of the liquid inside “almost too brightly.”

While I’ve never experienced this effect, to me, there is no such thing as presenting a liquid “too brightly.”

My belief is that over reliance on the Riedel Ouverture tequila glass has possibly trained “catadores” (tequila tasters) to become “nose blind” to certain aromas.  In the long run, the Riedel’s design doesn’t do agave spirits justice.

If a vessel is properly constructed, it should allow both the connoisseur and the layman an equal footing in making professional judging determinations at competitions, or simply personal buying decisions for one’s enjoyment.

In my opinion, the jarrito does as comparable a job in presenting agave spirits—perhaps even more so—than the Glencairn.

Marketability and acceptance of the jarrito tumblers…

My first reaction was to use the shorter necked jarrito to taste mezcals, and the longer necked one for tequilas.  My reason for this is that I use a Glencairn Canadian whisky glass almost exclusively for mezcals and felt the short necked jarrito was a natural progression.

The longer necked jarrito reminded me of the traditional Glencairn or Riedel Ouverture, which is why I chose it for tequilas.

Apart from the individual properties of each agave spirit that I tasted, what I found most gratifying about using the jarrito was that there was a consistency of nosing-to-flavor that is often lacking in other glassware.

After using both jarrito models interchangeably between tequilas and mezcals, the differences were slight.

The higher proof liquids seemed to be presented better in the shorter jarrito with the slightly thicker glass, while the 80 proof spirits compared equally favorably to the Glencairn whisky glass using the longer necked tumbler.

Mezcal has no official glassware like tequila does.  Most traditional or ancestral mezcals at higher alcohol grades are usually served in gourds or clay “copitas” without masking their true characteristics.  Instead, these vessels seem to enhance the complexity of the mezcals.

In other words, one could serve a well made mezcal from a tennis shoe without affecting the overall flavor profile!

For this reason, the marketability of two distinct glasses—one for tequila and one for mezcal, or other agave spirits—may not be a bad idea.

As with any new innovation in drinking vessels, training in its use is essential to its success and acceptance among the agave spirits communities.

Bonus!

Lastly, I discovered that while testing the jarrito tumblers, they required far less liquid to sample and make proper determinations.

In medal competitions, this factor could lead to much less palate fatigue for judges, and cost savings to brand owners.

Recommendation…

Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that with the jarrito, there were no surprises or incongruence in the nose vs. flavor factor.

The only surprise is that the jarrito made it so easy!

 

Signed:  Mike Morales, CEO

Tequila Aficionado Media

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Oaxacan “Vintage” Chango Mezcaleros Makes a Comeback

Contemporary ChangoBy Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.

For a half century if not longer, the state of Oaxaca has been known for its mezcal, in the US, and to a lesser extent further abroad.  The region’s pre-Hispanic ruins, colonial architecture, cuisine and craft villages have been noted in travelogues and guide books for some time; but recently the iconic Mexican spirit has taken center stage, and hence the arrival of mezcal tourism.  It has gripped Oaxaca, and along with it, a revival of the chango mezcalero.

Chango mezcalero is a clay receptacle in the shape of a monkey, generally a liter in size or smaller.  Traditionally, and arguably dating back to the mid-1800s, it was used as a bottle to market and sell mezcal. It was a natural, since the primate has been associated with drunkenness for eons. Vintage ChangoIn the second of three articles authored by the writer, its history was dated to the 1930s based on uncovering a chango mold dated July 12, 1938, owned by the late Juventino Nieto of the Oaxacan town of San Bartolo Coyotepec.  In a cardboard box alongside it was a somewhat larger undated chango mold of the same vintage. Don Juventino was the husband of the late Doña Rosa Real of black pottery fame.  However, an alternate theory of the inventor of the chango, from the same village, has been put forward by members of his family.

Many of the old chango mezcaleros found today have written on the back, Recuerdo de Oaxaca (souvenir of Oaxaca), some have a couple’s first names on one side or the other (celebrating their marriage), and most but not all are multi-color, painted with the gloss in various stages of decline.

New "Vintage" ChangoFor the past couple of decades, and likely longer, vintage chango mezcaleros have become highly collectible, mainly by Americans interested in one or more of Mexican folk art, non-human primate imagery, and mezcal and its associated appurtenances.  “Old” clay monkey bottles are available on ebay, and on other websites specializing in the purchase and sale of vintage Mexicana and what are otherwise known as “smalls” from Mexico and the southwest US. Prices can be as low and $50 and as high as $500 USD.

It’s very difficult to discern whether or not a chango mezcalero was indeed made in the 1930s or earlier as some are represented. Antique dealers and aficionados know best how to date collectibles.  Most in the general public, however, do not have a clue, and if it looks old to them, it is.

There are currently at least three pottery workshops in the town of Santiago Matatlán which have been producing chango mezcaleros for decades, and continuing to date.  Matatlán is known as the world capital of mezcal, boasting the globe’s highest number of artisanal (and at least somewhat industrialized if not more so) small family owned and operated distilleries, or palenques as the traditional ones are locally known.  Some of these contemporary changos are upright, others are sitting on a log, and all are formed with the monkey in different poses.  Until recently, if the changos were painted, and most of the time they were, they were glossy.  The older ones, both tucked away gathering dust in the back of a palenque, and in local purchasers’ homes having been used, often show nice wear.

1938 Chango MoldAs of early 2016, or thereabouts, vintage looking changos have begun to appear in the marketplace in Oaxaca.  They have been spotted in at least one antique shop and one mezcalería. The coloring and patina is matte, and exquisite.  There are at least two sizes.  Most likely they are coming from the same workshop, using the same or similar molds as the shiny bottles, as is easily borne out by anyone who places the old and the new vintage side by side.

It is not suggested that the retailers noted above are motivated by misleading or defrauding the buying public, despite the fact that some are for sale in an antique store.  On the contrary, of those found in the latter outlet, some but not all are marked with the date 2015.

Visitors to Oaxaca and elsewhere in Mexico, collectors surfing the net, and retail shoppers in the US and further abroad , should all be vigilant, and not be misled by the outward look of years of use.  Oaxaca’s chango mezcalero has now come of age as a much more popular collectible than previously.  alvin starkman, mezcalCongratulations are indeed in order to the workshop which has identified the market.

About the Author:

Alvin Starkman operates Mezcal Educational Excursions of Oaxaca (http://www.mezcaleducationaltours.com). Alvin has been collecting chango mezcaleros for the past decade.  He has been a permanent resident of Oaxaca since 2004.

 

 

 

 

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

NOM 199 Will Bring the Tequila & Mezcal Apocalypse

[This editorial (with my comments) is inspired by the following video on the dastardly NOM 199 currently in review in Mexico.  Please, take a few moments to view this easy-to-follow video, then, feel free to share it among your friends, family, colleagues and cohorts.

Afterwards, go here to sign the petition and unifying statement against NOM 199.]

¿Qué es la NOM199? / What is NOM199 from pedro jimenez gurria on Vimeo.

First, a Little History

In 2012, a Mexican legislation called NOM 186 was launched that would regulate any agave spirit.  It would have deprived many rights to small traditional and artisanal mezcal producers outside the Denomination of Origin of Tequila and Mezcal.

All other agave spirits would have been erroneously called “AGUA ARDIENTE de AGAVECEA.”

It would have also trademarked the word “AGAVE” to the Tequila Industry.

This would be like trying to trademark the word “grape.”

Imagine small winemakers not being able to say that their wine was made from grapes because they didn’t own the trademark, “grape?”

Dumb, huh?

Both these measures were driven by the Tequila Industry and the Mexican Ministry of Economy, among other institutions.

Through the efforts of those in the academic fields, hospitality (bars and restaurants), interested WORLD citizens with large social media followings, and those concerned about the fair regulation of what we eat and drink, this NOM was soundly defeated.

NOM 199: The Zombie of NOM 186!

Now, there’s a new initiative that’s designed to revive those previously rejected proposals.

It has been signed and endorsed by the Tequila Industry, the Regulatory Board of Mezcal, and other transnational corporations—and you know who they are!

This time, they aim to misinform you the consumer, about what you are drinking by renaming agave spirits outside of the Denomination of Origins of Tequila and Mezcal as “KOMIL.”

Ever hear of the term komil?

Me, neither.

Nobody has.

There are no cultural records or documents anywhere in Mexico that refer to an agave distillate by the term komil—

None.

It is based on a Nahuatl word (KOMILI) meaning, “intoxicant [inebriating] drink.”

If one of NOM 199’s very own passages is correct:

“The information printed on the labels of the bottles must be truthful and not induce confusion in the consumer as to the nature and characteristics of the product,” then…

They’re doing it all wrong.

If these distillates are forced to be labeled KOMIL and forbidden to use the word AGAVE, it will be more ambiguous and confusing to the consumer and he/she won’t be as informed as to what the drink is made from.

Komil could literally be eggnog like rompope, a tequila or mixto tequila, or any drink that intoxicates.

Currently, any mezcal outside of the Denomination of Origin cannot be termed Mezcal.  Instead it is referred to as “destilado de agave” (agave distillate) or “aguardiente de agave” (agave firewater).

That is already a huge commercial disadvantage.

If this legislation passes and becomes law, these spirits would be forced to label themselves as KOMILES [plural of KOMIL].

This would not only increase unfair competition and confuse the consumer, but would also deprive the basic human rights of those who preserve the tradition of making these distillates by calling them by their actual true name.

This proposed legislation is a cultural and labor dispossession, and an arbitrarily imposed term.

It is designed to wipe out or erase the cultural, historical and familial stories inherent in each beautiful and distinctive agave spirit.

 Consider it a form of genocide.

fb 199Imagine not ever being able to tell the story behind your grandmother’s favorite recipe for cookies or apple pie even though it’s been in your family for generations?

We agree that all alcoholic beverages need some sort of regulation because there are those unscrupulous producers whose beverages deceive and defraud consumers and threaten their health.

This is precisely why we demand consistent, detailed, inclusive, normas (laws) with not only an economic basis in mind, but with academic and bio-cultural, as well.

The spirit that each of these small producers make are derived by distilling AGAVE.

There’s no reason to lie and call it KOMIL.

Let’s call it what it is.

Stay informed and protect what’s yours—The National Heritage. #sellamamezcal  #NoKomil

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Arte del Mezcal Texas Tour with Wahaka Mezcal

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On the evening of January 15, 2016, during the busy San Antonio Cocktail Conference weekend, Tequila Aficionado’s Mike Morales was invited to sit in on mezcal historian and author Ulises Torrentera’s Arte del Mezcal class and discussion.

20160115_194946As a bonus, the event was sponsored by the luscious Wahaka Mezcal brand and moderated and translated by its co-founder, Raza Zaidi.

The course, endorsed by mezcal’s regulating body, the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal (CRM), through its official document CRM/PD-069/15, would cover four main topics–

Pre-Hispanic beverages, raw material (maguey/agave), distillation and mezcal’s invention, as well as its history, myths, legends, culture and beyond.

The event was held at the intimate El Mirador Mexican restaurant and featured a delicious menu to accompany the entire line of Wahaka mezcals and Sr. 20160115_225556Torrentera’s discourse.

Ulises, considered a preeminent mezcal historian and icon, is the author of “Mezcalaria, The Cult of Mezcal,” and the owner of In Situ Mezcaleria in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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Arte del Mezcal Highlights

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Introduction to Wahaka Mezcal

In the following snippet, co-founder, Raza Zaidi, introduces Wahaka’s core line of mezcals and the “one-off” creations by their maestro mezcalero, Alberto Morales.

Clay Pot Distillation

With a GoPro attached, another palenquero demonstrates the very rare method of mezcal fermentation and distillation in clay pots.

Raza later explained that such a technique was implemented because it was easily mobile and allowed movement to avoid authorities from confiscating copper stills.

The Legend of Mayahuel and the 400 Rabbits

Translated by Raza, Ulises explains what pulque is and the legend of Mayahuel and her 400 Rabbits.

Mezcal is More than the Sum of its Parts

According to Ulises, mezcal is produced using approximately 28 distinct varieties of maguey (agave), but there are many more variables that affect the final outcome.

As Raza Zaidi of Wahaka explains, mezcal is more than the sum of its parts.

Why Mezcal?

Co-founder, Raza, explains what compelled him and his partners to bring Wahaka mezcal to the world.

In whatever city you happen to be in, if you can catch Ulises Torrentera, Raza Zaidi, and the rest of the crew of Wahaka Mezcal, do so.

Your education on mezcal and mezcal production depends on it!

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

How to Get Paid to Drink Tequila:

How you can turn your passion into profits and get paid to drink tequila as a blogger, vlogger, podcaster or author

 

Salud!!