Bozal Mezcal - Brand Review
by Greg Rutkowski
Bozal Mezcal comes from the wild agave species growing in Oaxaca and Guerrero in uncultivated lands of Mexico. The area has numerous varieties of indigenous agave growing wildly on the steep hillsides. Their mezcaleros or distilleries are family operated, and they incorporate untamed traditions for drilling the small and craft batches.
The San Francisco agency, Swig, designed custom bottles, an idea which they pulled from the traditional way of drinking mezcal.
Bozal Mezcal is 100% artisanal, and the varietals in this region produce Mezcal whose flavors are intense exotically, with savory smokiness and rich earth tones. As a result, it brings the sense of the handmade and traditional nature of the Mezcal, which appeals to those looking for premium and classic Mezcal.
Production Process of Bozal Mezcal
The production of flavors involves the traditional extraction of agave from the Maguey's heart.
After harvesting, follows the cooking of the agave hearts in pit ovens that are conical and grounded. Thereafter, a horse-turned stone wheel mashes the agave hearts, a process that dates 200 years back. Instead of using artificial yeast, this Mezcal utilizes open-air fermentation whereby the yeasts used to ferment the sugars are naturally occurring.
The result of the artisanal approach is a wildly refined and lucid style.
Types of Bozal Mezcal
1. Bozal Sacatoro
Sacatoro is produced in Guererro from agave Sacatoro in the hillsides of Oaxaca, and it is said to be agave Angustifolia's subspecies. Its maturity takes around 8 to12 years taking between eight to twelve years after being harvested.
2. Bozal Tobala
Tobala is produced in San Juan Bautista Jayacatlán and is a product of maguey Tobala which takes around 12-15 years to mature. Tobala agave is very small and can only grow from seed. It, therefore, means that making a single mezcal batch requires a lot of plants, and some producers find it very difficult to repopulate the used plants.
3. Espadin Barril Mexicano Ensamble
Ensamble is a product of maguey Espadin, Mexicano and Barril. Maguey Mexicano and Barril in the mezcal come from the wild, while Espadin is planted. This Ensemble has an herbaceous undertone resting on the palate's center, and it is slightly smoky. The vicious and warm finish of Mexicano introduces and strengthens the citrus and floral notes from Barril.
The three different distilleries that produce Bozal Espadin Barril Mexicano Ensamble are Fermin Garcia, Don Adrian Bautista and Lucio Bautista from Ejutla de Crespo or San Dionisio Ocotepec.
4. Bozal Barril
Barril is a product of maguey Barril, also called agave Karwinskii from Santa Catarina Minas. The agave is tall and wide and often acts as a live fence for agricultural and livestock enclosure. The area is very famous following its distillation method of using small clay pots. This agave intensifies the Mezcal's complexity by giving it a lingering finish.
- Green peppers that complement the nose Palate
- Citrus and creamy banana Notes
- Citrus and floral notes
5. Bozal Ancestral
The wild Cupreata agave, also called Maguey Papalote, grows on the slopes of the mountain of Rio Balsas basin. Harvesting this wild agave is very difficult following the altitude of the mountain's slopes.
- Sweet and floral Aroma
- Subtle minerality and wet earth that is reminiscent of an approaching storm
6. Bozal Mezcal Borrego
Borrego is a product of wild maguey Castilla and is closely related to maguey Espadin. Its second distillation involves the suspension of one leg of lamb, seasonal grains, and wild fruits in the still at the bottom inside a basket.
The wild fruits are strawberries, pineapple, and apples, while the additional ingredients include ginger and pecans.
- Fruity, herbaceous, and citrus
- Finish-smooth with smoked lamb flavors
- Hints-heavily viscous
7. Bozal Tobasiche
Tobasiche is a product of wild Maguey Tobasiche that also falls under the family agave of Karwinskii. It generally takes about 12-13 years to mature fully.
- Cedar-like and herbaceous
- Aroma-high minerality and sweet notes of anise and botanicals
8. Bozal Cruise
Cuixe is a product of wild maguey Cuixe found in San Luis Amatlan. This agave has an unusual structure, and it contains firmer piña. As a result, harvesting and working with the Cruise may be challenging work in general.
- Aromas-intense citrus and strong minerality
- Notes-rich tropical fruit
9. Bozal Castilla
Castilla is a product of maguey Castilla, also called agave Angustifolia.
- Aroma-fruit and wet earth
- Palate-slightly sweet
- Flavors-roasted agave, fresh mint, and mocha
- Finish-smooth and a bit smoky
10. Bozal Chino Verde
Chino Verde is a product of maguey Chino Verde which is wild and rare. The agave is found in the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains and is a Karwinskii agave family subspecies. It grows vertically with only one stalk, and its leaves spread at the top. Other communities call it agave Verde.
11. Bozal Pechuga
Pechuga is a product of agave Cupreata from Mazatlan in Guerrero. Once the second distillation is complete, a cooked chicken marinates with fruits, clove, raisins, citrus fruits, cinnamon, and chiles, which are locally sourced. After marination, the product mixes into the third and fourth distillation.
Click here to learn more about the unique pechuga mezcal.
12. Bozal Tepeztate
Tepeztate is a product of agave Tepeztate, also called Marmorata and is produced in Oaxaca in Santa Ana del Rio. The agave's leaf has a distinct and erratic structure, and it flourishes well on the sides of the steep and rocky cliff.
- Hints- a touch of wet stone on the nose accompanied by pine, orange flower, and grapefruit zest
13. Bozal Ibérico
Ibérico is a product of Maguey Espadin, Tobasiche and Mexicano found in Rio de Ejutla, Oaxaca. Small batches of its recipe are for festival and ceremonial purposes.
The second distillation takes place after the hanging of seasoned pork or ham and aromatic spices, herbs, and seasonal fruits into the first distillate.
14. Bozal Cenizo
Cenizo is a product of Maguey Cenizo, also known as agave Durangensis. This agave also undergoes double distillation after fermentation in the open-air tanks.
15. Bozal Jabali
Jabali is a product of Maguey Jabali and is produced in Oaxaca in the small community of Sola de Vega.
Unlike other agaves, it is hand-crushed after cooking in underground pit ovens. After fermentation, the juices and fibers distill inside small clay pots.
16. Bozal Madrecuishe
Madrecuishe is a product of Maguey Madrecuishe, also called Agave Karwinskii. After fermentation, the juices and fibers distill inside copper pots.
- Aromas-ripe jalepeño, cocoa, and floral notes
- Flavors-Earthy flavors of beet and sweet potato
- Hint-mineral and hints of pollen.
What's Your Rating Out of 5 Stars?
This easy sipping and light Mezcal will surprise and delight you with the complex and lingering finish. The earthiness and excellent balance of smokiness make it a superb Mezcal for enthusiasts and newbies. The balanced flavor lends itself also to classic tequila cocktails.
If you have ever tried Bozal, comment below with a review and let us know your rating of the brand out of 5 stars.
If you are a new comer to the wonder world of all-things-mezcal, we recommend that you check out our article on mezcal for beginners. You'll definitely know your type and the age of mezcal that can please your taste buds.