Last Updated on August 23, 2021
The Lost Explorer Mezcal Review
The first time I tried Mezcal was by my hotel pool in Guadalajara, Mexico. Author Irving Welsh of ‘Trainspotting’ fame sauntered over with a bottle of the smoky agave-based spirit looking for a late-night drinking companion. I was happy to oblige. The evening ended in something of a blur but left me with a taste for this delicious spirit.
It’s important to clear up two of the most common misconceptions about Mezcal. Firstly, Tequila is a specific type of Mezcal (made with the blue agave plant) and not the other way around. Secondly, Mezcal is not related to the hallucinogenic drug mescaline which is derived from the cactus plant. The agave plant is a succulent just like the cactus but they are different species; full marks to the South Americans though for finding so many fun ways to get high from such unlikely looking vegetation!
The first thing I noticed about The Lost Explorer Mezcal was the quality of the design. The bottles are made from recycled crystal and have a wonderful sheen. The stoppers are natural wood sealed with beeswax with the beautiful hand-illustrated labels adding the final touch. All in all, it’s a very attractive and eco-friendly offer. We are reviewing three very special small-batch artisan mezcals from The Lost Explorer. Made from 100% agave in the Mexican town of San Pablo Huixtepec in the sunny Valles Centrales in Oaxaca (Wahaca), these double-distilled mezcals are three very different expressions of the agave plant which is, of course, sacred to the locals. Just as with tequila, you can use mezcal to add bite and smokiness to a cocktail, but the traditional way to drink it is from a clay cup called a Jicarita. If you have something similar pour 2floz (60ml) of the spirit, give it a swirl and sniff to unlock the aromas and then take a sip and enjoy the flavours that cascade over your tastebuds. I don’t have a Jicarita so an old-fashioned glass will have to do.
The first of our 3 mezcals is The Lost Explorer Espad’n (RRP: £62.50 for 70cl). Aged for 8 years, Espadin is made from Agave Angustifolia, the most commonly used agave varietal in mezcal production. As with all mezcals, it has an inherent smokiness married with Black Forest Gateau and dessert pears on the nose. The taste has the sweetness of red apples and whilst recommended food pairings include apple and chicatana ant salt, I would pair it with ceviche. Next up was The Lost Explorer Tobal (RRP: £109.99 for 70cl). Aged for 10 years it is distilled from Tobal (Agave Potatorum), a small and very rare wild agave found in arid, shaded, high-altitude canyons. With tobacco and cocoa on the nose, the taste brings together fermenting apples and creamy vanilla with a citrus finish. Try it with salted caramel chocolates. Our final mezcal is The Lost Explorer Salmiana (RRP: £140 for 70cl). This is the expression of the Maguey Verde agave and is aged for 12 years. It has grapefruit peel and green chilli, a sweet taste with dried herbs and yuzu and an earthy and mineral finish. You could try it with semi-pickled celery and worm salt or smoked salmon. As well as sipping mezcal neat it adds a wonderfully textural flavour to cocktails.
Our recipe for a mezcal Margarita is a good example of how it can be used effectively
- 45 ml The Lost Explorer Espad’n
- 30 ml Simple syrup
- 30 ml Lime juice
- 8-10 mint leaves
- club soda
Muddle all ingredients except club soda.
Pour into a highball glass filled with ice, or a martini glass without ice for a short drink
Top up with club soda
Garnish with a sprig of fresh peppermint
I’m a big fan of mezcal. If you want a bit of smokiness in your life (maybe you love peaty Scotches) it is really worth investigating these complex and wonderful drinks. The Lost Explorer Mezcal allows its full range of Mezcal bottles to be personalised down one side using up to 18 characters. This is a great gift for the agave-spirit drinking person in your life. This personalisation is available from The Lost Explorer Website for an extra £7.
The Lost Explorer Mezcals are available from The Lost Explorer website, or from Amazon, Masters of Malt or The Whisky Exchange.