The entry level bottling of Del Maguey’s fantastic single village mezcals. Of their entire range, Vida is the expression most often seen in bars across the world, and is famed for its versatility. This mezcal is distilled twice in traditional wood fired stills, in a slow process designed to create the purity and complexity demanded by the world’s top bartenders. This is a mezcal created with cocktails in mind, but is an interesting and complex spirit to drink by itself, so much so that it won the Chairman’s Trophy award in the 2012 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
Produced in the same location as Del Maguey’s slightly more premium San Luis Del Rio bottling, Vida has very similar specifications, with slight nuances in the distilling process, proof and batches the only apparent differences. The agave is harvested at between 6–8 years to make this mezcal, and it grows at an altitude of about 3000 feet. It is then roasted for between 3–8 days using Mezquite, Quebra, and Huamuchil woods, giving the spirit its distinctive smoked agave flavour. The roasted maguey hearts are then milled by horse and wheel and fermented in large wooden tubs called “Tinas” for between 6 and 8 days. To create the agave beer that will then make the spirit, pure spring water is added. This liquid is then moved to a copper still of just 350 litres capacity, very small by industry standards. Each Tina of fermented agave produces about 70–90 litres of mezcal, meaning this is an incredibly small batch operation. Vida is bottled at 42%.
Drinkers should expect a fruity, spritely, smoked spirit with a deeply aromatic, woody finish that makes a fantastic alternative Margarita.