Casamigos Mezcal is the youngest brainchild of George Clooney and Rande Gerber. When Clooney & Gerber first launched Casamigos, it all looked like a big marketing stunt. At that time, it was not yet common for a celebrity to venture into the world of alcohol. And actually, the two friends didn't release it to make big money but to be able to produce Tequila to their liking. But fate had other plans.
And then, against all odds, Casamigos Tequila became a huge success. So big, in fact, that Clooney and Gerber sold the company to Diageo in 2017. Potentially, that deal could be worth more than $1 billion. But this success was not enough for the two, and in 2018 another spirit was released - a Mezcal. Casamigos Mezcal is the fourth spirit under the Casamigos umbrella and was planned long before the release.
And since their Tequila is of amazingly good quality, I took the chance to try and review Casamigos Mezcal Joven and compare Casamigos Tequila to Mezcal. And I also collected some Casamigos Mezcal drink recipes.
What is Casamigos Mezcal?
Casamigos Mezcal is a Joven Mezcal made of 100% Espadin Agave and is a brand founded by George Clooney and Rande Gerber in 2013. Before they launched their Mezcal, Casamigos already had three different types of Tequila - A Blanco, Reposado, and an Añejo expression.
History of Casamigos Mezcal
The history of Casamigos Mezcal is tightly knit to their Tequila. That's why I start at the beginning. When Clooney and his friend Gerber came up with Casamigos, they intended to produce Tequila to their taste. They didn't plan to make money with it but merely enjoyed the idea of making a spirit to their personal preference. They named their brand Casamigos, a combination of the words "house" and "friends" - house of friends.
And as ever so often, when you just want to produce something good and don't run after the money, the result is something special. Soon, Casamigos Tequila turned out to be an enormous success. The Tequila is of high quality and can absolutely compete with other premium Tequilas. Of course, the fact that Clooney was one of the masterminds behind the project helped to gain traction quickly.
At one point, when the two friends were in the process of proudly promoting their work, they had the chance to try a Mezcal they fell in love with it. They knew they didn't have to capacity to launch another spirit at that time but picked up the idea again a few years later. They contacted the distillery and began trying to produce the -tastewise- exact Mezcal they had been tasting years ago.
In 2018, just one year after selling the company to Diageo, they finally released their Casamigos Mezcal Joven.
Casamigos Mezcal review
Mezcal Joven means that this type of Mezcal didn't age in barrels. Typically young and un-aged spirits tend to be a bit rough and harsh. Barrel aging makes spirits smoother and softer in taste. But I want to say this upfront: this Mezcal is smooth. Unfortunately, it lacks a few other things I will explain in detail in my Casamigos Joven Mezcal review.
The nose is relatively thin. You get some delicate notes of agave. However, they mainly disappear behind minty herbal notes, smoke, and a taste of clay. If you let it sit for a while and let it breathe by swirling it in the glass, the spirit develops some slightly fruity notes. And you can detect an ever-so-slight hint of tropical fruits like papaya. But, as I said, that's only when you let it breathe for a while.
On the palate, you will find a similar situation. Like the smell, the taste is pretty thin. It's smoky, almost ashy, and acidic, with more smoky notes in the finish. Unfortunately, no complexity and depth of flavor are to be found. Also, no fruity notes and only a few sweet agave notes.
As good as some of their Tequila expressions are, the Casamigos Mezcal is not very pleasant to drink neat. If you feel like tasting it, go ahead. Yet, I would recommend ordering it as a shot instead of buying a bottle. Alternatively, grab some friends and taste it together to get more opinions at once. At $60 a bottle, you'll easily find better products - Montelobos Espadin, for example, is something you won't regret buying.
Casamigos Mezcal vs. Tequila
Casamigos Tequila is a quite popular choice. I mean, why else would Diageo pay up to $1 billion for a Tequila brand. And even though some reviews describe the Tequila as an overpriced celebrity release, there are countless other, more positive voices. Some even compare the Casamigos Blanco Tequila with Patrón. A comparison that, for me, Patrón wins clearly. Nevertheless, it shows at what level Casamigos creations are traded.
Casamigos Mezcal is not on the same level. Maybe, if they put some more work into the recipe and production, I could change my mind. But right now, Casamigos Mezcal is nowhere near the quality of their Tequila.
If you want to compare Casamigos Tequila and Mezcal side by side, order a bottle of Tequila Blanco along with their Mezcal. Both are unaged and are therefore more similar in taste. Yet, in general, my favorite expression of their product line is the Casamigos Añejo Tequila. An amazingly smooth, aged Tequila with a rich and complex flavor profile.
Casamigos Mezcal cocktails
Mezcal is traditionally enjoyed neat. And while this Mezcal is not the ideal choice for sipping neat, you can still use it in cocktails. Here's a list of Mezcal drink recipes you can use with your Casamigos Mezcal.
My preferred option is probably Mezcal Sour. And by combining it with fresh lime juice and Amaro for some complexity, it works way better than when served neat. Incorporated in a Casamigos Mezcal Margarita, it's also a good choice. The tangy bite of fresh lime covers most of the slightly unpleasant notes. What's left is smoky notes with agave, just what you want in a Mezcal Margarita.
What I would not recommend is using it in a Mezcal Old Fashioned. Here, my rule of thumb regarding Old Fashioned cocktails stays unchanged: only use a spirit you like neat when mixing an Old Fashioned. Casamigos Mezcal in an Old Fashioned will only emphasize the unpleasant smoky notes while still lacking a deep flavor profile. Better to spare yourself this experience.
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