Exotics - Mezcal

Ilegal Mezcal Joven

From: Oaxaca, Mexico Liquor Review Category: Mezcal

Bottle/Rating Data

Rating Description

Tier 1
This is a Tier 1 score in the Exotics category. It means the spirit has won the highest recommendation at least once and probably many times.
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San Francisco World Spirits Competition

  • 2014

Beverage Testing Institute

  • This bottle has not been rated by this competition.

Wine Enthusiast

  • 2010

Proof66 Notes

Ilegal Mezcals--note the unusual spelling to English eyes and the pronunciation of "ee-LAY-gal"--is a line of mezcals that have a history of being smuggled into owner John Rexer's bar in Guatemala, hence the somewhat mocking title of the spirit. Interestingly, it is technically illegal in the United States to have the product named "illegal" or (apparently) "ilegal," so the careful consumer will note that it is "produced for Ilegal Mezcal" and there is no actual name for the product. The mezcals are based upon Espadin Agave and crafted in small batches with traditional pot stills.

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Rabble Reviews

This bottle has 3 ratings and 3 reviews.
skorpitarius skorpitarius (19)
Rating: 5.0 (2016-09-14)
this is one of the first mezcals, i've tasted . it has un-mistakable smoke in the nose and a funky vegetal character in the mouth . was excellent to sip neat as well as for mixing with fruit juices . only real complaint is the price and that cork that is sealed with green wax can come loose in transit and you lose some of the liquor to evaporation or leakage as I experienced on the second bottle that I bought. the store I got it from , gave me a new bottle but, they might want to re-consider that cork as a topper.
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Rating: 4.0 (2015-07-26)
I find this Mezcal extremely smooth and approachable, with a subtle smoke flavor. I don't know where the reviewer "Quetzal" gets their information about Mezcals from, but they are incorrect concerning the standard alcohol content... A Mezcal is required to be bottled between 37.5% and 55%. Quetzal may personally prefer the higher proof Mezcals, but is incorrect that the Ilegal brand is unusual in it's alcohol proof.
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Review Comments
quetzal (2015-12-06):
Most of the ones that get exported are around 40

quetzal (2015-12-06):
Most of the ones that get exported are around 40% alcohol, but most of the ones that are produced are well over 40%. I lived in Oaxaca for three years, and most of the mezcals are between about 45 and 50 percent.

Proof66 Staff (2015-12-07):
Hi guys... just thought we'd chime in for the record: the three Ilegal products we have listed here at Proof66 reflect the bottling proof submitted to the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition (that was 80 proof across the board). We, too, have seen several mezcals bottled at higher proof (and, btw, lower at 75). Generally speaking, when we become aware of different bottling proofs we'll often create a separate listing. We can do that at request if you or anyone else wants to offer a review based upon the different strength of the mezcal. Just let us know!

Quetzal Quetzal (118)
Rating: 3.0 (2014-05-14)
(3 out of 5). It's all right, but disappointing compared to other similarly priced mezcals. Has a nose of agave, smoke (though surprisingly mild smoke), salt, and brine, which continues with the taste. Surprisingly not very flavorful, especially for a spirit that should be outrageously complex and intense. It's also odd for a mezcal to be bottled at 40% (a traditional mezcal is bottled at at least 45%). In many areas, Ilegal is the only mezcal that can be found, and it's better than nothing. However, if you can find a Del Maguey product, get that instead. This costs about $50 when I can find it.
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