8.3

Bosscal Mezcal Joven Review

Drink Reviews mezcal
Share Tweet Submit Pin
Bosscal Mezcal Joven Review

Drinkers who are new to any given category of spirit have a tendency to oversimplify the archetypes of flavor represented by that style, mentally pigeonholing what they believe spirits like gin, rum, or tequila might taste like. This is perhaps especially true of mezcal, tequila’s roastier sibling, which is all too often defined in the eyes of the consumer solely by its tendency to possess smokier flavors. Like tequila, mezcal is produced from agave, though the varieties of agave involved are far wider and more diverse, which lends an eclectic range of varietal character. It’s the roasting of that agave in earth ovens, though, that imparts the characteristic smokiness with which drinkers associate mezcal, and that aspect of its flavor can sometimes overwhelm all other consideration of the spirit.

Suffice to say, though, not all mezcal is particularly defined by the smoky elements—in some mezcals, in fact, the smoke is very subtle and mild indeed. New on the market is a mezcal that fits that description, Wolf Spirit’s Bosscal Mezcal Joven. Wolf Spirit is a non-distiller producer that has been putting together a stable of brands both domestic and imported, including Blood x Sweat x Tears Vodka, Tom of Finland Organic Vodka, and Puncher’s Chance Bourbon, which we recently tasted. To that lineup you can now add several varieties of Bosscal Mezcal, a product of Durango, Mexico, well known for being a center of mezcal production.

This Joven is a pretty traditional product, cooked with volcanic rock in earth ovens, and grown by hand with axes before fermentation in oak wood vats. It’s then double-distilled in stainless steel pots, and packaged in an eccentric, irregularly shaped bottle that is meant to evoke the volcanic rock of Durango. It’s a bit of an ostentatious look, but not nearly so gaudy as the “brass knuckle” bottles from Patsch Tequila, by way of comparison. This mezcal is bottled at a very light 42% aBV (84 proof), with an MSRP of around $45.

So with all that said, let’s get to tasting.

On the nose, what stands out here most strongly are sweeter, fruitier notes, with impressions of grapefruit juice and tropical fruit, complemented by roastier notes, sweet agave, and only a light, delicate smokiness. I’m getting some mint, and slightly smoked, roasted agave, but none of the more intense wood smoke and rubber notes that are often associated with punchier mezcals. This one is clearly taking a less bombastic approach on that front.

On the palate, I’m actually surprised the find that the flavors are fairly assertive for the proof, although again it’s not in the dimension of smokiness specifically. There’s a lot of citrus here again, copious orange and grapefruit, and it reads as quite salty and maritime as well—reminiscent of a salt-rubbed, herb crusted broiled grapefruit. It’s creamy in texture, with subtle vanilla and florals, and a very gentle smoke. All in all, this might be the most delicately smoky mezcal I’ve had to date—you could probably give this to someone who doesn’t know much about agave spirits, tell them it’s tequila, and they’d accept that designation.

Now, to some mezcal drinkers that will be an indication that this spirit simply isn’t for them—like lovers of Islay single malt whiskies, the intense smoke/tarry/rubber tones are an indispensable part of the flavor profile to them, not to be tampered with. But at the same time, this is a very gentle and inviting joven mezcal, perhaps one that could be used to ease someone into the category, or one that would appeal to drinkers whose palates are sensitive to smoke. It drinks very easily neat, but it likely won’t give that assertive, smoky punch to cocktails that you would want from mezcal in some scenarios. All on its own, however, I’m quite enjoying what this bottle is bringing to the table.

Distillery: Bosscal Mezcal
Region: Durango, Mexico
Style: Mezcal
ABV: 42% (84 proof)
Availability: 750 ml bottles, $45 MSRP


Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident beer and liquor geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more drink writing.