This post answers all your Ensamble Mezcal related questions!
What is Ensamble Mezcal?
Ensamble Mezcal is comprised of two or more agaves roasted in the same batch.
Historically, most mezcals were blends, made with whatever agave plants farmers could find in the surrounding area.
It wasn’t until 1995 when Ron Cooper started labeling his Del Maguey releases that the single-variety trend took off.
Related article: Del Maguey Mezcal – FAQ & Reviews
What agaves are used in an Ensamble Mezcal?
There are no rules.
Each master distiller can use any agaves of his liking and mix them in undetermined percentages.
An ensamble in its simplest form is composed by two different agaves such an espadin and a tobala or an espadin and arroqueño.
Although I have seen complex releases of up to six different agave plants.
How does Ensamble Mezcal taste?
Since each agave offers a different flavor profile and distillers mix them in undetermined amounts, it is impossible to tell how an ensemble is going to taste like.
No two ensambles are alike in this world.
|Type of Mezcal||Flavor profile|
|Espadin||Mineral & Neutral|
Possibilities are endless!
Ensamble mezcal recommendations
I have selected this for you:
Bozal Ensamble Espadin + Barril
Bozal is one of my favorite brands as their releases rank among the best in their respective categories.
It has grown quickly since its launch and that its limited-production expressions have garnered high interest among knowledgeable consumers.
Bozal has put a big emphasis on agave replanting and sustainability.
For every agave it harvests, it puts two more in a nursery.
Ensamble consists of Barril, Espadin and Mexicano agaves.
Bozal Ensamble offers sweet herbal notes with the right amount of smoke making it a pleasing dram.
Vago Ensamble en Barro
The palenque (mezcal distillery) and agave fields of Salomón Rey Rodriguez (Tio Rey) are located in the region Sola de Vega.
The region distills almost exclusively using clay pots adding an earthy flavor to the spirit making it delicious.
Tio Rey doesn’t use any mechanical tools or machinery to craft mezcal; this method is known as Ancestral.
Each release of Vago Ensamble en Barro is different as Tio Rey mixes at will.
Related article: Mezcal Vago – Reviews & FAQ
Banhez is a cooperative of 36 farming families from various villages in the Ejutla district of Oaxaca.
They craft mezcal in the same way they’ve known for 200 years, with intensive hard work.
Comprised of 90% Espadín and 10% Barril agaves, this mezcal is incredibly smooth, with rich floral notes along banana and pineapple flavors.
Banhez Ensamble is a great match for first-time mezcal drinkers and makes a good mixer.
Related article: Banhez Mezcal
Sombra means “shadow” in Spanish, this is the most eco-friendly mezcal producer in Oaxaca.
They crush agaves with a solar-powered millstone rather than using mules or donkeys.
Additionally, they manage the Sombra Adobe Brick project, which upcycles distillation waste into adobe bricks to build homes for the needy.
This fantastic Ensamble uses Tobala and Tepextate, two of my favorite agaves.
Sombra strikes the perfect balance between the spicy notes of Tepextate and the floral notes of Tobala.
Despite the high ABV this is an easy sipper.
Madre Mezcal Ensamble
Madre is produced by Jose Garcia using a traditional Zapotec recipe.
Handmade in the hills of San Dionisio, Oaxaca, the family has been harvesting agave on their fields in Oaxaca for centuries, creating high quality, true small-batch artisanal mezcal.
Ensamble mixes Espadin and Cuishe agaves using a family heirloom copper pot still.
Agaves are roasted in an underground pit and later fermented using well-water and natural yeasts.
Madre has an aroma of sweet smoke marked by earthy herbal notes of sage, and minerals on the palate, followed by a lingering floral finish.
Related article: Is Madre Mezcal Good?
How to drink it?
Drink it neat. Drinking straight ensures you will fully appreciate the rich notes these drams offer.
If you are not ready to drink neat try adding large ice cubes avoiding dilution.
If you are more into cocktails then Banhez makes the better choice for a margarita among the bottles here presented.
Prices vary widely among ensambles.
Quality ensambles start at $50 USD and don’t be surprised to see others offered at $200 such as Sombra.
Someone has to pay for Sombra’s solar powered mill!
Hi there, welcome to my blog! I am J Highland.
I am a bar and liquor shop owner in Oaxaca, Mexico. On this site I share my opinions on Mexican liquors and tips on how to enjoy them.