By: Jackson Lee
K&L Staff Member
Driving out of Oaxaca City on the International Highway, rows of agave plants butt up against towing mountains that line the narrow two-way highway. El Rey Zapoteca’s palenque imposes on the foreground and is unmistakable, clean, and inviting; easy for the curious and inquiring to pull over to the side of the road and enjoy learning about Mexico’s biggest craft spirit. While the group I was with declined the opportunity to explore the palenque, I was finally able to try a mezcal from one of the bigger mezcal producers (still producing under the “Traditional” designation under NOM-70) here at K&L.
<br><br>Carefully approaching the rim of the glass with my nose, I get pepperoncini, spearmint, vanilla, overripe peach and raspberries, a little hot (thus the guarded approach), and low smoke. On the palate a mellow, soft texture greets your tongue, gently depositing flavors of sweet caramelized agave and smoked ham deli slices. Towards the end I get an awakening heat, which lays way to a tingling sensation on the tip of the tongue. A nice mineral brininess backs up the finish, leaving you with a dry texture and a flavor reminiscent of sweet rainwater.