Ilegal is named so, in honour of its founder, John Rexer’s early excursions to Mexico to buy mezcal from farmers and then smuggle it back up over the border to drink with his friends in the States. As hauling mezcal over the border became tiresome, combined with the realisation that there may be a market for the spirit outside of Mexico, John Rexer decided to go legit and launched Ilegal.
Appearance: Golden honey.
Nose: Clove and orange zest.
Taste: Maple syrup and milk chocolate.
Finish: Rich vanillas and just a hint of smoke.
Overall: Very light on the smoke with plenty of agave sweetness.
Ilegal are one of the few mezcal brands that offer barrel-aged expressions, which are excellent for easing newcomers into the category.
If the person you’re buying for is a fan of the Ilegal Añjeo, you could also try Ocho Añejo or Dangerous Don.
The literal translation of Mezcal is ‘oven-cooked agave’, the only real difference between Mezcal and Tequila is that Mezcal is not regulated to the 5 states, like Tequila is. It is predominantly made in the southern state of Oaxaca and unlike Tequila it can be made from ANY type of agave plant native to Mexico, but NOT blue. It is categorized from Blanco, through to Extra Anejo in the same way Tequila is and has grown massively in popularity recently. The production and ageing, all the way through to the bottling is generally the same as tequila.
ABOUT THE LIQUID
Ilegal mezcal is an artisanal mezcal produced in small batches, and each bottle is hand-corked, labelled, and numbered. The Añjeo is aged for 13 months in medium charred, ex-Bourbon barrels. The fourth-generation mezcaleros who craft Ilegal use only perfectly ripe Espadin agave, double distilled in Oaxaca, Mexico.