This new ultra-premium reposado mezcal was aged in bourbon barrels

contraluz 11:11 mezcal

Contraluz is also ageing the mezcal in Japanese sakura casks

In 2022, Mexican spirits company Casa Lumbre debuted a new cristalino mezcal called Contraluz. This was said to be the first cristalino in the mezcal category, a popular tequila style in which an aged spirit is filtered to remove the colour before bottling. The latest from Contraluz is called 11:11 Mezcal Reposado, but this expression is not a cristalino—it was aged for 11 months and 11 days in an unusual combination of casks that makes it stand out from the pack.

Last year, Contraluz released the first version of this 11:11 expression in partnership with Columbian rapper and singer Maluma, who is also an investor in the brand. That release sold out quickly, so Casa Lumbre—the company behind brands like Montelobos Mezcal, Nocheluna Sotol, and Abasolo Mexican Whisky—decided to bring it back for another round. This is a reposado mezcal, meaning it was aged between two months and a year, that spent just shy of that at 11 months and 11 days in a combination of American oak ex-bourbon barrels and sakura casks. The latter is a type of cherrywood from Japan that is used to age other spirits like whisky, but this was another first for the mezcal category. “Taking inspiration from all around the world, we hope to continue to reach new spirits drinkers and introduce them to our beloved mezcal community,” said Moises Guidini, CEO and co-founder of Casa Lumbre Spirits, in a statement. “Because of its maturation process in both bourbon and sakura casks, we find that whisky lovers are finding even more reason to explore this brilliant but complex category.”

We have not had a chance to sample this mezcal yet, but according to the brand it was made from 100 per cent Espadin agave, a varietal that is often used in this category. It is said to be light on the smoke that is traditionally associated with mezcal, with the cherrywood providing floral notes in addition to flavours like cooked agave, citrus, vanilla, cherry blossoms, hints of wood, and fruity notes on the finish.

Obviously, this is a very different expression from the core Contraluz mezcal, which is aged for six months in charred American oak barrels before being filtered through activated charcoal to remove colour, and hopefully still retaining the flavour picked up during that maturation process. Cristalino (still an unofficial category) continues to grow in popularity, particularly when it comes to tequila, but there are now a few mezcal versions as well. If you’re not a fan of cristalino, we see you, but this new expression might be worth a try, and it’s available now to purchase from ReserveBar.

This story first appeared on Robb Report USA