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Weekend Sip: This mezcal is a Mexican-French hybrid

The bottle

Sombra Mezcal Reposé, $49.99

The back story

In recent years, mezcal, the Mexican-made spirit with an often smoky taste, has gone from something of a curiosity in the U.S. to a trendy sip. Sales are expected to nearly double over the coming years, going from $326 million in 2019 to a predicted $521 million in 2027.

All that has led consumers to seek out different versions of mezcal, which, like tequila, is derived from the agave plant. (For the record, tequila is a type of mezcal itself, though it is usually categorized separately.) A noteworthy newcomer in this regard is Sombra Reposé, a mezcal that is aged for six months in wine barrels sourced from France’s famed Bordeaux region.

The idea, explains Persia Tatar, a senior brand manager with Sombra, is to “enrich the mezcal without overpowering its delicate botanical balance.” The aging process also gives the mezcal a color reminiscent of a French rosé wine — hence, the name “Reposé,” which is French for “rested” (similar to the Spanish “resposado”) and sounds a bit like, well, “rosé.”

Sombra, a distillery that has been around since 2006, also offers a more traditional, unaged (or “joven”) mezcal. The company prides itself on its sustainable approach, pointing to everything from the natural methods it uses to grow the agave to the solar panels on its distillery roof.

What we think about it

This is one of the more delicate mezcals we’ve tasted of late, with the smoke well-balanced by a degree of fruitiness (Sombra says you should pick up hints of orange and blackberries on the nose). It doesn’t taste like rosé wine, but we can definitely say the French barrels have an influence over the final product.

How to enjoy it

This mezcal should be sipped neat to appreciate its unique taste. But the Sombra team says it works well in some cocktails and suggests trying it in a margarita.

See also: This smoky Scotch honors a mythic dragon

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