This is a review of Ilegal Mezcal. The product is 100% agave, made in Oaxaca at Destileria Tlacolula. The drink is more widely distributed in New York but should be coming to California this spring.
They make a joven/blanco, a reposado, and an anejo. They sent me the reposado to taste. The nose on this stuff is all sweet olive-lemon brine with the smoky tire fire back typical to mezcal. It smells of the anticipation of biting into a juicy barbecue coal-smoked olive. In the mouth it's not as sweet or as salty as expected, though it is juicy, with a ton of wood char notes coming though. That char remains and on further sips I experience low char mouthfeel and high sweet notes with little middle ground.
Overall, I like it and look forward to having it mixed into cocktails. Some of the mixing mezcals are too mild, while the great ones are so good I feel guilty covering them up. I don't know the price point on Ilegal Mezcal, but I hope it's somewhere between the two, as there is a lot of middle ground where this would be a good fit. I look forward to seeing it more on bar shelves in California.