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[Malt Review] Abasolo El Whisky De Mexico

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Abasolo El Whisky De Mexico – Review



It is a big fallacy that non-processed foods are always better than processed foods.

At least, the ancient Aztecs who lived in Mesoamerica around 1500 BCE would attest to this. Because the human body cannot fully digest corn (a visit to the toilet after eating buttered corn would confirm this), the Aztecs devised a process to make corn as digestible and nutritious as possible: nixtamalization. The corn kernels are boiled in an alkaline solution until they are softened, and then hulled.

Nixtamalized foods (such as corn tortillas) became extremely important to the early Mesoamerican diet. Not only does this method kill off toxic fungus, but the process increases the nutritional content of corn drastically. The humble tortilla helped tribes avert the risks of malnourishment and vitamin deficiency diseases, which were much more common amongst tribes that relied on the non-processed corn.

The process also improves flavour, and gives tortillas that distinctive intense taste of fresh, sweet, buttery steamed corn that is also slightly malty, roasty, and chewy with a slightly fermented vegetal character.

Early this year, the new Abasolo Distillery from Mexico released a whisky made purely from corn. (note: Abasolo was more recently partially acquired by Pernod Ricard in an apparent shopping spree). While American bourbon makers use at least 51% corn and a percentage of barley, the nixtamalization process allows Abasolo to use 100% corn to make whisky. Nixtamalization also has a direct impact on flavour, causing the spirit to open up with more floral sweetness and warmth of the grain. The distillery itself proudly proclaims that the 4,000 year old cooking technique uncovers “the deepest notes of [Mexican] ancestral ingredients”, and that “There is no whisky in the world with a process or taste profile like this.”

Abasolo’s primary ingredient also speaks directly to the terroir of the region. The distillery exclusively uses the heirloom cacahuazintle corn (pronounced “kaka-wha-sint-lay”), instead of GMO corn hybrids that are more readily available commercially. This is a species native to Mexico that has been cultivated and handed down for over 200 generations by long-forgotten peoples of ancient Mesoamerica. In Mexican cooking, cacahuazintle corn is particularly prized for its distinctive notes and rich flavours not seen in other varieties of corn.

The spirit is matured for 2 years in both virgin and used oak casks in an airy warehouse, where constant temperature fluctuations and changing climate conditions would age the whisky faster than usual.

Today, we grab ourselves a bottle and find out just how unusual this Mexican whisky is.

First things first: just look at the bottle! The design already makes this worth collecting. It is heavy, rectangular, and of dark tinted glass with an irregular slate-like texture. The eggshell-coloured label adds a wild-west saloon vibe to the design. Regardless of how it tastes, I would be displaying this bottle somewhere at home as an ornamental conversation-starter...


Read the full review here.