Review: Creador Mezcal, 2023 Releases

Review: Creador Mezcal, 2023 Releases

In the widening world of mezcal, artisanal expressions made by hand with traditional methods are increasingly the best places to find unique flavors and superior quality. And it doesn’t get more handmade than Creador which dropped their second set of bottlings late last fall. The deets:

Each of the six new expressions is milled by hand, clay pot fermented and distilled by maestro palenquero José Alberto Pablo in San Bernardo Mixtepec, Oaxaca. Each small-batch expression started by cooking agave piñas in an underground river rock-lined stone oven for five days, mashing the cooked piñas by hand with mallets in a hollowed tree trunk, then fermenting in half-buried 90-liter clay pots, and distilling twice in 60-liter clay pots. The resulting agave spirits are brought to proof by mixing the heads, tails, and body of the distillate. The entire process is natural and no additives are used.

While six expressions were released, we were only able to get our hands on samples of five. The rarest, a Tobala expression, was an exclusive 50-liter batch bottled for Mezcaleria Tobalá in Austin, Texas. Let’s see how the rest of the lineup fares before we plan a trip to Texas.

Creador Espadin Capon – Distilled from agave angustifolia aged 8-10 years and cultivated in the Sola de Vega region of Oaxaca. The aroma is soft with notes of sweet woodsmoke, burnt ends, and maraschino cherry. On the palate, things are sweeter with toasted marshmallow and cinnamon sugar, which helps to temper earthier notes of grilled agave, graphite, and chimney soot. The texture is wonderfully round and oily with a gentle heat that simmers into a finish of charred lemon and damp smoke. 388 bottles. 96.8 proof. B+ / $100

Creador Lumbre – Distilled from agave lumbre aged 8-10 years and cultivated in San Bernardo Mixtepec in the Zimatlan region of Oaxaca at an elevation of approximately 1651 meters. A release of only 600 liters that combines two productions from May and August 2021. The nose is restrained with light notes of baked apple, pipe tobacco, and a gentle mesquite smoke. The palate is sweet and peppery, if a bit monotone, with notes of chocolate mint and char-broiled meat. The finish is warm and dry with notes of cigar smoke and clove. A good entry point to artisanal mezcal, but not nearly as dynamic as the rest of the lineup. 764 bottles. 96.6 proof. B / $120

Creador Mexicano – Distilled from agave rhodacantha that has been cultivated in San Bernardo Mixtepec and surrounding areas at a similar elevation to lumbre. Because this agave varietal is low and broad, with thinner pencas than angustifolia, it has aged 10-12 years before harvesting. On the nose, this expression comes across almost Tequila-like with minimal smoke and bright undertones of dried citrus and mint to complement a subtle green agave top note. The palate is grassy with a balanced sweetness and notes of cinnamon stick, grape must, and a bit of olive brine that lead to a waxy finish of vanilla bean and subtle mesquite. 97.8 proof. 129 bottles. A- / $140

Creador Lumbre + Espadin Ensamble – A 50/50 mixture (from harvest) of lumbre and espadin agaves cultivated in San Bernardo de Mixtepec. Another 600 liter release but taken from productions in March and May of 2022. This expression showcases the best of both styles with an aroma of soft woodsmoke, apple chips, coal briquettes, and black pepper that gives way to a round, creamy palate accented with notes of charbroiled bbq sauce, grilled agave, and burnt toast. The finish is long with creosote and licorice. 782 bottles. 96.6 proof. A- / $120

Creador Jabali – Distilled from agave convallis that has been harvested wild near Sola de Vega in the Sierra Sur region of Oaxaca. A lower yielding agave that is also difficult to distill, this production comes from Jose Alberto’s very first batches. Distinct from the rest of the lineup, this mezcal is bright on the nose with almost no smoke and notes of fresh flowers, a bit of tangerine, and candied yams. The palate has a cotton candy sweetness balanced against ample baking spice – grated cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. A bit of melon and jackfruit arrive on the midpalate before a warm, silky finish of lemon drop and pipe smoke. Impressive in its complexity and depth of flavor. 190 bottles. 97.8 proof. A- / $180

Creador Espadin Capon




Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.