Labels you should look for in the bottle:
The COMERCAM (now CRM, Mezcal Regulatory Council) works in base of the Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-070-SCFI-1994, which is the law that governs the application of Mezcals’ Denomination of Origin – the rules and regulations of mezcal production, certification, classification, regions, labeling and everything else.
In the case of tequila, the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) regulates production NOMs. The NOM identifier means the tequila meets government standards – but this is not any guarantee of tequila’s quality. However, without the NOM stamp of legitimacy, it is not guaranteed that the bottle contains tequila.
All 100% agave tequilas must have a NOM identifier on the bottle. The important laws since 1990 were NOM-006-SCFI-1993 and the later update NOM-006-SCFI-1994 revised in late 2005 NOM-006-SCFI-2005 and the most recent revision in 2012 NOM-006-SCFI-2012.
The number after NOM is the distillery number, assigned by the government. NOM does not indicate the location of the distillery, merely the parent company or – in the case where a company leases space in a plant – the physical plant where the tequila was manufactured.
Besides the labels that certify the product you should look for more information in the bottle like: when bottled at its place of production the label bears the remark “Envasado de Orígen“, when bottled elsewhere in Mexico: “Envasado en México”.
Mezcal should always be consumed as Joven, never aged in barrels.
To cut it short: the CRM and CRT labels will tell you that this product wont leave you blind, but this doesn’t mean it is a premium product.
¿What is Mezcal de Pechuga? Is a special form, a triple distilled Minero, where different fruits, spices (raisins, cinnamon, pineapple, banana, apple etc.) and sugar are put into the still and a raw chicken breast hung in its helmet. The vapours pass along the meat, which balances the strong flavors from the spices, but not touching them.
¿What’s the deal with the Mezcal de Gusano? The famous Mezcal de Gusano, which contains one or more larva from the Hypopta agavis (gusano rojo, chinicuil, belatobe), a type of moth. The origin of this product is not completely clear, some sources claim it is a marketing gimmick. But a premium Mezcal never contains a “worm”!
Remember that the Tequila Origin Denomination it’s only made with agave azul (tequila weber). And can be elaborated in the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, Michoacán and Nayarit.
The Mezcal Origin Denomination (Durango, San Luis Potosí, Guerrero, Zacatecas y Oaxaca, and the municipal entities of San Felipe Guanajuato. and 11 municipal entities in the state of Tamaulipas, and 29 more in Michoacán.
In bothe and mezcal and tequila botles, look in the label then leyend: 100% agave.
The alcoholic content has to be in the label as well. Regularly it would be between 38 and 50 %
In the case of the mezcal, shaking the botle will show you the pearls, litle bubles of the pure mezcal.
Categories of Tequila and Mezcal
Tequila and mezcal can be aged for different amounts of time, and its category reflects how old it is:
TOP places to buy mezcal and tequila
Colima 436, Col. Roma Norte, Del. Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06700.
Mezcalería La Mil Amores
Avenida Yucatan 34, Col. Roma Norte, Del. Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06700.
Mezcalería La Clandestina
Álvaro Obregón 298, Col. Condesa, C.P. 06100