Mezcal is a spirit category that’s growing ever more popular in the United States thanks to the likes of people such as Ron Cooper and his fantastic Del Maguey Mezcals, which are rare, artisanal and handmade by individual family producers in villages throughout Oaxaca. Not only is Del Maguey some of the finest terroir based spirits in the world, but the product has created industry within small villages.
Del Maguey and their 16th century production methods and deep respect for the people of Oaxaca is just one example of many Mezcal producers that have been working for years to promote the category.
Then along came Country Music star Toby Keith, who’s Mezcal “Wild Shot” in so many words takes a massive dump on everything that people like Ron Cooper have been working for years to accomplish.
Keith (or the people behind him) had the brilliant idea of branding a Mezcal that would appeal to white trash hicks with the slogan “blame it on the worm”, perpetuating a marketing gimmick from the 1940s that bottled Mezcal contains a worm, when in reality the sighting of the larvae on the plant is an indication of infestation and leads to a lower quality distillate. Yes, there’s a worm in every bottle. Blame what on the worm? Your unusual fondness for your sister? The caged dogs in your backyard? For parking in the fire lane at Walmart?
I’m assuming Keith knew it wouldn’t be a “Wild Shot” that his smokey Everclear would gain traction among his listeners, not unlike some of his greatest albums “
How many Mexicans does it take to Pull My Chain” (2001) and “ pissin’ all over them Oaxacans, That Don’t Make Me A Bad Guy” (2008).
Upon nosing the Wild Shot 3-4 times, I immediately developed a headache. It’s thin, hot and shoots right up into the sinuses. Wild shot tastes like bathtub grain alcohol with the addition of liquid smoke. There are some hints of tropical fruit and agave vegetation, but they vanish almost as quickly as they came. My taste buds were literally seared and then coated with wax. There’s no beginning or middle, only a synthetically smokey and ethanol finish that just wont quit.
Toby Keith, I have a more appropriate slogan for you, “Wild Shot! 3 out of 4 people go blind! Drink at your own risk, side effects include incest, disability checks, wife beatings, bedazzling cell phones instead of clothing children, Jerry Springer appearances, poor personal hygiene, acid wash denim, bigotry, trips to Costco for food sampling and duct tape”.