As we recently observed in another review, there’s something about the agave distillate industry—probably the fact that it continues to grow like gangbusters—that gleams like a beacon for Hollywood celebrities looking to launch their own brands. Drawn by the mega payday enjoyed by George Clooney when he sold Casamigos, and fueled by massive new launches like Dwayne Johnson’s Teremana, every actor in Tinseltown now seemingly wants a tequila brand of their own that they can potentially sell to the highest bidder a few years down the road.
Or, you know … a mezcal brand. For Breaking Bad co-stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, embracing tequila’s wilder cousin is a move that does seem on-brand. Whereas tequila has been comfortably subsumed into American culture, mezcal consumption is still in its relative infancy, with the average drinker likely unaware of many differences between the two spirit styles. It’s not hard to imagine that Paul and Cranston saw a long runway of potential ahead of a brand like Dos Hombres when they launched it shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic descended on the world.
When you get right down to it, though, and scroll past the flowery text on Paul and Cranston’s journey to meet Oaxacan mezcal maestros, what you end up with is a $60 bottle of joven mezcal, made from 100% espadin agave (the most commonly used variety) and bottled at a fairly low 42% ABV (84 proof). It’s produced from 6-year-old agave plants—close to maturity, but still considered “immature” by the more discerning distillers and agave distillate geeks in the audience. In other words, it’s a fairly steep price point for a bare bones sort of mezcal as far as the specs are concerned, and it makes one wonder how much of the MSRP is being justified by the celebrity connection.
Tasting Dos Hombres, it quickly becomes clear that the product’s intended audience is indeed mezcal neophytes, not that there’s anything wrong with this. Dos Hombres feels like a calculated attempt to make a very approachable, unchallenging mezcal for a wide audience, though that does cost it no small amount of individuality.
On the nose, Dos Hombres is notably light on the smoke character for this style, quite mild, with only faint traces of mesquite BBQ. Instead, the nose more heavily features very bright vegetal and fruit notes of salty pink grapefruit juice, as well as a slightly more tropical character. There’s also a bit of nut-like cocoa bean, but the nose is simultaneously let down a bit by a more solventy or “wet paint”-like thread that occasionally pokes its way through the more pleasant characteristics.
On the palate, smoke is again mild and unassuming, to the point that this mezcal should be easy to handle even for those who are averse or sensitive to smoke flavors. It’s quite salt forward, almost briny, which imparts a savory dimension to the vegetal and somewhat mineral notes, like one rubbed the agave down in sea salt before roasting it. Floral vanilla and undefined sweetness creeps up throughout, with a moderate residual sugariness that will likely make this quite friendly to palates that expect significant sweetness in industrially produced tequila. All in all, it’s extremely easy to drink neat, owing to both its somewhat generic sweetness and low proof point.
At the end of the day, this seems like it was designed from the ground up to function as a drinker’s first brush with mezcal, and for that job it will probably perform admirably. Certainly, the light smoke character will make mixing Dos Hombres into cocktails very easy, as the consumer won’t have to worry about the smoke dimension overtaking the rest of the drink. But for the $60 asking price, one would be well within their rights to expect a more assertive and engaging flavor profile—and for the same cost, one can certainly find much bolder bottles on the shelves. It’s up to the drinker to decide whether the easygoing nature of Dos Hombres is a feature or a missed opportunity.
Brand: Dos Hombres
Style: Unaged mezcal
ABV: 42% (84 proof)
Availability: 750 ml bottles, $60 MSRP
Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident liquor geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more drink writing.