Review: Codigo 1530 Artesanal Mezcal

When asked to describe mezcal, my go-to description is “the love child between a peated scotch whisky and a good herbal tequila”. Since I’m a fan of both of those, it follows that I’m therefore a big fan of mezcal. The larger question, as it pertains to this specific bottle, is whether the country music star George Strait can crank out a mezcal as good as his music.



According to the company story, a no-label clandestine tequila has been produced in Mexico for a number of years, primarily intended for distillers and their farm hands. Sometime around 2008 – 2009, country music star George Strait started visiting the area and came across a bottle of this prized tequila and instantly fell in love. Together with his partners Federico “Fede” Vaughan and Ron Snyder, they formed the Codigo 1530 company in 2017 to start producing and bottling this specific strain of spirits.

The name and brand logo come from the 1530 establishment of the city of Amatitán, when Jalisco was given its coat of arms bearing the Jerusalem Cross from Spain.


The process may be similar, but this bottle of artisanal mezcal is distilled a bit different from their normal line of tequilas based on that fabled bottle of no-label spirit that George Strait first tasted all those years ago.

As with most tequilas, this spirit starts from a crop of 100% agave plants. But where tequila only uses blue weber from the Jalisco region, this bottle sources a number of different strains from three different regions of Mexico. Those plants are harvested, their leaves shaved off, and the cores are shipped to the distillery for processing.

Once at the distillery, the agave cores are cooked (most likely in masonry ovens) to convert the starchy fibers into sugary liquid. After a period of time, those cores are removed from the oven and crushed using a traditional donkey-pulled stone roller to release the liquid inside. That liquid is then allowed to ferment naturally using the ambient yeast in the distillery, and included with the liquid are some fibers from the agave plants to impart some extra flavor. The mildly alcoholic liquid is then distilled in a copper still to produce the raw spirit.

For this mezcal, the spirit is then rested in former sauvignon blanc wine barrels for a short period of time to absorb some of those flavors and mellow out the tones of the spirit before being proofed down and bottled for shipment.


The shape of the bottle is fairly common, but everything else about it is pretty unique. Rather than a plain clear glass, there are air bubbles suspended inside the walls of the glass. It evokes an older age when glass wasn’t as mechanical and perfect as it is today, and also serves to give the bottle a nice texture.

Also imprinted in the wall of the bottle is the Jerusalem cross, the company logo.

There are two labels on the bottle: on the front is a small and relatively unassuming label that just has the bare essentials for the category of spirits this is (manufacturer, classification, production location, ABV, the usual). On the back is a larger label that, on the inside, has an illustration of a jimador at work in an agave field. It’s a nice touch — the illustration is visible through the clear spirit inside the bottle, without taking away the consumer’s ability to see the spirit itself. I think it’s a well executed concept.


Despite the greenish tint this appears to have in the bottle, the spirit is actually water white and crystal clear. It has a nicely traditional mezcal aroma, with the dominant smoky note supported by some sweet herbal agave and a touch of citrus.

That smoky characteristic is what comes through clearest in the flavor as well, seemingly very close to the peat smoke that you get in some scotch whiskies. Behind that is the herbal agave, with almost a menthol twinge to it that adds a bit of a lift to the flavors and keeps it on the lighter side. From there, some lemon zest and a touch of black pepper spice joins the party at the finish to round things out.

On Ice

Usually, with a clear spirit like this, the addition of ice alters the flavor profile and removes many of the more subtle flavors, rendering the result unfortunately boring. Happily, though, I don’t think that the ice changes to much here.

If anything, the smoky characteristic we saw previously is toned down a bit, but remains and is still prominent. There’s plenty of herbal agave in there as well, and that black pepper spice still on the finish. All the ice is doing is essentially reducing the alcohol content and making it a little bit easier to sip.

Cocktail (Margarita)

Usually, a margarita is an overly cheerful drink, with the lime juice and the Cointreau turning it into something akin to a sour. When made with this mezcal, however, I feel like that smokey note has brought things down a level and mellowed everything out. Rather than being shouty and overpowering, the experience is a bit more even keeled and mellow.

I do still get all of the usual flavors — the lime juice, the Cointreau, even the herbal agave — but the smoke from the mezcal adds a nice warm blanket to the whole vibe.


Overall Rating

My wife says that this smells like a campfire, and that the smoky characteristics overpower the rest of the flavors. And I don’t necessarily disagree — the smoky nature of a mezcal is on par with a peaty scotch whisky, and those can also be a bit over-smoked. But within this category, I think this is a fine example of a good mezcal.

I feel like this is a good middle-of-the-road mezcal for the price you are paying. There isn’t a ton of complexity of flavors, but the flavors that are present are well suited, balanced, and delicious. It is certainly worth the price they are asking, although I feel like there are better examples on the market.

Codigo 1530 Artesanal Mezcal
Produced By: Codigo 1530
Production Location: Mexico
Classification: Mezcal
Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
Proof: 42.2% ABV
Price: $64.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating:
All reviews are evaluated within the context of their specific spirit classification as specified above. Click here to check out similar spirits we have reviewed.

Overall Rating: 3/5
A deep, smoky mezcal that seems to act more like a scotch than a tequila.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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