I wish I had a better reason for trying this Mezcal, but I'm not going to lie to you: I'm a sucker for any product that has a cat on it. Even a cat with wings. Maybe especially because it's a cat with wings.
In fairness, I'm not the only one drawn by animal magnetism. The Geico lizard apparently does very well with the elderly crowd because they trust (?) anthropomorphic animals. Wine producers put so many animals on their labels in an effort to be whimsical that it's resulted in a term that's equal parts celebratory and derogatory: critter wine. I suppose that would make the Creyente a critter mezcal.
Thanks entirely to the whimsical bottle, I shelled out for a taste of Creyente (translation: "the believer") at a local mezcal bar. But, since that taste was good, the Creyente ended up following me home in the form of a 750mL bottle not long thereafter. Let's give me at least some credit, then: maybe animals can weasel $10 out of my wallet, but the spirit itself needs some grip and bite if I'm going to take the leap.
I mentioned in a previous review that the El Silencio was a profoundly interesting introduction to the world of Mezcal, though not a particularly gentle one. If I didn't sell you on Mezcal there, good news: there are more options than being thrown into the deep end of the pool. Creyente is the perfect case in point. Rather than bludgeon you with creosote and rubber, the Creyente leads with fruit before showing you the complexity of earth and minerality.
Oddly enough, the Creyente is a rather pretty mezcal in the sense that it's delicate and accommodating. Mezcals typically get saddled with the designation of a "man's man" kind of liquor that's unpalatable for anyone who wouldn't like drinking flaming tar on a dare. I found that a lot of my friends who were on the fence with mezcal in general seemed to like the Creyente in particular. For people who like the floral notes of gin or the fruit that can be found in lighter, unpeated scotches, this is as good an invitation as any.
That said, I don't want to oversell Creyente as in introductory mezcal. Die-hard vodka tonic drinkers will probably do a spit-take once they absorb all of the different flavors represented here, and as a mezcal, it still has a bit of earthiness and smokiness. All I'm getting at is that if you like spirits, you'll probably like this, but it's not going to win over anyone celebrating their twenty-first birthday with a first-ever round of drinks. It's still a mezcal.
By the same token, I don't want to undersell Creyente as "baby's first mezcal." Even though it's lighter and more delicate, there's enough here to warrant attention and a purchase by people who are already familiar with Wahaka, Del Maguey, Rey Campero, and numerous other quality producers. It's just solid, all the way around.