I have so much to say about this yerba mate, that it is hard to sum up with few short sentences. But most of that is my personal experience rather than describing mate itself - Piporé Selección Especial seems to be unique to every drinker and I cannot guarantee that it will give you the same sensory experience. What I can guarantee is a premium quality yerba mate that will not disappoint beginners and regular materos and will be especially satisfying for mate aficionados and connoisseurs.
The first thing that I notice when taking a whiff of Piporé Selección Especial is how sweet and candy-like is its smell. Some inherent earthiness still breaks through, but for the most part it is a very pleasant and nose-friendly smell with strong and sweet aroma of dry fruits and berries - pear, apple, plum, apricot. Piporé Selección Especial has some notes of hay and wood, but other than that, I couldn’t notice any smoky or inedible smells in the nose of this yerba mate.
When I opened a bag of Piporé Selección Especial, I was expecting to see a cut that is similar to a regular Piporé Con Palo - classical Argentine that is heavy on the stems - but I was surprised with a very balanced, saturated and evenly grinded con palo yerba mate. It’s definitely noticeable that it is a premium yerba mate that has been carefully and thoughtfully selected to include only the best source material that plantations of Piporé in province of Misiones have to offer. Nice rich all-round dark green color and a perfect balanced amount of leaves, stems and powder - Piporé Selección Especial certainly improves over its regular con palo brother in terms of cut and reminds me of La Merced yerba mates that I tried earlier, which is also considered to be a top-shelf yerba mate brand.
Piporé Selección Especial causes no problems in the gourd, as you would expect from an Argentine con palo yerba mate. As for the water temperature, 70°C / 160°F seems to be a golden standard across all of Piporé yerba mates, and Selección Especial is no exclusion. You can go hotter to an extent, but anything lower than that in my experience will not be sufficient enough to bring out all the flavors that this yerba mate has to offer.
Most convenient way to get ideal water temperature is to use an electric kettle with temperature control like this one. If you prefer traditional kettle you can use laser thermometer or simpler food thermometer.
Despite having predominantly sweet nose, Piporé Selección Especial is much more than just a sweet and light mate. Right from the first sip this mate shows you its hand - it needs no buildup to unfold the full array of flavors. Piporé Selección Especial plays with taste buds, surprises them, making me want to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Slightly bitter and astringent, with just the right amount of natural sweetness and variety of very similar, but at the same time very distinctive fragrant flavors, ranging from fruity, citrusy and floral to more earthy, woodsy and herbal. Very rich medium-bodied taste was constantly distracting me from whatever I was thinking about at that moment.
One more sip - and I notice a slight hint of camomile. Second sip - and bitter-sweet wormwood starts coming through. Another sip - all of the sudden I sense the creaminess of rose petals. To some extent, drinking Piporé Selección Especial is a personal and subjective journey - people that I shared this mate with were able to pick up flavors and aromas that I was not able to distinguish, making it a fun and and unique experience both solo and in a circle with friends. If you have tried Piporé Selección Especial I would love to read your personal experience with it, so don’t shy away from leaving a comment!
To my surprise, the finish of Piporé Selección Especial is not dazzling with bright and strong flavors. Actually, it’s on the contrary - the aftertaste is mild, sweet and light, it doesn’t overload the mouthfeel after the initial burst of flavors, but rather slows down the excitement gradually, preventing from becoming overwhelmed, making me want to make another sip and another.
When it comes to the duration of drinking, Piporé Seleccion Especial was almost identical to the regular con palo version. This mate lasted me for 20-25 even and uniform refills. Transition to lavado is smooth and lavado itself is grassy and sweet, so if you are like me, you’ll even want to sip it for a little bit more after becomes washed and super light.
The last thing you want while drinking mate is to constantly re-heat you water or add more ice to it. No matter if it's hot mate or cold tereré, use a vacuum bottle or a thermos.
I was expecting Piporé Seleccion Especial to be a rich but calming mate that is nice to meditatively sip and enjoy in the evening after a long day. That was very far from the truth! Very powerful and strong energizing effects started to show up already after few refills and only gotten stronger and stronger. This is an amazing quality for a morning mate; but please, do not repeat my mistakes - don’t even think about drinking Piporé Selección Especial in the evening! I’m usually not too sensitive to caffeine as I rarely get the famous buzz from too much coffee, but this mate was so energizing that I had trouble falling asleep after drinking it. If you will drink it in the first half of the day this mate will never disappoint you.