Cuishe mezcal: What it is and types to try

Cuishe mezcal: What it is and types to try

Cuishe mezcal (also known as “cuixe” and pronounced “kwee-shay”) is a wild maguey used in mezcal production. It comes from an agave that’s part of the family Karwinskii, along with other well-known species like Madrecuishe, Bicuixe or Tobasiche.

This agave has a unique, tall, and slender profile, reminiscent of an elongated tree trunk. The Karwinskiis are in fact the only agave species to have an actual trunk. For that reason, it’s often used as a natural fence between neighboring agave fields.

Cuishe agave is wild, thriving in the arid valleys and rugged terrains of Oaxaca, making it less commonly cultivated and somewhat rare. This rarity is also in part due to the plant’s long maturation period, often taking 12 to 15 years to reach full maturity.

Cuishe Fact Sheet

  • Maturity Time: 12 – 15 years
  • Area: Oaxaca and certain parts of Southern Puebla
  • Height: about 2m (6-7 ft)

Cuishe Mezcal Team Favorites

Below are five top picks from our team for Cuishe mezcal, broken down by pricing tiers.

Best Cuishe Mezcal

Rey Campero – $95USD

Rey Campero Cuishe
Rey Campero Cuishe
Maguey Cuishe
Type Joven
State Oaxaca

Solid Cuishe Mezcal

Lalocura – $140USD

Lalocura Cuishe
Lalocura Cuishe
Maguey Cuishe
Type Joven
State Oaxaca

Banhez – $90USD

Banhez Cuishe
Banhez Cuishe
Maguey Cuishe
Type Joven
State Oaxaca

Mala Mia – $100USD

Mala Mia Cuishe
Mala Mia Cuishe
Maguey Cuishe
Type Joven
State Oaxaca

Affordable but good, Cuishe under $100

Bozal – $90USD

Bozal Cuixe
Bozal Cuixe
Maguey Cuishe
Type Joven
State Oaxaca

Cuishe Price Levels

As a result of its rarity and long maturation period, Cuishe mezcal is generally found at the higher end of the price spectrum. In the US, prices usually start at about $80 and go as high as $200 or even beyond that. The main reasons for that are

Cuishe Tasting Notes

Cuishe mezcal is celebrated for its multifaceted flavor profile. Here’s what to look for when enjoying a copita of Cuishe:

Aroma: Generally you can expect cuishe mezcals to hit you with an intense blend of aromas, from floral and green vegetal notes to earthy and strong minerality and spiciness.

Flavor: On the palate, expect a combination of herbal, citrus, and sometimes even woody notes.

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Jeff
Jeff
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I started truly getting into Mezcal after a visit to Oaxaca years ago. It's now turned into a passion and hobby.