What is Tobala Mezcal?

What is Tobala Mezcal?

Tobala mezcal is a unique variety of mezcal that is crafted from the Tobala maguey plant, scientifically referred to as Agave Potatorum. This particular type of agave is relatively small, approximately one-eighth the size of an Espadin agave, and thrives in elevated areas, typically found at an altitude of approximately 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) above sea level. It prefers to grow in shaded rocky canyons and requires up to 15 years to reach full maturity.

Tobala Tasting Notes

Tobala mezcal offers an aromatic experience, characterized by prominent tropical fruit notes and subtle hints of spice. You’ll even hear umami as part of its profile. It is a flavorful spirit highly regarded by genuine mezcal enthusiasts. Its tasting notes are a testament to the 15-year maturation process of this wild agave, setting it apart from many other spirits.

Maguey vs. Agave

The terms maguey and agave are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two. Both refer to the succulent plant used to make mezcal, but “maguey” is the term commonly used in Mexico, while “agave” is the scientific name for the plant and is more commonly used outside of Mexico. There are many different species of agave, and each one can produce a mezcal with a distinct flavor profile. Tobala, for instance, is a specific type of maguey (or agave) used to make a particularly aromatic and flavorful mezcal. Learn more about the distinction between maguey and agave.

Tobala Price Level and Why It’s So Expensive

Tobala mezcal is often more expensive than other types of mezcal due to the plant’s small size and the long time it takes to mature. Additionally, Tobala does not produce hijuelos, which are the shoots or pups that sprout around the main plant once it has matured. For this reason, Tobala can only grow from seed, which contributes to its rarity and higher price in the market.

Wild vs. Domesticated Maguey

There are two types of maguey plants used to make mezcal: wild and domesticated. Wild maguey, like Tobala, grows naturally in the wild without human intervention. These plants are often found in hard-to-reach areas and can take many years to mature, which contributes to the high cost of mezcals made from wild maguey.

On the other hand, domesticated maguey plants are cultivated by humans and are often grown in fields or greenhouses. These plants can be harvested more quickly and easily than wild maguey, which makes mezcals made from domesticated maguey more affordable.

Tobala Characteristics

Tobala mezcal is known for its intense aromatic qualities, which are a result of the unique characteristics of the Tobala maguey. The plant’s small size yields extremely limited quantities of mezcal, but the resulting spirit is rich in tropical fruit notes and subtle hints of spice.

There are two different types of Tobala maguey: Tobala chino, which grows in the sun, and Tobala orejon, which grows in the shade. The difference in sunlight exposure over the 12-15 years it takes for the plants to reach maturity results in two types of Tobala with noticeably different characters and tastes.

In conclusion, Tobala mezcal is a unique and flavorful spirit that is highly regarded by mezcal enthusiasts. Its rich aromas, complex flavors, and the meticulous care that goes into its production make it a truly special addition to the world of mezcal. Despite its higher price point, Tobala mezcal offers a tasting experience that is well worth the investment.

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    Since 2018, Alex keeps coming back to Oaxaca to to enjoy the food and the agave spirits of this wonderful state. Favorite: Tepeztate.