Mezcal Agave Varieties in Flight

Although most mezcals are made with espadín agave, there are dozens of agave varieties to try. Like grapes used in wine production, each variety will have a different taste. We recommend you taste them in a flight, and if available include one (or more) of these in the mix.
Oct 21, 2018
  • 12
    12 Del Maguey Tobalá Mezcal
    90
    Earthy & Smoky
    This 100% tobalá agave mezcal produced in the state of Oaxaca. The tobalá maguey is found growing wild in the highest altitude canyons in the rocky soil beneath oak trees. It is smaller and broader leafed than the other agave used for mezcal and takes about eight tobalá piñas (agave hearts) to equal one piña from the more commonly propagated and cultivated magueys. Produced in the traditional manner by open-vat fermentation, adding the fibers along with the fermented juice (agaumiel) to the copper pot-still. This mezcal is unaged and bottled at 94 proof.
  • 11
    11 El Jolgorio Mexicano Mezcal
    90
    Spicy
    El Jolgorio Mexicano is distilled from Mexicano agave, which is harvested at 10 years of age. The agaves are pit-roasted, crushed by tahona, open fermented, and double-distilled by mezcalero Valentín Cortes in Santiago Matatlan, Oaxaca.
  • 10
    10 Rey Campero Jabalí Mezcal
    92
    Floral
    Jabalí is 100% agave Convallis harvested from craggy rocks and cliffs that is difficult to distill. The harvested agaves are roasted in earthen pits, stone ground, fermented with the aid of natural yeasts in wood casks and in a copper alembic still. Master Mezcalero Rómulo Sánchez Parada produces the Rey Campero line which is produced primarily of wild agaves harvested and distilled in Candelaria Yegolé, Oaxaca.
  • 9
    9 Mezcal Gracias a Dios Tepextate
    92
    Herbal & Spicy
    Tepextate is a wild maguey species cultivated for its spicy, herbal characteristics. Gracias a Dios is a mezcal made with traditional methods passed on through four generations, now led by mezcalero Oscar Hernández Santiago. The spirit is double-distilled and bottled without further barrel aging.
  • 8
    8 Mezcal Vago Cuixe
    92
    Smoky & Umami
    Cuixe agaves take up to fifteen years to mature, at which point the plant has developed a tree-trunk like stalk that can reach ten feet in height. This bottling is the only variety Aquilino makes from wild agaves; the rest are made from plants farmed by Aquilino himself or one of his neighbors.
  • 7
    7 Mezcal Pierde Almas Tobaziche
    93
    Earthy & Umami
    The Pierde Almas Tobaziche is made with 100% wild Agave karwinskii harvested from the Valles Centrales. It’s naturally fermented in open pine vats and double distilled in copper pot-stills. The distillation ranges between 45% and 48% ABV, depending on the conditions specific to each lot. The Tobaziche is a young mezcal, bottled at less than a year old.
  • 6
    6 Koch el Mezcal Lumbre
    93
    Rich & Herbal
    Koch el de Mezcal was created to celebrate and preserve “authentic” Oaxacan culture and to help reinvigorate the dying art of mezcal making. By bringing producers of true artisanal mezcal together under the Koch brand, they have been able to reach many more people, bring money into communities and celebrate this truly historical spirit. This bottling is produced using 100% agave de Lumbre. It is made traditionally with an earthen pit to cook the agave and a tahona to crush them. It is double-distilled in a copper still by mezcalero Pedro Hernández in San Baltazar Guelavila in Oaxaca.
  • 5
    5 Mezcal Marca Negra Dobadán
    93
    Herbal & Smoky
    Distilled from wild-grown Dobadán agave plants, this mezcal hails from Oaxaca, in the southern part of Mexico. Double-distilled in copper pot-stills by master mezcalero Alberto Ortiz, the piñas or hearts of this agave average 8 to 12 years old before being harvested.
  • 4
    4 Don Amado Arroqueño Mezcal
    94
    Umami & Mineral
    This mezcal is distilled in Santa Catarina Minas in clay pot stills made with the soil of their estate. They own their agave fields and are committed to the long-term care of the land and replanting. Their use of traditional methods extend also to the wood used to roast the agave in the earth. Their methods of production have been passed down and has evolved in their family for 11 generations, or over 300 years. Agave Arroqueño is a sub-species of agave Agave americana Oaxacensis.
  • 3
    3 Mezcales de Leyenda Puebla
    95
    Sweet & Salty
    This mezcal is produced in the Mexican state of Puebla, a recent addition to the recognized area for mezcal production. It is distilled from 100% Tobalá agaves (known in this region as Cenizo). The agaves are cooked in a lava rock lined pit for three days before they are mechanically milled and fermented for a further five days. The mezcal is double-distilled in copper pot-stills by Mezcalero Don Aaron Alba, a 4th generation producer. The agaves are organic and fair trade certified.
  • 2
    2 Wahaka Mezcal Joven Madre Cuishe
    95
    Mineral & Earthy
    For this release, Wahaka Mezcal harvests wild madre-cuishe from the lowlands of Oaxaca’s Central Valleys. Typically found at 900-2,000 meters above sea level, the rare agave is harvested after a minimum of 12 years of maturation. The agaves are cooked for 3-5 days in an earthen pit using ocote or pine wood. The cooked agaves are crushed in a tahona and fermented for 10-12 days in open pine vats using wild yeast. Distilled in copper pot still and bottled at 84 proof with no aging.
  • 1
    1 Real Minero Barril Mezcal
    96
    Herbal & Earthy
    Real Minero is a labor of love for the Angeles family. Four generations of know-how have gone into each bottle. Father Don Lorenzo and son Eduardo produce the mezcal while Mother Dona Florentina does the bottling and daughter Graciela handles the marketing. They family produces mezcal using the method ancestral, a very rustic method of distillation utilizing clay stills and bamboo tubing. Barril is a subspecies of agave in the Karwinskii family whose piñas are tall like a palm tree. It is famous for being intensely earthy, herbal and full-bodied.