Our Favorite Tobalá Mezcal Picks

Agave Potatorum, commonly known as Tobalá or Cenizo, is often harvested wild as it is difficult to cultivate. Small in size, but not in flavor as it takes 12-15+ years to ripen. Sip and savor.
Jan 09, 2020
  • 10
    10 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.
  • 9
    9 Rey Campero Tobalá Mezcal
    90
    Earthy
    The Rey Campero line is produced primarily of wild agaves harvested and distilled in Candelaria Yegolé, Oaxaca by master mezcalero Rómulo Sánchez Parada. Tobalá is 100% agave potatorum (which takes 13 years to mature and grows at 5600 feet) roasted in earthen pits, stone ground, fermented with the aid of natural yeasts in wood casks and distilled in a copper alembic still.
  • 8
    8 Fidencio Tobalá Mezcal
    90
    Earthy & Rich
    Taking between 12-15 years to mature and producing only a small fraction of the sugar of its more common cousin espadín, tobalá agaves produce rich, deep and concentrated flavors not found in any other species of agave. Wild-foraged and fairly rare, it behooves you to at try mezcals of this species.
  • 7
    7 Koch el Mezcal Tobalá
    92
    Rich & Fruity
    Produced from wild tobalá, this mezcal is crafted by Master Mescalero Pedro Hernández. The agaves are roasted using red oak and mesquite and are then crushed using a horse-drawn tahona. The aguamiel is then left in open pine vats and left to naturally ferment. It is double-distilled in a copper pot still and is bottled at proof.
  • 6
    6 Marca Negra Tobalá Mezcal
    93
    Rich & Salty
    After a name change and a little rebranding Marca Negra is back and as true as ever to its mission of bringing traditional mezcals to the world. Made at a traditional palenque in San Luis Del Rio using a tiny, rare and wild species, tobalá. This wild agave is small, low yielding but very high in sugar. They take an unusually long time to mature especially considering their size, however they pack a lot of character and an unmistakable flavor.
  • 5
    5 Mezcal Gracias a Dios Tobalá
    94
    Smoky & Rich
    Gracias a Dios is a fair trade brand that sows three agave plants for every bottle produced. The wild, organic plants used in this mezcal are 15 years old at harvest and undergo double distillation. The spirit is bottled fresh without further aging.
  • 4
    4 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.
  • 3
    3 Mezcal Vago Tobalá
    95
    Herbal & Mineral
    Crafted by Aquilino García López, the wild-harvested tobalá used here is sourced from the Highlands near the source of the Quichapa River, at an elevation averaging around 6000 feet. Like all Aquilino's mezcals, Vago Tobalá is crafted in the traditional method at his palenque in Candelaria Yegolé, Oaxaca. This includes earthen-ovens for cooking the agaves, pinewood fermentation-vats, and a 200-liter copper-still. The mezcal is rested in inert steel tanks for three months before being bottled -- by hand, of course!
  • 2
    2 Wahaka Mezcal Tobalá
    95
    Herbal & Floral
    The wild tobalá (aka “the king of mezcal”) is harvested in the highlands of Oaxaca, often on extremely rugged mountainsides and rocky cliffs. In addition to its challenging locale - 1,700-2,600 meters above sea level - the tobalá’s smaller size means a significantly larger number of plants are needed to produce this release. Like the madre cuishe, this rare agave is harvested at a minimum of 12 years of maturation.
  • 1
    1 El Jolgorio Tobalá Mezcal
    96
    Fruity & Sweet
    This mezcal is distilled from 100% agave tobalá which grow semi-wild. The agave are harvested after 12 years and pit-roasted in the traditional manner. The roasted "piñas" or hearts of the agave plants are crushed using a mule-drawn tahona before the juices are open fermented. This mezcal is double-distilled and produced in Matatlan, Oaxaca by Mezcalero Gregorio Martinez Jarquin. This is released in small batches due to sustainable practices conserving the wild agave plants as well as the scarcity and size of the tobalá plants. It only grows in high altitudes in the shade of oak trees and is relatively small in size.