This post answers all your Tobala Mezcal questions!
What is Tobala Mezcal?
Tobala mezcal is the type of mezcal made with the tobala maguey plant.
Scientifically known as agave Potatorum; that’s it! Now you now more about mezcal than the vast majority of human beings.
This is the fourth most popular type of mezcal after the ubiquitous espadin, cupreata and cuish.
Tobalá is a small plant measuring one eighth the size of an espadin agave.
It grows in high regions of Oaxaca and Puebla at around 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) above the sea level and likes to grow in rocky canyons in the shade. Agave Potatorum takes up to 15 years to mature.
This agave needs of animals such as birds and bats to spread its seed, making it scarce and pricey.
How does tobala mezcal taste?
Aromatic with strong hints of tropical fruits and light spicy notes.
This is a delicious spirit and the favorite of many real mezcal connoisseurs. If you ever come across one don’t hesitate and enjoy it.
You will be tasting a heck of a dram that took 15 years to mature in the wild; not many spirits in the world can flaunt such feat.
Tobala Mezcal vs Espadin Mezcal: which is better?
Espadin has a neutral flavor profile while Tobala is more floral and fruity.
This is a matter of taste. Tobala strikes a very different flavor profile than Espadin by being more aromatic, fruity and spicy.
If you are new to mezcal, I recommend you start with espadin. If you are more seasoned in agave spirits then you will truly appreciate the rich flavors tobala has to offer.
How to drink Tobala Mezcal?
Sip it neat, don’t shoot it!
Tobala mezcal recommendations and reviews
I will show you a few good options for every budget:
Del Maguey Tobala
Del Maguey was created by Ron Cooper, the man that introduced mezcal to the United States.
Cooper traveled extensively across the Mexican state of Oaxaca assembling an army of some the best distillers in order to create the best-known mezcal brand north of the Mexican border.
This dram was handcrafted in the mountainous town of Santa Maria Albarradas, Oaxaca. Nose is fruity and floral, taste of mango, cinnamon, a bit salty with a long and pleasant creamy finish.
It doesn’t come cheap, expect to find it for around $120 USD.
Montelobos is a certified organic producer, perhaps the only in the industry.
They are also deeply concerned with the sustainability of agave that has been overly exploited product of the mezcal boom we are witnessing.
Montelobos is one of the very few brands opposed to using wild species of agaves.
This tobala mezcal has rich aromas of lemon, green pepper and pear. Flavor offers citrus, fig, macadamia, and truffle.
Priced for around $90 making it one of the most affordable options in the market.
Real Minero Tobala
Real Minero is perhaps the best mezcal producer in Mexico. These guys have been distilling agaves since 1898 using the same recipe.
It also one of the very few brands with full control of the production process as they sow their own agaves.
If you ever visit Oaxaca make a stop at their palenque located in Santa Catarina de Minas, one hour away from the City. A must-visit for anyone interested in learning how good mezcal is made.
This tobala is distilled in clay pots making it earthy and a bit spicy but not overwhelmingly. It also offers rich coconut and orange notes making it delicious.
This is a hard find and expect to pay top-dollar for it.
El Jolgorio Tobala
Jolgorio means “celebration” in Spanish. This brand belongs to the Cortes family who have been in the Mezcal business for 150 years. They also craft other brands such as Nuestra Soledad and Agave de Cortes.
This is an outstanding tobala with strong notes of sweet potato, orange and a bit sweet. El Jolgorio is smooth and creamy and extraordinary pleasant.
It is currently priced for around $180 USD.
5 Sentidos Tobala
Produced by Alberto Martinez who I consider to be one of the top 5 mezcal distillers in Mexico.
240 agave hearts where needed to produce mere 100 liters of this tobala cooked in an underground conical oven for almost a week.
Then they crush the cooked agave by hand with wooden mallets, mix it with spring water and ferment the agave in underground stone tanks for a few days. The resulting mash is distilled twice in clay pots.
5 Sentidos Tobala is a true small-batch spirit, just 100 liters come per batch!
Hi there, welcome to my blog! I am J Highland.
I am a bar and liquor shop owner in Oaxaca, Mexico. On this site I share my opinions on Mexican liquors and tips on how to enjoy them.