Cenizo Mezcal, Tosba
Created by cousins Edgar Gonzalez Ramirez & Elisandro Gonzalez Molina, Tosba is unique in Oaxacan mezcal.
Hailing from the very far north of the state—among the Sierra Juarez (Sierra Norte) mountains, just south of Veracruz—their name is Zapotec for “only one” because when they set out to create their brand, they were the only active mezcaleros in the area. The cousins created Tosba to bring jobs and industry back to their community of San Cristobal Lachirioag, with a focus on environmental and ethical responsibility. They plant significantly more agave than they harvest, and grow predominantly from seed—hundreds of thousands of plants are now in the nursery, with a wide diversity of varietals. They primarily use driftwood to smoke agave and sustainable biomass like peat moss to heat the stills, all in an effort to combat deforestation. Every step of the process, down to labeling and bottling, is done locally and by hand. The goal of the project and brand is to benefit the future generations of the Sierra Norte.
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Edgar and Elisandro, the cousins behind Mezcal Tosba, drove 1500 miles from Nombre de Dios, Durango to their palenque in San Cristobal Lachirioag, Oaxaca with a truck full of Cenizo (Agave durangensis). An experiment in uniting two distinct Mexican terroirs, the agave was grown in the rugged terrain of Durango then fermented and distilled using the wild yeasts and local spring water of the Oaxaca’s Sierra Norte to create this one-of-a-kind mezcal.
A product of both tradition and innovation, this is an agave spirit that breaks boundaries and reimagines what the terms of “mezcal” can be while remaining under the protected Denomination of Origin. Under CRM regulations, the once-common term “Cenizo” can now only apply to Agave durangensis, endemic to the northern state of Durango, making Oaxacan Cenizo a thing of the past – until now. It’s widely held that imposed restrictions can lead to the greatest creativity, and this is an example in practice. One of the year’s most exciting mezcales!