Warash, 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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A unique variety, endemic to the Sierra Norte region where Mezcal Tosba operates, Dua Warash (or simply, Warash) is currently an unclassified botanical variety of agave (Agave sp). This unusual species features a short stump or stalk below, reminiscent of shorter Agave karwinskii such as Barril or Tripón, with a magnificent bloom of slender leaves (or “pencas”) emanating from the agave’s heart, itself reminiscent of a larger Agave rhodacantha.
The first mezcalero to attempt distilling the variety commercially, Edgar’s Warash is rich and generous, with a thick and juicy mouthfeel offering rolling waves of tropical fruit and bright citric acidity cleaning up the complexity. The region is known for agriculture more like the Caribbean than Oaxaca, featuring sugarcane, tropical fruit and coffee plants galore, and this mezcal doesn’t just speak of that terroir: it shouts. It’s no wonder Edgar himself refers to it jokingly as “tutti fruity!”