Tobalá, 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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Made with the “king of the maguey,” Agave potatorum, Tosba Tobalá is a delightful example of this small and low-yield agave variety. A precious treasure with a sweet and fruity nose, this is a bright and fruity example of the variety, with distinct notes of grilled pineapple, black pepper, young strawberries and only the faintest smoke. Tobalá is seasonal in harvest and limited in nature; each plant’s heart is so small, with such low sugar, that it can take up to three to produce one liter of mezcal. Cautious protectors of their environment and local biodiversity, Tosba is careful to protect the agave by not overharvesting and instead using mature plants to build larger and larger nurseries of this scarce agave for future generations.