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Tobalá (2023 Ancestral Limited Edition)

Epifania Gómez Mejía & Silverio García Luis

Crafted from 100% Tobalá agave, this delightful sipper – bursting with ripe tropical fruits and sweet caramel notes – is the ultimate crowd pleaser for mezcal connoisseurs and first-time drinkers alike.

A legacy of the era when Mezcal production was illegal in Oaxaca, this batch of Tobalá crafted by Silverio García Luis – a 2023 Ancestral Limited Release – rescues a García family tradition that had been forgotten for almost fifty years.

Don Lencho, Silverio’s father, used a hollowed out quiote (the flowering stalk of agave plants) instead of a copper turbante, to evade the military that would come and seize his distillation equipment by force.

Now you too can partake in this unique mezcal tradition from the García family in Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca, available for the first time in the United States in partnership with Erstwhile Mezcal.

$109.95 (750ml)

The Backstory

A legacy of the era when Mezcal production was illegal in Oaxaca, this batch of Tobalá crafted by Silverio García Luis – a 2023 Ancestral Limited Release – rescues a García family tradition and speaks to the tenacity, ingenuity, and oral history of Mezcal families from generation to generation.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Mezcal production was prohibited and persecuted by the authorities in Rancho Blanco Güilá and other parts of Oaxaca.  Silverio’s father, Lorenzo Antonio García (“Don Lencho”, as his family likes to call him), remembers how the military would show up without warning and seize his distilling equipment.

Specifically, Don Lencho recalls how they took the valuable copper pieces like the coil and the turbante tube, because those were the most expensive and hardest to replace.

 

 

Creative problem solving ensued.

Don Lencho innovated and used a hollowed out quiote (the flowering stalk of agave plants) to replace the copper turbante distillation tube.

It was challenging at first.  The quiote, part of an agave plant’s natural growth cycle, is organic.  It is not a perfectly empty and hollow tube, ready for mezcal distillation.  The quiote needed to be – but was not naturally – sufficiently hollow for the mezcal vapor to travel unobstructed.

Don Lencho first tried cutting the quiote in half, in order to remove the insides before rejoining the pieces with tree barks.  That proved ineffective, because the mezcal vapor leaked excessively during distillation.  He eventually solved the problem by keeping the quiote whole, and hollowing it with a long wooden rod.

 

 

The García family used this unique method of mezcal distillation for about a decade, from the end of the 1960’s through the 1970’s.  The quiote fell out of use around 1980 when the military stopped confiscating their distillation equipment.  Don Lencho had acquired a copper turbante tube by then, with less fear that his investment would be taken away by force.

The quiote technique had been forgotten for almost fifty years in the García family … until now.  Silverio García, Don Lencho’s son, has resuscitated this innovative family tradition.

Now you too can partake in this unique mezcal tradition from the García family in Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca, available for the first time in the United States in partnership with Erstwhile Mezcal.

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Details

Master Mezcalero: Silverio García Luis & Epifania Gómez Mejía
NOM: NOM-0162
Agave Varietal: Tobalá
Scientific Name: Agave potatorum
Place of Origin: Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca, 70442, Mexico
Fermentation: Natural Fermentation in Ocote pine wood tanks
Still Type: Clay Pot; Agave Quiote Distillation Tube
Dates of Distillation: June 2023
Total Liters: 800
ABV: 48%

Tasting Notes: COMING SOON

Tobalá (Agave potatorum)

Tobalá is the Yoda of all agaves.  It is small and cute, but fierce and wise.

Tobalá is a small broad-leafed agave that grows best in rocky craggy soil at high altitude. It takes about 8-12 years to mature, depending on climate, terroir, and other factors.

Perhaps due to the high altitudes where it flourishes, Tobalá typically yields a highly approachable yet sweet, mellow, floral mezcal with round mouth feel.  Tobalá can be cultivated and has been cultivated with some success.  Nonetheless, partially due to the long time it takes to mature, most Tobalá mezcals in the market today are prepared from wild agaves.

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