Del Maguey Tobala Mezcal (750ml)
Del Maguey was named "Distiller of the Year" at the 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Tobalá is a special variety of wild mountain maguey (agave) that is smaller in size with larger leaves than the more widely cultivated espadin (sword) or azul (blue) agave varieties. According to local legend, tobalá is the original maguey, cultivated by the Ancestors to make Mezcal long before the other "common" varieties came along. It is grown in the villages in the province of Oaxaca at higher elevations (8,200 feet) where the mountainous, tropical climate concentrates the energy of the plant into its small "piña" (heart), packing it with rich, sweet juice for distillation. Tobalá mezcal production is both costly and labor intensive (eight tobalá hearts yield the same as one heart from other varieties) but is celebrated for its sweet, fruity nose, distinctive flavors of mango and cinnamon, and long, smooth finish. The village governments regulate tobalá harvests to only one month per year, and annual production is tiny, with most drunk up by the villagers themselves. Del Maguey's source for this single-village Mezcal is a rare, remote, high elevation producer; it is extremely limited, special stuff.