Agave Varietals

At Del Maguey we offer expressions made from ten different varietals. All are celebrated by the indigenous families who honor Del Maguey with their wisdom.

To fully understand mezcal you must first understand the plant that gifts us this mythic elixir. Agave (maguey) is truly magical and resilient and has long been part of human culture. They are rich material from which masters of distillation create liquid art.

Espadín (Agave angustifolia haw.)

Prized for its rapid 6-8-year maturation, Espadín is the main cultivate used in mezcal production in the state of Oaxaca. Growing to a height of 6-8ft and in a variety of soils and elevations, it produces a wide range of flavors, from fruity and spicy to herbaceous and earthy.

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Arroqueño (Agave americana var. oaxaquensis)

Before Espadín cultivation truly took off in Oaxaca, Arroqueño was the primary agave in the Valles Centrales and other regions. It is a majestic plant. Taking up to 18 years to mature untouched in the wild, Arroqueño often produces a rich, sweet mezcal, often showing a note of chocolate.

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Tobalá (Agave potatorum)

Tobalá, known as the king of magueys, is believed by some to be the first agave distilled by indigenous Oaxacan producers. Tobalá likes rocky, high-altitude soil, often grows in the shade of oak trees, like truffles, and takes 10-15 years to ripen. Tobalá produces a complex mezcal marked by high minerality.

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Tepextate (Agave marmorata)

Tepextate flourish at high altitude, hanging on the edge of cliffs or nestled in pine and oak forest beds, taking a very long to mature at 18-30 years. Their leaves do not grow straight, as with other agaves, but rather develop into a twisted formation. It often produces a candied, ethereal mezcal.

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Jabalí (Agave convallis)

In Zapotec, Jabalí is known as the maguey of the mountain, because, more so than any other agaves, it can find cracks in sheer cliff faces in which to germinate its seeds. It’s not easy to work with, as producers have to learn how to manage the soapy like bubbles created in fermentation and distillation due to the high level of saponins found in their sap. Jabali takes 10-15 years to mature in the wild and can produce flavors with bright, beautiful acidity.

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Papalome (Agave cupreata)

Papalome, the colloquial name for Agave Cupreata, gets its name from the Nahuatl word for butterfly. It is similar in appearance to Tobalá, with broad leaves and beautiful spines on the rims and tips. Papalome takes 10-12 years to ripen and can produce an earthy, meaty mezcal with exceptional complexity.

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Papalote (Agave potatorum or Agave seemanniana or Agave nussavorium)

The Papalote agave is very similar in size and appearance to Tobalá and produces small piñas with a high sugar content that often yield a floral spirit. In the southern Puebla environment, they grow in the sun without cover from high altitude forest canopies alongside endemic Izote palm trees, and take between 10-15 years to mature.

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Barril (Agave karwinskii)

Endemic to certain regions of Oaxaca, Barril gets its name because the trunk and heart are very wide and tall in diameter. In the wild, Barril can take anywhere from 12-30 years to mature, depending on soil and elevation. It often yields a dry and earthy mezcal with plenty of umami.

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Madrecuixe (Agave karwinskii)

Madrecuixe belongs to the sub-varietal Karwinskii family, which are unique in their upright stature. Cross-pollination from Madrecuixe seeds is common, which lends to its colloquial name as madre, or mother. Taking 12-18 years to reach its full maturity it often produces a green-tasting mezcal, full of herbs, with earthy and vegetal flavors.

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Tobaziche (Agave karwinskii)

Tobaziche take 12-18 years to mature in the wild and grow up to 10 ft tall. Although upright in stature, they are narrower in diameter than its cousin, Madrecuixe. Tobaziche is prized for its distinct drier flavors imparted by the trunk/base of the heart, often producing an herbaceous, vegetal, earthy mezcal.

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