Duub-Bá-Lá is the ancient Zapotec phrase describing this most rare mezcal made from the wild mountain maguey.
Duub means maguey plant and Bá-lá means house, therefore shade hence - the plant that grows in the shade. This maguey is found growing naturally only in the highest altitude canyons, growing in the shade of oak trees like truffles.
Tobalá's form is different than the maguey Espadin (Sword) or maguey Azul (Blue). It is smaller and broader leafed. It takes about eight Tobala piñas (hearts) to equal one piña from either of the more commonly propagated and cultivated Magueys.
Whenever one mentions Tobalá in a smaller village, the peoples eyes light up and a broad smile covers their face. They say their Ancestors, in times before the maguey began to be cultivated by man in lower altitude fields, always made their mezcal from this wild plant.
The Tobala has a sweet, fruity nose, with a mango and cinnamon taste and long, extra smooth finish. The pueblo elevation is around 8,200 feet, with a mountainous, tropical microclimate.
Traditionally the high mountain village's government "Municipios" permit their producers to cut Tobalá several months per year - including the month before the village's patron saint's fiesta! They normally produce about 400 liters a year, which is almost totally consumed during the fiesta week.
Del Maguey has been purchasing 25 liters a year from a rare, remote, high mountain producer fortheir personal use. They have the great fortune to have convinced the Municipio to allow theirr Zapotec palenquero to produce an extra 450 liters for Del Maguey this year.
Del maguey had thought to institute a program of replanting from seed but after tasting other tobala mezcals cultivated by humans... they decided to keep their production limited, to not mess with nature and to continue with the traditional way... being very careful to never overharvest and allow mother nature to do her job.
False Mezcal labeling in the commercial production towns and sales in cities is endemic to Tobalá, Pechuga, as well as Minero. There is no way to find a TRUE bottle of any of these special mezcals any place in Mexico, including Oaxaca, other than the village they were made in or from Del Maguey!