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Vago Tobala – Joel Barriga

Vago Tobala from maestro mezcalero Joel Barriga is produced using Maguey tobala (Agave potatorum) in Hacienda Tapanala, Oaxaca.

Rating: (5 reviews)
Cost:$$$
Brand:Vago Mezcal
NOM:NOM-O188X
Mezcalero:Joel Barriga
Maguey:Tobala
Agave:Potatorum
Grind:Tahona
Distillation:Copper
Style:Joven
State:Oaxaca
Town:Hacienda Tapanala
ABV: 51.2%
Batch size: Lot J-01-TOB-20: 300 liters
Website: https://www.mezcalvago.com/, opens in new window
Ownership:Samson & Surrey

About this mezcal

Vago Tobala from maestro mezcalero Joel Barriga is produced in Hacienda Tapanala, Oaxaca. Joel is Aquilino’s cousin and his family has also been making mezcal for many generations. Aquilino worked with Joel for several months to ensure that Joel’s mezcal Espadin would be similar to his own and now this Tobala (and other releases from Joel are an extension of that). His agaves are crushed by tahona and double distilled in copper.

Vago Mezcal

Mezcal Vago began when co-founder Judah Kuper visited a hospital in Oaxaca, Mexico. He fell in love with the nurse who treated him. Her father, Aquilino Garcia, was a sustenance farmer who also produced mezcal. Judah and Aquilino, along with Judah's longtime friend Dylan Sloan, launched Mezcal Vago. In 2013, their first exported bottles arrived in Texas. Each of their mezcals is produced naturally in a traditional palenque with no additives. The brand aims to empower both the master craftsmen with a celebration of his art. Also the consumer by giving them the knowledge they need to find a great mezcal. The brand plants 3 agaves for each single agave they harvest. Their goal is to end the use wild agave by 2025 for most of their releases.

In 2017, Mezcal Vago began using different color labels for their different mezcaleros. Emigdio Jarquin (blue label) distills in copper with refrescador. Aquilino and Joel Barriga (tan and gold labels respectively) distill in copper. Tio Rey (red label) distills in clay pots. All their mezcaleros use different water sources and make different distillation cuts. In 2018, Mezcal Vago established an investment partnership with Samson and Surrey. With the new partnership, each Mezcal Vago mezcalero has a stake in Samson and Surrey.

In 2021, Mezcal Vago went through its first major brand redesign since their launch in 2013.

Learn more Mezcal Vago:

5 reviews

4.1 out of 5

Americana Kyle

Americana Kyle

60 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars2 weeks ago

LOTJ-01-TOB-20 /51.2%

This Texas-only release is quite fantastic, I think Joel Barriga crafted an excellent elixir from Tobala in a very similar fashion to his Espadin.

TzotollineRaramuri

TzotollineRaramuri

75 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars4 months ago

MM JB; 300Lts, March 2020 – Texas Label.
?- clear
?- drying impact, slight prickling effect.
Aromas of greenness; aloe vera, vegetal & ginger, green beans, raw pine wood, and pine cone, barely cooked sweet potato, light honey, lemon & lime zest, light rubber/plastic.
Adequate & complex production.
Average length and fine character.
?- astringent effect with warming and coating highlights; sufficient rough-smooth alcohol; medium-full body.
Primarily sour taste with salt, bitter & piquant highlights; buttery-oily smoothness.
Flavors of greenness; aloe vera, peppercorn, ginger spice, lime pith & zest, chamomile, honey & agave nectar.
Medium concentration flavor intensity, slight complex character, bold & harmonious balance.
Straightforward and very long finish.
Very Good to Excellent overall impression.

*Bold yet harmonious, well balanced in spite of an initial of rough tactile alcohol sensation, but great typicity and character.

Learn more about organoleptic evaluation at the International Wine & Spirits Guild’s seminar in Fine Spirits,
or more on Agave Spirits certifications through the Agave Spirits Institute.

MM JB; 300Lts, March 2020 – Texas Label.
?- clear
?- drying impact, slight prickling effect.
Aromas of greenness; aloe vera, vegetal & ginger, green beans, raw pine wood, and pine cone, barely cooked sweet potato, light honey, lemon & lime zest, light rubber/plastic.
Adequate & complex production.
Average length and fine character.
?- astringent effect with warming and coating highlights; sufficient rough-smooth alcohol; medium-full body.
Primarily sour taste with salt, bitter

Read more
TheAgaveFairy

TheAgaveFairy

164 reviews
Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars7 months ago

Vago JB Tobala for Texas
20 May 2021

51.2% $129.99

Color:

Nose: Sweet agave, leaning green, not terribly far in profile from his nice espadin but this has a lot of polish and focus for the proof. Honey, papaya, culantro, mild peppers and a touch of yogurt. Gentle mint, something akin to graphite, lots of warm sweet soil, light bovine savory tones. Really good example of a neutral leaning tobala.

Palate: There’s that wonderful texture, viscous and round like most other Vagos interestingly. Anywho, caramel and other toasted sugar notes, light blanched and toasted almond, more honeyed papaya, light cayenne, fresher herbs (hierba santa), with a good length of finish that’s more earth driven with some cracked peppercorns too.

Thoughts: Viscous, caramelized tobala. Proof is so damned in control, really masterful distillation.

There’s just something lacking, for me and my palate. That’s subjective. But damn nice pour, I can’t wait for more from this producer. If you like Vago and this profile, consider getting your hands on one. I think for the right palate it would be a top notch classic, like Greenspoint highlighted so nicely.

Vago JB Tobala for Texas
20 May 2021
51.2% $129.99
Color:
Nose: Sweet agave, leaning green, not terribly far in profile from his nice espadin but this has a lot of polish and focus for the proof. Honey, papaya, culantro, mild peppers and a touch of yogurt. Gentle mint, something akin to graphite, lots of warm sweet soil, light bovine savory tones. Really good example of a neutral leaning tobala.
Palate: There’s that wonderful texture, viscous and round like most other Vagos interestingly. Any

Read more
GreenspointTexas

GreenspointTexas

323 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars10 months ago

This Texas-only release gave me FOMO bad; however, im glad I pulled the trigger on a bottle of this. Tobala’s arent usually my favorite, but this one is a tad different. Instead of the bubblegum/pepto/mint chocolate that I usually get, this one is more “dirty”. Leather, mushroom, cilantro, and a sugar cookie backbone. One of my new favorites!

Jonny

Jonny

537 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars10 months ago

Lot J-01-TOB-20. Aromas of crushed black pepper, sandalwood, patchouli incense, pine, and strawberries. The palate takes a minute to open up. Notes of leather, wet hay, tapioca, brown rice, and asparagus. A bit of mint on the finish.

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