The scientific name for the Tepeztate maguey is Agave marmorata. Tepeztate is a fascinating agave for its long lifespan and ability to thrive in extreme terrains. One of the longest living magueys, Tepeztate has a shallow root system and can reach 15 to 25 years of age. It develops best in dry soils, preferably between rocks to drape its leaves over. Tepeztate’s leaves are wide and twisted at birth and have a small ripple at the tip. As an endemic Mexican agave, and more specifically to Oaxaca, Tepezate’s growth and reproduction is limited to the low forests and scrub of the Sierra Madre del Sur, from the eastern end of the Balsas River to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Its most singularly defining trait is the extended period it needs to reach maturation, between 25 and 35 years.
This maguey grows spontaneously on steep slopes with rocky soil. Sometimes Tepeztate will grow hanging from large, cliffside rocks, making the extraction of this plant very complex. But despite the extreme conditions in which it grows, Tepezate avoids erosion during the rainy season through its roots which adhere to the rocks.
Grulani’s Tepeztate is Distilled From 100% Agave Marmorata
Tepeztate is unique for many reasons, but perhaps mostly notable is the many years, it requires to reach maturation — up to 35. Its long life coupled with its ability to adapt to the most extreme soils translates into finely settled sugars that produce a sweet, spicy, earthy, and intensely vegetal mezcal.
To produce our Grulani Tepeztate, we need just about 25 kg of maguey per bottle. The time required to reach maturation and the amount of maguey needed to produce a bottle of this mezcal make it both a mystical and ritualistic practice. For our master mezcalero, Leo Hernández, Tepeztate is considered the king of mezcals.