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Mal Bien Alto

Mal Bien Alto is the brand’s first release produced by Don Isidro Rodriguez Montoya in Rio de Parras, Michoacán.

Rating: (17 reviews)
Category:Destilado de Agave
Cost:$$$
Brand:Agave Mixtape, Mal Bien Mezcal
Mezcalero:Isidro Rodriguez Montoya
Maguey:Alto
Agave:Inaequidens
Grind:Hand
Style:Joven
State:Michoacán
Town:Rio de Parras
ABV: 46.58%
Batch size: 1019IRM: 266 bottles
Website: https://www.mezcalmalbien.com/, opens in new window

About this destilado de agave

Mal Bien Alto is produced by Don Isidro Rodriguez Montoya in Rio de Parras, Michoacán. Don Isidro’s Alto defies a lot of stereotypes of mezcal from Michoacán, specifically its clean, mineral-driven character, and lack of funky lactic notes. Isidro avoids the cheesy notes by creating relatively fast fermentations. Some producers in the region will ferment for 30+ days, while Isidro ferments for just 8-10 days. He achieves this by adding a couple liters of pulque to every thousand liters of mashed agave. Don Isidro is a first generation Mezcalero who didn’t take up the craft of distilling agave until he was 19 years old. After sharing the communal vinata for 14 years, he built his own vinata in 2015, where he currently distills all his agave.

This Mal Bien Alto was released both as an independent bottle and as part of Agave Mixtape Volume 3.

Agave Mixtape

Agave Mixtape brings the best agave spirits together in one place – your place. Agave Mixtape is a subscription based service. Subscribers receive boxes with three 200ml bottles from three different brands – Lalocura, Mal Bien, and Neta (and maybe a few surprises) – filled with batches picked especially for Agave Mixtape, and not available anywhere else in the USA. Each box includes production notes on the batches, along with links to photos, and virtual tastings with the people behind the brands and the mezcaleros. You can subscribe directly from their website.

Mal Bien Mezcal

Since 2016, the Mal Bien team has been traveling Mexico, driving off the map and into mountains filled with treacherous roads, police officers of questionable moral character, feral dogs, indigenous languages, narcos, ancient relics, machete wielding protestors, insect based meals, mudslides, blockades, corrupt politicians, and many of the world’s kindest, funniest, most brilliant people. In addition to some hard to believe stories, they’ve connected with a wide variety of traditional producers, whose mezcal is now bottled and exported under the Mal Bien name.

17 reviews

4.12 out of 5

BKbobby

BKbobby

6 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars2 months ago

Mouthwatering in such a strange and wonderful way. It tastes like I’m drinking it inside of a greenhouse – somehow my mouth feels humid. It reminds me of fresh cut, green wood, moss, melons and cucumbers. So fun and different from other mezcales I’ve had from Michoacan. I return to this one again and again.

Ranger_Ryan

Ranger_Ryan

9 reviews
Rated 5 out of 5 stars2 months ago

Lot 0120IRM
44.2% Abv
Wow! So this is what the hype is all about?? This is what people talk about when they speak of the mysterious flavors that can be coaxed out of the agave? Well, then I’m on board. Melon, cantaloupe, watermelon, a little hot and a little sweetness. And then the backend hits you with a tongue tingling minerality, like it’s almost carbonated. Wild stuff.

thomaselliott

thomaselliott

14 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars3 months ago

Lot: 03/20 IRM
First smells are from fresh out of the garden green peppers with a sweet herbaceous nose.
Tasing this the first time, you get those fresh green peppers, but it comes with a lactic/cheesiness. Definitely a lot of funk adjacent to the fresh peppers with a certain sweetness that makes for a wonderfully complex distillate. I’ve now finished this bottle and it’s always an entertaining sip. Michoacán has been constantly surprising me. Maybe I’ve been lucky but every time I’ve had a Michoacán Mezcal, it feels like they are saying to Oaxacan Palenques “hold my copita” and then doing something differently enough that it’s underscoring the art of this process.

Lot: 03/20 IRM
First smells are from fresh out of the garden green peppers with a sweet herbaceous nose.
Tasing this the first time, you get those fresh green peppers, but it comes with a lactic/cheesiness. Definitely a lot of funk adjacent to the fresh peppers with a certain sweetness that makes for a wonderfully complex distillate. I’ve now finished this bottle and it’s always an entertaining sip. Michoacán has been constantly surprising me. Maybe I’ve been lucky but ever

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meserole

meserole

72 reviews
Rated 3 out of 5 stars1 year ago

Super sharp on the nose – spicy floral alcohol.
A bit of sharpies and dull white sugar, maybe a bit of citrus pith on the mouth. It’s certainly not a super mainstream mezcal, but the ways in which this are complex don’t appeal to me at all. Too hot and astringent.

Tyler

Tyler

579 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars1 year ago

Lot 1019IRM, October 2019. This one has received a lot of well-deserved praise. I think it was the first non-Oaxaca release from Mal Bien and what a great pick! An earlier review mentioned watermelon and I’m totally getting watermelon Jolly Ranchers in this mezcal. I wonder if the pulque influences the flavor or not? It is a pretty “clean” tasting mezcal with big fruit notes and some minerality. The finish is spiced spearmint. 4.5 stars.

Agave Mixtape vol. 3 (Batch 1119IRM, Nov. 2019) has that cheese funk note which isn’t present in the prior batch. For me, it is really good but doesn’t have the same level of complexity as the October 2019 production. 3.5 stars.

Lot 1019IRM, October 2019. This one has received a lot of well-deserved praise. I think it was the first non-Oaxaca release from Mal Bien and what a great pick! An earlier review mentioned watermelon and I’m totally getting watermelon Jolly Ranchers in this mezcal. I wonder if the pulque influences the flavor or not? It is a pretty “clean” tasting mezcal with big fruit notes and some minerality. The finish is spiced spearmint. 4.5 stars.
Agave Mixtape vol. 3 (Batch 1119IRM, Nov

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James Christian

James Christian

22 reviews
Rated 3 out of 5 stars1 year ago

Nose: Lots of perfume, but like an old grammas perfume mixed with freshly applied SprayNet and mothballs.
Mouth and taste: it went way up to the top of my palate with this intense heat. That’s where the hairspray stayed.- Then it settles down a bit – but i did not like this one. Maybe I was scarred as a kid with too many old ladies in church grabbing my cheeks and offering me cheap shitty gum from their SprayNet covered purses.

Azi

Azi

31 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars1 year ago

Woah! totally different than what I’ve has so far.
Nose: watermelon rind, distant warm spices (clove, cardamom), new car, dry erase marker (just tested that one with a green expo! lol). maybe some wet stone (get that a lot w mezcal so it could just be me). teeniest bit of a wood fire
Mouth: cucumber (especially those tiny ones that look like small watermelons), turmeric, underripe banana. vanilla; in a sweet way that reminds me of what oak does for bourbon.

This one is from a tasting pack via Drammers, from Batch 1019IRM

Woah! totally different than what I’ve has so far.
Nose: watermelon rind, distant warm spices (clove, cardamom), new car, dry erase marker (just tested that one with a green expo! lol). maybe some wet stone (get that a lot w mezcal so it could just be me). teeniest bit of a wood fire
Mouth: cucumber (especially those tiny ones that look like small watermelons), turmeric, underripe banana. vanilla; in a sweet way that reminds me of what oak does for bourbon.
This one is from a tasting pack

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t8ke

t8ke

144 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars1 year ago

Clean, fresh. Cucumber water, hibiscus, pepper, fresh pepper and onion, zesty lime and a bright pop of sweetness. Lovely. Faint ash on the back palate. This is lovely, so diverse, all over the place. It reminds me of some of my favorite Tep’s.

El-Dawg

El-Dawg

165 reviews
Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

200ml from Agave Mixtape.
Unique and appealing smell. Melon, cream, vanilla. Some lemon. Taste to me is tad astringent, fabric softer. Overall tasted seemed to go down the longer I had it open. First Alto agave.
Review #78

Zack Klamn

Zack Klamn

471 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Nose: Wet soil. Sweet berries. Raw asparagus.

Palate: Earthy! Icing sugar. Peppermint ice cream. Hint of cheesy funk. Cigar tobacco finish with a nice, warm heat. Salty, mineral aftertaste along with the quality smoke.

I love this 200 mL – it’s super unique! I would definitely pony up for a full bottle for the repertoire!

GreenspointTexas

GreenspointTexas

362 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars2 years ago

4.25/5

Imagine a dry, hot, summer day. Hot wind stirs up dust. Sweat beading on your brow. You scan the horizon for a place to take refuge. All you see is orange hued sepia and dead grass. Suddenly, an oasis appears with all the crystal clear water you can stomach; served to you in glass carafes by toga laden supermodels. Is this real or a dream?

HighWine

HighWine

63 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

This is amazingly unique and delicious. Honeydew, cantaloupe, and cucumber fragrances hit big on the nose with a hint of ash when you look for it. Taste is much more Earthy and less fruity than the nose. Potting soil, clay, and smoke from wet leaves dominate along with faint sweetness that resembles burnt pie crust. Medium bodied and slightly oily in the mouth. One of the more interesting agave expressions you’ll have.

rsidrys

rsidrys

50 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Absolutely delightful! At first whiff, I could tell this had something unique about it. I’m assuming this is because I’ve had little exposure to spirits from Michoacán.

It’s super clean, but definitely not sterile. Has a nice play between minerality and fruitiness. I have to give credit to the reviewer who said freeze-dried strawberries…spot on! It has complexity too, but instead of trying to put my finger on all those notes, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy this one for whatever it is.

I had a sample sent to me as part of a virtual tasting. I bought a bottle online before the night was over. Amazing price point!

Absolutely delightful! At first whiff, I could tell this had something unique about it. I’m assuming this is because I’ve had little exposure to spirits from Michoacán.
It’s super clean, but definitely not sterile. Has a nice play between minerality and fruitiness. I have to give credit to the reviewer who said freeze-dried strawberries…spot on! It has complexity too, but instead of trying to put my finger on all those notes, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy this one for whate

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Jonny

Jonny

603 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Batch:1019IRM. Look at the legs on this! Aromas of apple juice, blue airheads, new Legos, guava, and just a touch of soft cheese. Palate notes of leather, guava, cloves, strawberries, and apple cider. There’s this element of new clothing or new fabric that is nice and unexpected. This mezcal is almost sticky on the palate. It’s light, but the finish is long. I’m really enjoying this. The more I sip it, the more strawberry and berry notes open on the palate.

SwatSaladin

SwatSaladin

19 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Batch 1019IRM. The nose checks a lot of boxes. Strong underripe melon rind that flirts with cucumber (specifically, boiled cucumber), so fresh and so mouth-watering! Really delicate sweetness, like powdered sugar or freeze-dried strawberries. I can see the argument for caramelized onions on the nose, too. The palate blows me away. An absolute explosion of fleshy and juicy red berries especially strawberry, accompanied by spearmint goodness. This is just crazy delicious. Did someone say strawberry shortcake generously garnished with mint? The finish is long, tingly, and prominently features herbaceous mint that gives way to a really pleasant fruity sweetness.

This absolutely blew me away. I would be happy to drink this nearly every day of the week. Everything about the flavor profile just clicks with me. I’m not getting any of the savory notes I’ve heard many mention, but I sure wish I had a bottle to revisit and see it evolve.

Batch 1019IRM. The nose checks a lot of boxes. Strong underripe melon rind that flirts with cucumber (specifically, boiled cucumber), so fresh and so mouth-watering! Really delicate sweetness, like powdered sugar or freeze-dried strawberries. I can see the argument for caramelized onions on the nose, too. The palate blows me away. An absolute explosion of fleshy and juicy red berries especially strawberry, accompanied by spearmint goodness. This is just crazy delicious. Did someone say strawberr

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Rakhal

Rakhal

373 reviews
Rated 5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Update #2: Batch: Agave Mixtape Vol. #3.
4 stars. November 2019 and there is quite a difference! It’s got the new car smell, tennis balls and cedar, sandalwood and some white grape juice but comes across as thinner and less complex than the October batch. It’s still damn good though.

Mal Bien full bottle October 2019 Batch:1019IRM.
Update: As I’ve made my way through this bottle I just love it more and more, so I’ve upped my rating to five stars.

Wow. It’s hard for me to describe this one. Every time I taste it it’s different. There’s something that reminds me of “new car smell”, new vinyl upholstery, new tennis balls, over ripe pineapple, guava agua fresca, cinnamon, clove, wet garden soil, hay, cedar wood, sandalwood, white grape juice. I haven’t gotten any of the lactic or savory notes that donpedro got but they’ll probably be there next time I drink it. A chameleon Mezcal.

Update #2: Batch: Agave Mixtape Vol. #3.
4 stars. November 2019 and there is quite a difference! It’s got the new car smell, tennis balls and cedar, sandalwood and some white grape juice but comes across as thinner and less complex than the October batch. It’s still damn good though.
Mal Bien full bottle October 2019 Batch:1019IRM.
Update: As I’ve made my way through this bottle I just love it more and more, so I’ve upped my rating to five stars.
Wow. It’s hard for me to describe this

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donpedro

donpedro

39 reviews
Rated 3 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Cotija cheese, refried beans, and bacon fat on the nose. Bit of something medicinal in the background that I can’t quite make out – somewhat Tiger Balm/menthol. More cheese and pork lard funk on the palate with some dill and pepper. Personally, this is not up my alley, but it is still high quality juice for those that prefer these notes.

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