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Mal Bien Papalote Velilla – Barranca

Mal Bien Papalote Velilla was distilled by Don Ciro Barranca and his grandson Javier. "Velilla" refers to the agaves being harvested after full maturity but before quiotes had grown.

Rating: (4 reviews)
Category:Destilado de Agave
Brand:Agave Mixtape, Mal Bien
Mezcalero:Ciro Barranca, Javier Barranca
Town:Chilapa de Álvarez
ABV: 47.3%
Batch size: 95 liters (March 2021 batch)
Release year: 2021
Website: https://www.mezcalmalbien.com/, opens in new window

About this destilado de agave

Mal Bien Papalote Velilla was distilled by Don Ciro Barranca and his grandson Javier in Chilapa de Alvarez, Guerrero. The pair have worked together since 2014 after Javier spent most of his 20s in “El Norte”. This batch of Papalote (Agave cupreata) was made by Javier using maguey from the Las Joyas region to the north of Ahuacuotzintla, where the Barrancas work. The agaves used were “velilla”, meaning they were fully mature, but had not yet grown quiotes. The plants were cooked for 4-5 days in a 10 ton pit, rested for 1 day, milled using a wood chipper, fermented for 5-7 days, and then double distilled using two 400 liter copper alambique stills. The final spirit was adjusted using puntas and colas.

The 95 liter batch released under Agave Mixtape volume 6 was distilled in March 2021.

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

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.


Javier and Ciro talk a bit about what makes this batch special, and about the grandfather-grandson work dynamic in their fabrica.

Member rating

4.13 out of 5

4 reviews



421 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Do they make any bad Mezcal in Guerrero? They must right?!?! I haven’t had any though. Pine forest, peppermint candy, ground coriander seed, carraway, Almond Roca Toffee candy. Yum.



229 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars3 years ago

This had me at mal bien papalote. Been riding the wave of Guerrero papalotes recently and was happy to see this in agave mixtape vol. 6. It has the nice coffee and toffee notes I get from other bottles from Guerrero.



385 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars3 years ago

Really enjoy this. Wasnt expecting rose hips, turbinado, and cedar, but here we are. All I can think about when I sip on this are the words “deep woods.” Tough to put into words, but really awesome papalote. May be the best example of the varietal ive ever had.

Zack Klamn

Zack Klamn

542 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars3 years ago

Nose – Chopped sweet red bell pepper. Lemon drops candy. Cucumber slices.

Palate – Cake icing. Biting into a fresh, green pepper with lingering bits of garden soil. White pepper heat and smoked, well-salted tri tip in the finish. Aftertaste still smoky but has a dry, champagne note.

Pretty solid offering from Mal Bien.

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