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Mal Bien Sierra Negra

Mal Bien Sierra Negra is produced using a fast-growing Agave americana variant grown near the Ramos’ home and palenque.

Rating: (8 reviews)
Category:Destilado de Agave
Brand:Mal Bien Mezcal
Mezcalero:Emanuel Ramos, Victor Ramos
Maguey:Sierra Negra
Agave:Americana
Grind:Tahona
Distillation:Refrescador
Style:Joven
State:Oaxaca
Town:Miahuatlán
ABV: 46-47%
Age of plant: 8-9 years
Batch size: 48 liters (batch 1219VFR)
Website: https://www.mezcalmalbien.com/, opens in new window

About this destilado de agave

Mal Bien Sierra Negra is made with the rare maguey Sierra Negra (Agave americana). The first batch released by Mal Bien was a small 48 liter batch, of which only 24 bottles were released under the Mal Bien label in the US as a K&L Wines exclusive. A later release, batch 0520ER from May 2020, yielded 396 bottles.

The agaves were cultivated on the family’s land below the house and roasted for six days in the Ramos’ underground ovens over encino, palo de aguila, yegareche, and mesquite wood. The cooked agave was rested for another week before being crushed by horse drawn tahona. The agave was then fermented for 8 days in sabino wood tanks and adjusted only with puntas and colas.

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.

8 reviews

4.25 out of 5

peter-campora

peter-campora

6 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars2 months ago

2 lots to review:

I forgot the lot number on this first batch and couldn’t find the batch info on Mal Bien’s site. I do remember it ended with VR, though.

Nose: Such a strong fruit gum note. Strawberries. A hint of leaves.

Palate: So much bubble gum up front. It’s followed by cherry and then an odd spice. It kind of reminds me of cherry limeade.

Finish: There’s some spice and earthy veggies (potatoes and carrots?) toward the finish. Good length.

Overall: This is a nice value. I have my biases. The Ramos duo hits often for my palate. Victor’s mezcal especially.

Score: 8-/10

The second lot is: 0520ER. I’m assuming this is Emmanuel Ramos since this lot ends with ER, and the other I tried ends with VR.

Nose: Lime. Wet bushes. A hint of gum. Nose is dominated by the lime/citrus note.

Palate: There’s more gum on the palate, but the lime persists along with some wood notes and spring mix esque notes. There’s a bit of a petrol note that’s off putting.

Finish: Herbs appear in the finish and join that tart lime. On the shorter side, length wise.

Overall: I got this for a good price, so I’d say the bottle is worth it, but it’s not my favorite pour from Emmanuel Ramos. It’s better than the Madrecuixe/Bicuixe/Tepextate but not as good as some of his other bottles with Mal Bien. I like the slightly candied lime that appears, although there’s other notes that detract from the experience for me.

Score: 6+/10

2 lots to review:
I forgot the lot number on this first batch and couldn’t find the batch info on Mal Bien’s site. I do remember it ended with VR, though.
Nose: Such a strong fruit gum note. Strawberries. A hint of leaves.
Palate: So much bubble gum up front. It’s followed by cherry and then an odd spice. It kind of reminds me of cherry limeade.
Finish: There’s some spice and earthy veggies (potatoes and carrots?) toward the finish. Good length.
Overall: This is a nice va

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COak

COak

195 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars10 months ago

Batch 0520ER from May 2020. Has a lot of bubblegum. Vegetal, minerals. Agree with Tyler about al dente flavor. Nice expression from Mihuatlan

Tyler

Tyler

579 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars10 months ago

Super green. Gummy worms. White sugar and some raw zucchini. Flavors make me think of “al dente” agave like it wasn’t fully cooked so there are still fresh green flavors remaining. Short dry finish. As you warm up to it notes of fruit start to appear.. I need a larger dram! Batch 0520ER from May 2020. 3.75/5 stars.

JDB

JDB

67 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars11 months ago

My bottle is a 47.4% abv, so I have a different batch than is listed above. Fermentation in cypress vats, using well water, and adjusted after distillation with puntas and colas. Batch # 0520ER. I have two bottles from Victor Ramos via Mezcaloteca of Jabili/Esapdin and Tepeztate that are outstanding. Among the best mezcales that I have ever tasted.

I am thoroughly enjoying this bottle as well. The nose and first sip had a meat-like flavor, like cured sausage and a wood flavor that could be mesquite. The flavor on the palate moves to pine and bit of cardamom. The abv does not make it too hot, and the flavor does not have the candy or fruit -like qualities mentioned by the other reviews from the previous batch. Would buy another Ramos offering without even knowing the agave.

My bottle is a 47.4% abv, so I have a different batch than is listed above. Fermentation in cypress vats, using well water, and adjusted after distillation with puntas and colas. Batch # 0520ER. I have two bottles from Victor Ramos via Mezcaloteca of Jabili/Esapdin and Tepeztate that are outstanding. Among the best mezcales that I have ever tasted.
I am thoroughly enjoying this bottle as well. The nose and first sip had a meat-like flavor, like cured sausage and a wood flavor that could

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GreenspointTexas

GreenspointTexas

362 reviews
Rated 4 out of 5 stars1 year ago

Rock Candy. Cotton Candy. Simple Syrup. Molasses. Caramel. Ben Gay. Pine? Marshmallows

Rakhal

Rakhal

373 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Batch: 1219 VFR.
I really wish I had bought two bottles of this one, the 24 bottles sold out fast. For me this Mezcal is tropical fruit and flowers. Coconut milk, pineapple, vanilla ice cream, Oreo cookies, and lots of roses. I like this a lot! I tasted it side by side with the Alberto Martinez 5 Sentidos Sierra Negra which is one of my all time favorites and it held up well. I can’t wait to try the other Ramos batches!

donpedro

donpedro

39 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Batch: 1219VFR (K&L Exclusive); ABV: 46.09%; Lot size: 48 L, w/ only 24 bottles imported.

The nose on this thing is just outstanding! Saltwater taffy meets pine, spice, and moscato grapes. Palate is more taffy with moscato and just a touch of coffee grounds. The woody, spice characteristics stick around for a bit as well. Delicious sierra negra. I still just slightly prefer the SN from Cinco Sentidos, but just barely. I still cannot believe there are only 24 bottles in the US; absolutely insane. This is a great bottle, especially given the price/rarity quotient.

Batch: 1219VFR (K&L Exclusive); ABV: 46.09%; Lot size: 48 L, w/ only 24 bottles imported.
The nose on this thing is just outstanding! Saltwater taffy meets pine, spice, and moscato grapes. Palate is more taffy with moscato and just a touch of coffee grounds. The woody, spice characteristics stick around for a bit as well. Delicious sierra negra. I still just slightly prefer the SN from Cinco Sentidos, but just barely. I still cannot believe there are only 24 bottles in the US; absolutely ins

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Jonny

Jonny

603 reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars2 years ago

Woah! Lots of sugary bubblegum on the nose. More fruity notes of cherry and red grapes. Also a lot woodiness on the nose. Aromas of sandalwood, cedar, and dried cinnamon sticks mixing with sweeter notes of bubblegum. I could smell this all day. The palate is sticky with rich bubblegum and these long, luxurious notes of fresh fruit: melon, papaya, and strawberry. A bit of heat, but a huge payout, and no alcohol present. Amazing. Batch 1219 VFR

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