The range of mezcals available in the U.S. is growing and the ones we are trying today represent a fantastic new range of offerings. The Mal de Amor distillery is owned and run by the Hernandez family and is located in Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca, Mexico. All of the mezcals we are trying are joven, which means they are unaged expressions, and have spent no time in oak. The price point on these mezcals may seem a bit high, but the quality justifies them across the board. Let’s give them a try.
Mal de Amor Mexicano Mezcal – Light nose, with notes of cedar and light smoke. It comes alive much more on the palate with lime-heavy citrus balanced with smoke and a rounded, creamy body. The finish introduces a touch of astringency, but overall, this is well balanced. 92 proof. A- / $100
Mal de Amor Barril Mezcal – The nose is fruity, herbal, and musky. On the palate, light smoke joins green pepper, a light corn sweetness, and a creamy mouthfeel. The finish is a touch short, but this is enjoyable on the whole. 90 proof. B+ / $100
Mal de Amor Tobala Mezcal – Nose is vegetal with bold agave character. Virtually no smoke appears on the nose, but it shows up gently on the palate along with lemon and a slightly sweet herbaceous note. This is a well-balanced Mezcal with sweetness, lemon, herbaceousness, and smoke all holding each other in check. It is surprisingly approachable for something so complex. Delicious. 92 proof. A / $100
Mal de Amor Cuishe Mezcal – Lime, smoke, and burnt tire notes meet the nose. This is the smokiest of the Mal de Amor mezcals, but it isn’t over the top. Smoky sweet bacon meets the palate along with a light, enjoyable, herbaceous character in the long finish. Balanced, bold, and impressive. 96 proof. A / $100
Mal de Amor Madre Cuishe Mezcal – Straight agave on the nose with a touch of smoke. The smoke is a bit more prominent on the palate, but it is not overwhelming and sits in balance with some sweetness and blue agave character. This is enjoyable Mezcal and could entice hesitant tequila fans to make the leap. 91 proof. B+ / $100
Mal de Amor Tepeztate Mezcal – Lemony and herbaceous on the nose. The palate tastes of candied green pepper and light smoke. It’s an odd note, but it fits the mezcal, and I like it. The finish is surprisingly long as the flavors slowly fade into a wisp of smoke. 90 proof. B+ / $115
Mal de Amor Sierra Negra Mezcal – The nose is herbal with heavy agave and slightly sweet. The palate is more assertive than the nose and shows integrated lime, green pepper, and black pepper. This is another great gateway mezcal for fans of tequila. 90 proof. B+ / $115