Mezcal vs Tequila: What's the Difference? Mezcaleros at Mal de Amor harvesting Espadín agave.

Mezcal vs Tequila | What’s the Difference?

Tequila and Mezcal are both spirits produced from agave plants. In fact, because all spirits distilled from agave plants are "mezcal," technically tequila is a type of mezcal.

These two agave spirits are often thought of as interchangeable, but each has unique characteristics that result in different flavors and experiences. The easiest way to remember the differences between Mezcal vs Tequila is the Three P’s:

PLACE // Both are from Mexico, but Tequila is primarily produced in Jalisco, while Mezcal can be made in many states across Mexico. However, most mezcal you'll see in the U.S. is made in Oaxaca, about 80%, including Ilegal Mezcal.

PLANT // Tequila can only be made from Blue Weber agave, while Mezcal is made from a large variety of agaves, the most popular being Espadín agave.

PROCESS // Tequila is generally cooked with steam above ground, while Mezcal is roasted over a fire in earthen pits. Also, while Tequila is typically made in large quantities, Mezcal is nearly always made in small batches.


Handcrafted in small batches by fourth-generation mezcaleros, Ilegal Mezcal Joven, Reposado, and Añejo are all made with perfectly ripe, sustainable Espadín agave, double distilled in the Santiago Matatlan Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Our mezcal has a beautifully balanced profile, with a mouthful of agave and just a hint of smoke.

Elements of the Ilegal Mezcal production process can be seen in the photo gallery below. If you'd like to tour Mal de Amor, our partner palenque in Oaxaca, go to our Visit Oaxaca page to learn more.