I'm an old fart (55 yrs.), and these are my first AT boots. I'm coming over from being a dedicated telemark skier. In that regard, I've owned old bumblebee Scarpa T1s, the Garmont Genesis, Syner-Gs, Ener-Gs and currently ski in the 2009/10 T1's, which are my favorite tele boot of all time (so far).
The Maestrales are absolutely superb boots. They are the most comfortable, the lightest, the stiffest boot, and the best for touring or hiking that I've owned (so far).
I have not cooked the liners, and don't planned to. For me, the boots have been super comfortable from day one without any thermo-forming.
I've only used these boots to drive Volkl Kendo (177cm), which weighs about 7.5 lbs, but the Maestrales are so stiff that I'm confident they could drive a much bigger ski. I'm using Dynafit Speed bindings with these. Hope this helps!