Iván Saldaña


Montelobos Espadín

Iván Saldaña is a premier agave plant and distillation master, an expert in tequila and mezcal, and a certified doctor with aPhD in biochemistry from the University of Sussex in England.

Born in Guadalajara, México, Ivan has spent his life around agave, having worked on environmental and social projects in rural communities of central and southern Mexico, as well as in conservation areas in the United States and Chile. His thirst to understand nature’s nuances led him to study biology and pursue graduate studies in various countries.

His academic research has focused primarily on understanding the evolutionary path of the agave plant, the biological mechanisms that have shaped the agave’s diversity, and the biochemical characteristics that have allowed its adaptation to arid climates.

Ivan has worked with various companies as a specialist in scientific and technical matters of agave, as well as issues related to quality assurance in production, product innovation and environmental responsibility.

Iván’s passion for agave inspired him to create an idyllic mezcal brand; in 2011, Ivan developed and started to produced Montelobos Espadín, while early this year Montelobos started to make new expressions in Puebla Mexico, still pendant to become available in the US.

For Iván, Montelobos mezcal is about the efforts to obtain the perfect flavor profile through a process of intricate research and collaboration with maestros mezcaleros. Montelobos Espadín has received recognition between bartenders comunity and consumers. It earned the 2013 and 2017 a double gold medal at the San Francisco Spirits Competition.

Today, he maintains advisory activities with various industry players and participate in other craft spririt projects in and out of the mezcal category. He is a founding partner in Ancho Reyes Chilli liquor, and he is also partner at Casa Lumbre Spirits, a Mexican spirit venture dedicated to bring to life new spirits and brands from the ancestral Mexican roots flavors into alcoholic products.

Ivan spends a big part of his time to agave and mezcal education through conferences and seminars around the world. He has different publications including “Anatomia del Mezcal”, an introductory book on the basis of this extraordinary spirit.