Juan Fernández-Ensamble

The Master of the Agave

Juan practices the increasingly rare tradition of distilling lechuguilla. In the majestic town of Madera his process is true to his ancestral traditions. He shares with us that the wisdom to prepare lechuguilla is an art of patience. He explains that “Capar,” the Agaves months in advance in preparation, is one of those acts of patience that distinguish lechuguilla. Sotol is added to aid in the fermentation of the distillate. Juan has worked to refine his processes over time and is constantly inspired to make each batch better than the last one.

Distilled in Madera, a city located in the northwest of Chihuahua, at an altitude of 6,900 feet above sea level, this area is known for its coniferous forest vegetation. Its high altitude provides a cool subtropical climate, with humid summers and cold and dry winters.


  • JF-ENS-01

    June 2023, 46.39% ABV, rested 3 months in glass

MAESTRO VINATERO – Juan Fernández, 4th generation

RAW MATERIAL – 60% wild Dasylirion Wheeleri / 40% wild Maguey Cenizo (the sotol & agave plants)

VIÑATA – Madera, Chihuahua, MX

PLANT SOURCE – Las Escobas, Chihuahua, MX

SOURCE CLIMATE – Coniferous forests, humid summers but cold & dry winters, elevation 6,900’

PLANT MATURITY – Madurado en verde 15 years

ROAST – 3 days in an underground conical horno with pine wood, covered with volcanic stone

CRUSH – Mechanical

WILD FERMENTATION – 7 days in stainless steel & tomba

DISTILLATION – Stainless steel alembic, first with pine wood & then with gas

ADJUSTMENT METHOD – With well water until it is parejo

AROMA – Warming spices, tropical fruits, browned butter
TASTE – Woodsy, eucalyptus, pine needles
TEXTURE – Balanced, kind, refreshing

Production Process

Agave / Sotol
This ensamble is a mixture of agave and sotol - about 60% is Agave durangensis, locally called cenizo. The rest is sotol wheeleri. All of the plants are harvested in the Las Escobas region, slightly northwest of Madera.
The agave and sotol piñas are roasted together for 3 days in an earthen oven with pine wood. The oven is conical, and covered with volcanic stones during the cook.
Juan uses a small mechanical mill to process the cooked piñas.
Fermentation is done in stainless steel tanks and tombas. It is completely natural with ambient yeast, and takes about 7 days.
Distillation is done in stainless steel. The first pass is with pine wood, and then gas is used during the second distillation so that the temperature can be controlled with increased precision.