Review: Avion Silver Tequila

In addition to reviewing spirits, I’m also a licensed pilot. As such, I’m a sucker for anything aviation-related, and especially aviation-related spirits like Ryan Reynold’s Aviation Gin. So, naturally, I was drawn to Avion — which was founded by a couple of airplane nerds and named after the Spanish word for airplane.


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History

Tequila Avion was founded in 2009 by two businessmen and aviation enthusiasts named Ken Austin and Kenny Dichter. Austin had been an accountant by trade, but had also spent some time working at Seagram and Gallo Wine to build his knowledge of the alcohol business. Ditcher had founded Marquis Jet, a private aviation company that eventually was sold to NetJets. Together, the two had a vision for creating the best tequila in the world and naming it after their shared passion: aviation.

Product

The folks behind Tequila Avion really seem to have taken the time to invest in doing tequila the “correct” way.

As with other premium tequilas, this starts out as a crop of 100% blue agave plants that are grown in the town of Jesus Maria in Jalisco, Mexico. This location is reportedly one of the highest points in Mexico, and the plants are grown for about seven to ten years before they are harvested by hand. The plants are then shaved of their leaves, leaving only the hard cores behind.

Those agave cores are shipped to their facility where they are slow roasted in a brick oven, which is a rather traditional method of cooking the plants. This process converts the plant fibers into fermentable sugars and also helps impart some interesting flavors into the final product.

There’s no mention of how the roasted cores are treated next, so I’m assuming that they are shredded (as is common for most mass production facilities) to release the sugary liquid inside. That liquid is then fermented and distilled into raw tequila.

Following distillation, Tequila Avion has one more process to perform: a slow filtration of the newly made spirit. This proprietary filtration process reportedly takes ten times longer than other industry standard methods… but according to Tequila Avion, it’s one of the keys to their product’s success.

For this blanco version of their tequila, the spirit is simply proofed down and shipped without any further aging.

Packaging

I appreciate that this isn’t just another wine-bottle-shape vessel with some stickers on it. The shape of the body here is more like a rounded off brick, with distinctively flat sides and debossed sections on the sides that resemble a masonry brick. I might be reaching here a bit, but it feels like an allusion to the brick ovens used to heat the agave cores and I like that. The base is a thick piece of glass, which is smart engineering that will let this really light up on an under-lit liquor shelf. And the whole thing is capped off with a premium feeling wood and cork stopper.

As for the label, it’s exactly what I look for: minimally invasive with maximum impact. Most of the space on the bottle is transparent, letting the clear, clean liquid shine through. There’s some good space used for the brand name, but the important stuff is on a gray band at the bottom of the bottle where it looks like the batch and bottle number have actually been written on the bottle by hand.

Neat

There are some great aromas coming out of this glass — in fact, way more than you’d usually expect from a clear liquor. Front and center is that herbal and sweet agave note, but there’s also a lot of citrus fruit thrown, like you’ve already added a shot of lemon and lime juice. There’s also a bit of black pepper spice in there adding some depth and complexity.

While the aroma might be intriguing and complex, the actual flavor of the spirit is muted in comparison — probably thanks to that slow filtration process. It’s certainly a smooth experience without any roughness or bitterness, but the flavors seem like they have been covered by a light blanket. I get the black pepper spice as pretty much the first thing to come through, followed by some of the citrus fruit… but the herbal agave seems to be more of a background player here. It’s a little disappointing for a tequila, especially a blanco where that agave note is supposed to really shine through.

On Ice

Ice can do some funny things. Normally, what you find is that the lighter flavors are significantly toned down to the point of being lost, and the richer aspects are made much more palatable. But here, we’ve almost got the reverse — and to mixed, but mostly good, effect.

I’m getting a lot more of the herbal agave flavors coming through at this point. It still isn’t very strong, but it is much more identifiable than before. The black pepper spice is still hanging in there as well, but the citrus seems to have morphed into something just a touch bitter compared to what it was before. Not the end of the world, but an unfortunate progression.

I wouldn’t call this entirely better — just different, and still solid.

Cocktail (Margarita)

What I’m looking for in a margarita is that the tequila actually plays a role. Countreau and lime juice are powerful mixers, so it takes an equally formidable spirit to be an equal partner in that mix.

Usually, that’s expressed in terms of some herbal agave notes, but here I’m really not getting much of any of the flavors from the tequila. If anything, the flavor that comes through clearest is the citrus. Which is a problem, as the citrus from the lime juice was already powerful enough. At this point, it might even be classified as “overpowering”.


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Overall Rating

This absolutely does what it says on the label: this is a smooth, milquetoast tequila that isn’t likely to ruffle any feathers. But that’s also the problem. By filtering this tequila so thoroughly, it removes all of the character… leaving behind only a faint trace of what once was.

The point of a tequila, even a blanco, is to taste the flavors. Casamigos gives us a ton of vanilla. Exotico gives us a bunch of herbal agave. Even Teremana (which Ken Austin, Avion co-founder, collaborated on) has more herbaceous cut grass than this. In this case, it smells great but the flavors fail to deliver. And for this price, that’s disappointing.

Avion Silver Tequila
Produced By: Avion
Production Location: Mexico
Classification: Tequila
Aging: Blanco
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $34.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating:
All reviews are evaluated within the context of their specific spirit classification as specified above. Click here to check out similar spirits we have reviewed.

Overall Rating: 2/5
A smooth tequila that smells amazing, but the flavor does not live up to that promise.


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