I’m always intrigued by celebrity endorsed spirits. It seldom seems to go well, usually resulting in a poor product that is really just a naked cash grab instead of a true passion project. There are some exceptions (as much as I laugh about it, Dan Ackroyd actually seems to be a massive driving force behind his Crystal Skull vodka, which I respect) but in general they usually come out pretty bland and uninteresting. Maybe that luck will change with this Nick Jonas and John Varvatos backed tequila? …Maybe.
Villa One is a brand of spirits founded and owned by celebrity singer Nick Jonas and American fashion designer John Varvatos. According to the press release, the idea for the brand came during a trip to Mexico where the two became inspired to launch a new tequila brand. Probably at the end of a long night of drinking tequila (much like how Ted Mosby wants to buy a bar).
The pair partnered with the Stoli Group, famous for Stolichnaya vodka in the United States, who already owned the Fabrica de Tequilas Finos distillery where they produce other varieties of tequila. In August of 2019, the Villa One brand was launched and started shipping tequila.
This tequila starts with a crop of 100% blue agave plants — but instead of being sourced from one specific location, the agave plants for this spirit are sourced from both highland and lowland farms in Mexico.
Normally, the agave plants are roasted and crushed to release the sugary liquid inside, but the Fabrica de Tequilas Finos uses a modern approach with steam autoclaves that convert the plant material into usable sugars and extract it simultaneously. The resulting liquid is allowed to ferment for about 72 hours using a proprietary strain of yeast before being distilled twice in copper pot stills.
The blanco version of this tequila is bottled immediately after distillation with no additional aging or other processes.
There are some things I really like here, actually.
One of my biggest complaints with liquor bottles is that the label is usually too big and keeps you from seeing the contents of the bottle. In this case, though, there is no label. Instead, they rely on some etching in the glass and paint to provide the designs and product information. The design itself is a bit bland — not a showstopper by any means — but it gets the job done.
The bottle is fairly bog standard for a liquor bottle. It’s got a cylindrical body that gently rounds into a medium length neck, and the whole thing is topped with a faux silver stopper. This aspect seems to be 100% John Varvatos, as the stopper is similar to other bottles he’s put out in the past and the silver wire wrapping at the top of the neck is also his style.
It’s a very nice crystal-clear spirit, and the aroma coming off the glass is pretty darn appealing. I get that herbal agave note right off the bat, a little like fresh cut grass with some lemon thrown in.
Taking a sip, there’s the agave sweetness right up front that gives it a quality almost like a liqueur. But even there, despite the sweetness, I only get a tiny hint of the agave and pretty much nothing else. There’s some raw alcohol in here (like you’d expect from a good vodka) which is probably the leading flavor, and the agave and a tiny touch of lemon are considerably muted compared to some other versions of the spirit.
There is something on the finish though — some black pepper spice that lingers on your palate for a little while. Since there are no other flavors for it to balance with, it comes across as a little bit bitter unfortunately – and its a component that lasts long after the spirit is gone.
Ice is a two edged sword, and I think in this case the tequila feels both of them.
On the positive side, the bitterness is gone. There’s almost a nice sweetness to the spirit that lasts the entire experience without any of that black-pepper-spice-inspired unpleasantness. This muting of harsh and unpleasant flavors is usually the biggest contribution from the added ice in a spirit, and it worked great here.
On the other hand, though, when it comes to flavor all I’m getting is a little bit of agave water. The ice has muted more than just the bitter flavors, and all that’s left are some slight herbal notes, a touch of lemon, and that’s about it. And unfortunately, even those elements are pretty well muted which is a shame.
It’s really just Cointreau and lime juice here, that’s all I’m getting. We might as well have shook this together with a couple shots of vodka for all the good this tequila is doing.
Normally, you’d expect the herbal notes to come through — or maybe a bit of the lemon to add some extra fruit. If you’re really lucky, a bit of black pepper spice might poke through for some excitement. But here, those notes are already so diluted and weak that it’s practically impossible for them to make an appearance through everything else in the glass.
I generally don’t hold out much hope for spirits where the inspiring backstory behind their creation was “we got drunk in Mexico one weekend and decided to make a tequila”. I need a little bit more love and passion to demonstrate that they actually give a damn. Heck, even Dan Aykroyd is out there selling the heck out of his Crystal Skull vodka. With this, though, I feel like the maximum effort that went into it from the owners is a couple staged pictures and a signature.
It’s a tequila made by people who don’t have a history in the spirits business or seem to have an interest in their product, mass produced at a modern sterile tequila distillery, and with a heavy marketing push. And considering that is just a few dollars shy of fellow celebrity-owned tequila Casamigos, there’s no reason whatsoever to pick this over Casamigos, which is by far the superior tequila between the two.
|Villa One Silver Tequila|
Produced By: Villa OneProduction Location: Jalisco, Mexico
Classification: Blanco Tequila
Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
Price: $38.49 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating: 1/5
It’s the Villa One-and-only time I’m buying this.