To me, Avión is interesting for a few reasons: it's the story of how developing a brand can shape the nature of a spirit, but proof enough that a creative narrative doesn't mean a product is prima facie bad.

Consider this: Avión comes from the same distillery as Casamigos and the very highly regarded Clase Azul tequila. Just as how "Johnnie Walker" or "Grey Goose" might bring a particular image or set of associations to mind, "Avión" is meant to inspire something that "Casamigos" or even "NOM 1416" (Avión's actual distillery nomenclature) doesn't. But what is the brand intended to connote?

According to founder Ken Austin, the name Avión was meant to create an association with flying first class, an activity that suggests luxury. Considering Austin came from a private jet company prior to settling in the spirits biz, we can probably assume there's not a lot of hours in the day that this guy isn't thinking about airplanes in some form or another. So: Avión. Luxury. Flying. An almost-cognate that Americans can understand. I suppose that reads.

However, there's another, clearer goal that the Avión founders had going into the endeavor: create a tequila that was approachable to women. As such, the objective was to move away from the bitterness of wood and the rough aftertaste of brown liquors. Reminding someone about planes doesn't have any effect on the taste of what's in the bottle, but monkeying with the distillation and aging process certainly does.

The Avión Reposado is a direct hit when it comes to crafting a sweeter, fainter, more delicate tequila.

In the move away from whiskey, Avión's oak influence is intentionally restrained. There's not a lot of spiciness here, nor is there the palpable amount of vanilla you'd expect from your run-of-the-mill (but still decent) reposado. Without that oak boldness, you're left to focus on what's left, and here you need to construct a quality tequila when there's less for it to hide behind. 

First, Avión chose to go with copper-pot distillation and charcoal filtration. The result here is a feminine booze without rough edges, both for better and for worse: the impurities are filtered through the charcoal, but—as is inevitable with filtration processes—so is some of the taste. The copper pot distillation is only a good thing, though, since it removes a lot of the ethanol smell and taste common to shit-grade booze. Avión wisely chose not to cut this corner. I mean, it's hard to attach an image of luxury or sophistication to a beverage when its drinker is grimacing like a gutshot cowboy.

Second, the native spirit itself is very well-suited for the mission. Apparently Avión is distilled at a pretty high place in Jalisco, which results in sweeter agave. This is a very sweet tequila—not artificially so, nor in a way that's overboard. On the palate, the Avión repo gives off an immediate hit of powdered sugar and honey butter. There's also a very delicate, feminine development into thyme (which is pretty prominent in the nose) along with some lavender. 

The finish shows how well all of this comes together. There's almost no uncouth burn from the spirit itself, with all of the prickle sitting nicely on the tongue with just a little bit of faint pepper. Oddly enough, a lot of canned pineapple gives a tropical glow to the whole event. The character is distinctive, and that's something you can't do with just branding. Again, I'd say it's a direct hit in making all of the right moves to craft a sweeter, fainter, more delicate tequila. This would be a great crossover for regular vodka drinkers, and I mean that 90% as a commendation and maybe only 10% as a backhanded compliment.  

But back to the branding for just a moment. As a catty aside, the only thing I think is a misstep here is the design of the bottle, as the font choices for the words "Reposado" or "Hecho en Mexico" look not at all luxurious or sophisticated, but more like the fonts I would expect to see for his-and-hers chest tattoos that read "Loco Assassin" and "Nasty Girl." Seriously, I picture affliction T-shirts and tipsy girls yelling "woo" on top of a bar when I look at the package design. If that's first class, put me in coach. Hell, I'll take a taxi.

So all in all, I'm going to defer to my better judgment here and give this two stars. It's not a tequila for me—typically, I seek out more vanilla, agave-laden stunners when I want a repo on my shelf, and the price makes it just outside of an impulse purchase. Nevertheless, I'd say that this is a good case of a company having a clear goal in sight and making sensible decisions in terms of location, distillery, and production in order to make it possible. From that perspective, it's totally worth a try. 

Nose: A reposado for sure. More depth than you'd expect from your usual repo, though: thyme, sandalwood, and potting soil all make an appearance.
Taste: Mellow and sweet with relatively little wood influence. Lots of powdered sugar and honey butter with a few floral notes.
Finish: Gentle and decidedly tropical. I detected a lot of pineapple in the finish, which was both enjoyable and surprising.
Misc: 40% ABV, heavily branded, but mostly successful in what it's hoping to achieve as a product!
Price: $35
Overall Rating