Classification Extra añejo tequila
Cask American white oak, ex-whiskey
Still Type pot
Aged At least 44 months
Awards Silver, 2020 International Spirits Challenge; 95 points/Chairman’s Trophy, 2020 Ultimate Spirits Challenge; Platinum, 2019 SIP Awards.
It’s one of the rare extra añejo tequilas (aged in wood for three years or more) where the wood complements the agave flavors without subsuming them completely.
The beautiful packaging means the bottle makes a fantastic gift.
As good as it is, it doesn’t quite match up to Avion’s unaged Silver expression.
It’s meant (and priced) for sipping only. If you want a mixing tequila, look elsewhere.
Color: Light gold, about halfway between honey and Sauternes
Nose: Savory notes of cooked agave and roasted hazelnuts, with vanilla undertones
Palate: Sweet honey, vanilla, caramel, almonds, and a hint of eucalyptus, with drier and spicier flavors—roasted agave, oak, a bit of leather—intensifying as it glides over the tongue.
Finish: Medium-long. Dry and nutty, a mix of agave and almond, with a lightly spicy oaky tingle
The name Avion was on a lot of lips before the tequila had made its way to many taste buds, thanks to its being featured as a plot mover on the HBO series Entourage. But pop culture connections aside, it proved to be surprisingly good in its own right, winning several major awards and gaining a legion of fans who declared it the successor to Patron at the top of the premium tequila heap.
Avion Reserva 44, an extra añejo expression, was launched in 2013, four years after the brand debuted. Too many extra añejos spend too much time in the barrel, in which case the oak overwhelms the agave’s flavor and the final product winds up tasting as much like a whiskey as a tequila. Not so here. The barrel’s influence is felt, of course, but it doesn’t overwhelm the flavors it had when it first went into the barrel. The savory roasted agave is as much of a factor here as the vanilla, caramel, and spicy notes imparted by the oak. Reserva 44 isn’t intended for cocktails, though it’d surely make a delightful Margarita. But it’s meant for sipping and savoring, and in that role it’s exceptional, gentle yet robust enough that water or ice aren’t needed.
And yet… Avion’s entry-level unaged silver expression is so spectacular that any wood aging diminishes it to a certain extent. So while Reserva 44 is an absolutely fantastic tequila, Silver is still the place to start in order to really appreciate the brand. But for fans of aged tequilas and especially extra añejo aficionados, Reserva 44 is a must.
The “44” in the name refers to the number of months it spends in oak (the type of barrels is unspecified, but it’s likely American white oak, at least some of which has formerly held whiskey). The 44th month is spent in “specially selected petite barrels, which are rotated daily,” according to Avion’s website.
The Bottom Line
Reserva 44 is an exceptional example of extra añejo tequila, with a beautiful harmony between the barrel and the distillate. The un-aged Silver remains the place to start exploring Avion, but this is a delicious place to wind up.