The core offerings from Avion Tequila have consistently impressed us over the years, and the brand remains a significant player amid an ever-growing field of ultra-premium tequilas. In 2013, Avion followed the lead of other premium tequila producers and introduced an extra anejo as the Cadillac offering in their portfolio. Extra anejo is a category that has only existed since 2006 and requires that a tequila carrying the designation be aged for at least three years in barrels no larger than 160 gallons. Avion dubbed their extra anejo offering Avion Reserva 44 because it spends a whopping 44 months in oak, one month of which involves aging in specially selected small barrels that are rotated daily. What does all that wood-aging do to an already great tequila? Magic.
On the nose, Avion 44 is rich with spice cabinet goodies: juicy vanilla bean, clove, and cinnamon sugar. Woven into that are vegetal notes of roasted agave, green chilis, and jalapeno brine. Mounds of caramel and coconut tie it all together. The oak is expressive without being sharp or, as oftentimes can be the case, imparting outsized flavors. At first whiff, it has the approachability of a standard anejo, but the complexity is on another level. The aroma never stops evolving. The palate is light, but also rich and oily. Things start off sweet with toasted sugar, caramel candies, and cocoa but turn drier quickly with cooked agave, spicy black pepper, and cinnamon stick. The sweetness returns into the finish with dulce de leche, honey, and a unique cinnamon apple note. Exceptionally balanced, smooth and complex. We weren’t sure Avion could do better than their fantastic anejo offering, but clearly we were wrong.