- Jonathan Winters
Aviation American Gin Review
Ryan Reynolds can’t be wrong can he?
Review Aviation American Gin
Made in: Portland, Oregon by House Spirits Distillery.
Method: Pot still.
42% alcohol/84 proof
Botanicals 7 : Juniper, coriander, orange peel, lavender, anise seed, sarsaparilla, cardamom (I actually suspect there are more - I found hints of orris, and angelica in here).
Style: Modern gin
Ryan Reynolds Wouldn’t lie would he? Ryan claims this is the best gin in the world, and I for one wouldn’t argue with Deadpool (or Green Lantern for that matter), but I might argue with Ryan. Ryan no longer owns his stake in the brand, he sold out for over a half billion dollars, but still reps the brand.
The gin is named after the Aviation Cocktail, created early in the 20th century, during the infancy of modern flight. The bottle design is meant to pay tribute to that era as well, although the brand itself has not built much of a legend about that, which I think is sort of a shame, as the golden age of air travel, and the romance of it, really only died in the 1970s due to airline deregulation.
That said, the website, and Ryan’s videos are well worth a visit for a bit of information on the gin and a good dose of humor. It certainly will leave you smiling, although you might still wonder what aviation has to do with this gin.
I found this gin to be very reactive to other tastes that may have been on my palate before drinking. And while I found it was very good with a clean palate, the wrong precursor foods left it tasting ordinary or like lighter fluid. This isn’t uncommon with gins - but I found this one to be particularly so.
Aviation is a nice gin served cleanly with ice, or even neat. It's not a rough spirit but refined enough to be quite enjoyable.
Spice is the olfactory stamp of this gin - mint, angelica, cardamom, pepper, and sassafras are heavy on the nose and held together with floral essence. If you breathe deeply you’ll find juniper and citrus, cedar, and maybe even a touch of sandalwood.
This is a bit of a flavor bomb - but it’s not the bold flavor of juniper that stands out and hits you first. That comes later, but the front edge is spice. Licorice, leads the way followed by bold cardamom, coriander, and citrus.. The midbody offers a huge burst of juniper followed by a rooty/earthy, cedar like flavor, while the tail end is floral and mentholated.
Mouthfeel is light, cool, and leaves a pleasant, but thin coat on the tongue..
For a gin that isn’t classic in terms of taste it handles most cocktails fairly well - I found it best in drinks that use a lot of citrus, but I enjoyed it in a number of ways.
In a classic Martini, the spicy nature of the gin worked particularly well - especially the cardamom aspect of it. I found it better with Dolin dry vermouth than Carpano dry, and I found it better in a wet one, than a dry martini.
As a gin and tonic, I thought Aviation was workman-like. Not great, not bad, solid. Perhaps with a more classic Indian style tonic it could have been a bit better.
While the Aviation is clearly the defining cocktail for this drink - it makes for a wonderful drink with the essence of the botanicals working well with the sweet-sour nature of lemon, maraschino cherry, and violette. But the botanical mix works well in plenty of others, including the Southside, Negroni, and Collins. The spice comes through.
I don’t think Aviation gin is the best in the world. It’s nice, very nice, but it’s definitely not for everyone. Those looking for a classic juniper flavor will want to give this one a pass, and from my own tastings I’ve found that gin can be utterly lovely, or as I said before - lighter fluid. But for those who find it the latter, I do suggest you try it at least once more with a cleaner palate.
A good example of modern gin - one which argued the quintessential point of what gin can be. It’s one of the strongest mass produced modern gins on the market. It’s well worth keeping around and trying.
Rating (Sipping): 87 - If you like spice you’ll probably like this gin.
Rating (Mixing) 88 - A good mixing gin which stands up to most cocktails.
Overall rating: 87 - Not the best gin in the world, but a very good gin nonetheless.
What you need to know about my reviews: All my reviews are my honest opinions based upon my own personal tasting. I am NOT a paid reviewer, and no compensation was given, or expected. I may from time to time choose to do a second review and amend my opinion of a product, should I feel like it and find my review criteria has evolved, or that I’ve found it different at a later date. That said, as I’m unlikely to repurchase anything I thought was less than very good to excellent, it would be by chance or at the request of a distiller who thought I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.