Spirit Of The Week: Cincoro x Joshua Vides Añejo Tequila

Michael Jordan’s tequila brand teams up with artist Joshua Vides for Cincoro’s first creator collaboration.

(Cincoro Tequila)

Cincoro Tequila made a near instant splash with its astounding ownership group made up of NBA royalty. Of course by now Michael Jordan’s participation is well known, but other founders include Los Angeles Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens, Boston Celtics primary owner Wyc Grousbeck and his wife Emilia Fazzalari—a couple whose unorthodox relationship is the basis of NBC’s Extended Family sitcom that debuted this week. 

The Cincoro brand was born in 2016 after the five founders met for dinner in New York City after the NBA Board of Governors meetings. The meal included much tequila drinking; the revelry morphed into interest in launching their own brand and eventually manifested into reality. As Fazzalari tells us, their goal was set: to make the most delicious spirit they’ve ever tasted and “create the gold standard.” 

From this concept the Cincoro name was born: Cinco for five, and Oro for gold.

After launching in September 2019 the brand released several core expressions: Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, Extra Añejo and most recently Cincoro Gold—a blend of all the above. Along the way they’ve sold astonishing numbers for a startup spirits label. Now comes their latest project, their very first limited-edition artist collaboration with lauded visual designer and creative Joshua Vides—best known for his signature black-and-white linework style. 

“I remember first seeing the Joshua Vides x Fendi collaboration a few years ago and absolutely loved it—Josh has this concept of taking everything back to its origin,” Fazzalari recalls of the first time she saw her collaborative partner’s artwork in the flesh. 

“He utilizes the medium of black and white to create his style; he makes art that makes you feel something.”

Calling his work both striking and cool, Fazzalari explains how the most high-profile member of their ownership team—Jordan—was succinct in describing what he wanted in their first limited edition bottle design. Apparently his Airness employed only three words to describe his vision: sleek, contemporary and unique.

And when Jordan wants something, he usually gets it. 

The collaboration took no less than three years to manifest from concept to finished bottles, of which only 150 units exist (Each box also includes a signed and numbered Vides sketch.) Much of that time was spent on Vides bringing his visions to reality, designing and tweaking both the limited-edition bottle and its unique crate-like wooden box. While simultaneously on the spirit side, Jordan and Fazzalari focused on choosing the exact unique añejo recipe, aged over 20 months in oak, to fill those bottles.

“We knew that having Josh use our bottle as his canvas was a perfect collaboration,” Fazzalari continues. “Fill the bottle with a special blend of our añejo, hand-selected by Michael Jordan, and you have an incredible limited-edition collector’s item.”

We spoke with Vides just after the collab was released during Miami Art Week to learn more about his early work, how the Cincoro partnership first percolated, and the challenges of laying his monochromatic style on their unique bottles. 

We first caught wind of your work when you created that Acura NSX in your style. What was the inspiration, and why did you select the vintage NSX?

I was first introduced to the car culture in the late 90s. At that time Honda and Acura were leading the pack in my eyes. The Civic Si, RSX Type S, and the NSX captured my attention due to their design and performance. During the preparation for my solo show titled “The Garage,” I wanted to highlight my initial experience and love for cars. Fortunately, a friend of mine owned an NSX. I reached out to him to ask if he was willing to wrap the car and allow me to do my thing with it. He agreed and we were off to the races. To this day it’s still one of the most shared images I’ve posted on my social media. 

Most recently, at the 2022 ComplexCon, we saw your collaboration with BMW. Was that born from your NSX?

I like to think the past automotive collaborations I’ve worked on stemmed from my obsession in the space. If you follow me, it’s crystal clear that not only am I a fan, but a strong collector. From BMW to my latest project with Ferrari, it’s all a very organic story to tell with my background in the automotive world. 

This bottle with Cincoro is another very cool manifestation of your style. What made you want to work with the brand? Are you a tequila guy? 

I think anything connected to Michael Jordan kind of means victory and greatness, right? It’s that championship energy that I know I gravitated towards as soon as Michael Jordan was mentioned. As a fan, I knew this was my opportunity to collab and maybe even have a chance to be in the same room as him. Yes, of course I’m a tequila guy! Añejo is always the move, because it’s top-shelf and delicious. It’s actually what’s included in my limited-edition bottle with Cincoro, which is pretty cool. 

I think anything connected to Michael Jordan kind of means victory and greatness, right?

Did you have any say in which liquid went into your bottle? Like could you choose between a blanco, reposado or between various different añejo options? Or was the liquid already decided? 

Well as I mentioned, my favorite is the Cincoro Añejo, and while I didn’t have a say in what was in the bottle, I’m glad they went with my favorite expression. It was also pretty cool that Michael Jordan and Emilia Fazzalari personally selected the special añejo tequila blend for my limited-edition bottle.

Tell us what you like specifically about Cincoro: the flavor profile, the concept, the people behind it, etc… 

The people behind the Cincoro brand are NBA legends. So even to just be in the same conversation, I feel proud of myself—which rarely happens. And it doesn’t hurt that the liquid is delicious. I happily cracked into my Cincoro supply as I was designing the bottle. 

Not a bad partner to sip while you work! What were the challenges, and maybe even opportunities, that came with the bottle’s shape and dimensions? The vessel must be a big part of accepting the collaboration. 

I mean, first and foremost, the design is different than any other tequila company that I’ve tried or worked on. The first thing I noticed was the height and elegance of the bottle—it’s like a completely different design from what your normal, typical tequila bottle is. From the jump that was interesting for me, to see the line work and how the bottle presents itself. 

What I’m mainly known for is my reality to idea concept, which is taking everything back to its original sketch. And so, from there, I thought about what this would look like on a napkin sketch and some of the first concepts came to life. I was able to create a design that would wrap the entire five-sided Cincoro bottle, and I’m really proud of how it turned out. 

(Cincoro Tequila)

But what’s important to note: This is the first time Cincoro has collaborated with anybody. So they had to learn not only how to communicate with an artist, but work with an artist and his small team. 

They already do an amazing job at tequila, what it looks like, and where it’s available. It was an enjoyable learning lesson for both of us. For me, it was having the opportunity to pitch more ideas and concepts, because they were so open to that. Whereas other companies who have done this 100 times would say, “Can’t do this. Not going to do this. Red tape here, don’t call that guy.” Since this was Cincoro’s first collab there wasn’t a, “We don’t know.” And there wasn’t a “No,” but instead, “Let’s try it.” That wasn’t challenging, but super exciting. Sold out

Follow Deputy Editor Nicolas Stecher on Instagram at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.