Bourbon & Whiskey Reviews Feed

Drink Review: Bird Dog Black Cherry Flavored Whiskey

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or a flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Bird Dog Chocolate Flavored Whiskey, an awesome flavor pairing!

20201118_112154Today I'm reviewing another new flavor offering from Bird Dog, a Black Cherry flavored whiskey.

The description from the Bird Dog website: 

Earning top honors from multiple spirit awards, our Bird Dog Black Cherry is the ultimate “cherry on top”. Rich, deep notes of dark fruitiness are enhanced by the signature honey and oak finish of our Kentucky bourbon. Sip it on its own, or mixed up in one of our signature Black Cherry Kentucky Mules.

Potency
80 PROOF / 40% Alc/Vol

Color
Golden-Reddish Amber

Nose
Delightful, dark fruit

Body
Traditional caramel and vanilla notes combine with subtle cherry flavor

Finish
A warm, smooth finish, nicely lingers

Bird Dog flavored whiskeys all hit the 80 proof mark, whereas most other flavored whiskeys which usually come at 70 proof.  What I like about what Bird Dog does with that extra alcohol is that the whiskey doesn't come off as being too sweet with the flavoring, nor is it 'whiskey harsh.' In other words it's balanced rather than being too black cherry forward.  This is an award winning whiskey/flavor pairing and the black cherry notes definitely do come through but it does come off as just a bit medicinal for me, as in a cough drop flavor...  What carries it are the caramel and vanilla notes and the warm, whiskey finish. I also tried this whiskey with the Bird Dog Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey for a PB&J chilled shot which was pretty darn tasty, as well as pairing the black cherry with the Bird Dog Chocolate for a Chocolate Covered Cherry chilled shot, which was even better!

Priced at about $18 for a 750ml bottle, I'm giving Bird Dog Black Cherry Flavored Whiskey 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  For me, it's better used in mixology than it is a stand alone shot or on the rocks drink. 

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 


Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey Challenge: Bird Dog vs. Skrewball

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

20201118_112339Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or a flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun until recently, has been Skrewball Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey .  But replacing that was a new flavor offering from Bird Dog and their Chocolate Flavored Whiskey - what a great pairing!  Bird Dog has also released a Peanut Butter Flavored variety, which I've been anxious to compare to Skrewball and it's what I'm reviewing today.

The description from the Bird Dog website: 

Creamy or crunchy?
Whatever your preference, our Peanut Butter Bird Dog goes down smooth. Aromatic vanilla and caramel undertones round out the nutty flavor for a slow, warm finish. Pair with our Strawberry Bird Dog for a PB&J shot straight from the lunchbox.

Potency
80 PROOF / 40% Alc/Vol

Color
Golden-Reddish Amber

Nose
Warm peanuts with a hint of wood char

Body
Uniquely smooth peanut butter flavors are presented with traditional caramel and vanilla notes

Finish
A slow, warm, whiskey fades with sweet caramel

Once again, Bird Dog nails it!

At 80 proof, the Bird Dog has a bit more kick than the typical flavored whiskeys which usually come at 70 proof.  That extra alcohol means this whiskey doesn't taste too sweet, nor is it harsh.  I'm a HUGE fan of Skrewball Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey but Bird Dog is on par with Skrewball, with my former favorite getting just an ever so slight edge in flavor. Skrewball is a bit sweeter, but both the Skrewball and Bird dog whiskeys whether in a chilled shot, served on the rocks or neat, have a nice peanut butter nose, you get notes of vanilla and caramel and the finish is very pleasant and warm. 

Why Bird Dog wins the day:  It costs less, quite a bit less!  We're talking about $30 for a bottle of Skrewball vs. about $19 for the Bird Dog.  That's a no brainer for me, saving $11 for a very good peanut butter whiskey that's going to give you everything you're looking for in one whether enjoyed by itself or in mixology. 

Mixology suggestions:  Pairing the combo of the chocolate and peanut butter flavors for a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup shot!   You could pair the peanut butter with the strawberry flavored whiskey as suggested by Bird Dog, but I'm not a fan of the strawberry.  Bird Dog has released a new Black Cherry flavor, I might give that a try for a PB&J shot.

Next Up (after the Black Cherry review):  Bird Dog has released yet another flavor, Jalapeno flavored whiskey!  Oh my!

The Bird Dog line up of flavored whiskeys is pretty impressive and with their Peanut Butter flavored whiskey comparing so favorably to Skrewball's version - which set the bar for that flavor - I'm giving Bird Dog Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It tastes just about as good as Skrewball for a lot less money!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Drink Review: Bird Dog Chocolate Whiskey

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or a flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Skrewball Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey with Yukon Jack Jacapple coming in a close second.

After today's tasting, that may have changed....

Bird Dog Chocolate Flavored WhiskeyEnter, Bird Dog Chocolate Flavored Whiskey.

Shared with my Lady Friend, this was the best on the rocks flavored whiskey I've ever had....  We sampled it doing shots as well, VERY smooth!

Good whiskey and chocolate is an OUTSTANDING pairing! 

The description from the Bird Dog website: 

Chocoholics rejoice. A comforting fragrance of smooth milk chocolate awakens the senses at first encounter. Notes of rich cocoa highlight the quintessential notes of vanilla and caramel without overpowering the classic bourbon flavor. Swap out dessert for our signature Chocolate Martini, and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been ending your meals this way all along.

Potency: 80 PROOF / 40% Alc/Vol

Color: Golden Amber

Nose: Rich chocolate scents with the hint of bourbon

Body: Smooth, velvety chocolate flavors infuse with natural bourbon notes of vanilla and caramel

Finish: Light chocolate touches layer into a gentle cocoa and warm finish

That is absolutely, 100% correct!

At 80 proof, the Bird Dog has a bit more kick than the typical flavored whiskeys which usually come at 70 proof.  That extra alcohol means this whiskey doesn't taste too sweet, nor is it harsh.  Bird Dog did it right, a nice balance of the chocolate followed by a nice, warm, bourbon finish.   Bird Dog has introduced a number of new flavored whiskeys, to include a peanut butter flavored version which I'm anxious to try and compare to Skrewball.  And then there's the combo of the chocolate and peanut butter flavors for a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup shot! 

Priced at about $22 for a 750ml bottle, it costs a little more than your average flavored whiskey, but it's WELL worth it.  I'm giving Bird Dog Chocolate Flavored Whiskey 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's my new favorite!  What a fantastic flavor pairing!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Drink Review: Brown Sugar Bourbon from Heritage

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or a flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Skrewball Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey.  It is without question the best chilled shot in a flavored whiskey I've ever had.

BSBToday's tasting, is BSB, Brown Sugar Bourbon made by the Heritage Distilling Co.

Here's the description from the Heritage website: 

BSB® - Brown Sugar Bourbon tastes both sweet and indulgent, featuring strong notes of cinnamon and brown sugar that create a classic whiskey warmth.  

Experience why BSB® was named the “World’s Best Flavoured Whisky” 2 years in a row by Whisky Magazine's World Whiskies Awards 2018 & 2019.

That's saying something right there, earning that kind of accolade.  And one year voted best could be a bit of a fluke - a distiller smartly taking advantage of a flavor profile trend - but voted best two years running?  Nope, not just a trend.  This whiskey is for real and the best flavored whiskey vote from Whiskey Magazine isn't the only source of awards either.  Check out the list here.

As always, I tried this whiskey neat, on the rocks and in a chilled shot.  It's very good any way served.  Brown sugar and cinnamon are a fantastic pairing and you get those notes as soon as you open the bottle.  The warm finish is long lasting and reminds you of having french toast for breakfast.  It is on the sweet side in a good way which makes for a fine sipping whiskey and I would put it in the dessert whiskey category.  Heritage has a few drink recipes and other suggestions on their website.  Spiked BSB Whipped Cream anyone? 

I paid $19.99 for a 750ml bottle and the BSB Brown Sugar Bourbon from Heritage is DEFINITELY worthy of a repeat buy, I'm giving it 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's reasonably priced and quite tasty.  Find a place for it in your liquor cabinet.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

My neighborhood liquor store has been offering this in the sample size to see if it's popular enough to put on the shelves, and it's been selling like hotcakes!  TIP:  Taking advantage of those sample size offerings is a fantastic way to find out if you like a particular liquor enough to buy a full size bottle.  Samples typically cost between $1 and $3.  If you find you don't like something in the sample size, there's no full size bottle buyer's remorse.


Drink Review: Crown Royal Salted Caramel Whiskey

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or a flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, WAS Yukon Jack Jacapple.  Key word 'was', as the Jacapple was recently bested by Skrewball Peanut Butter flavored whiskey, it ROCKS!

Crown Royal Salted CaramelToday, the flavored whiskey is a sampling of Crown Royal Salted Caramel.

Here's the description from the Crown Royal website:  Crown Royal Salted Caramel Flavored Whisky is a blend of the finest Canadian whiskies, carefully selected by our Master Blenders and infused with the subtly salty-sweet taste of indulgent salted caramels – imparting lush, creamy notes that perfectly compliment the richness of Crown Royal Whisky.

Crown Royal is a fine whiskey and this is an excellent pairing.  You get the notes of caramel and thankfully it's not too sweet.  Sometimes a flavored whiskey gets too-whatever-flavor-forward, taking away from the goodness of the whiskey.  Not so with this one.  Crown Royal has produced a very nicely balanced, smooth flavored whiskey, with that classic Crown Royal whiskey shining through in a very pleasant, warm finish. 

I sampled this whiskey neat, on the rocks and as a chilled shot.  It's enjoyable in every way.  It's also quite excellent in chilled, neat drinks as well.  Try a shot of the salted caramel with a shot of Forbidden Secret Dark Chocolate Mocha Cream.  Can you say, "Tasty!"  Yes, yes you can.  I'm looking forward to trying a shot of the Crown Royal Salted Caramel paired with some Yukon Jack Jacapple as well, for that caramel apple experience.

Costing me about $30, I'm giving Crown Royal Salted Caramel 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's a bit on the high end of being a wallet friendly price, but it's well worth it, most definitely a repeat buy!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 


Drink Review: Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or a flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Yukon Jack Jacapple.

After today's tasting, that may have changed....

Skrewball Peanut Butter WhiskeyEnter, Skrewball Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey.

I think this was perhaps the best chilled shot in a flavored whiskey I've ever had....

Good whiskey and peanut butter of all things, is an OUTSTANDING pairing!  As the whiskey maker's website boasts, "Little did you know, these two blend together quite phenomenally."

That is absolutely, 100% correct!

My neighborhood liquor store has been offering this in the sample size to see if it's popular enough to put on the shelves, and it's been selling like hotcakes!  TIP:  Taking advantage of those sample size offerings is a fantastic way to find out if you like a particular liquor enough to buy a full size bottle.  Samples typically cost between $1 and $3.  If you find you don't like something in the sample size, there's no full size bottle buyer's remorse.

Skrewball is a bit on the sweet side, I liked it on the rocks as well, but it is best as a chilled shot.  It's also quite good in making some unique drink combinations.  Mixed with some cranberry juice, you get that peanut butter and jelly feel.  Mix a half shot of Creme de Cacao and a half shot of Skrewball together and you get a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup kind of thing going on.  Here's a few other ideas:

Suggested Drink Recipes:

Peanut Butter & Jelly Old Fashioned

1.5 oz. Skrewball Whiskey
.75 oz. Rye Whiskey
4 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
1 Maraschino Cherry and a splash of juice

Combine all these familiar ingredients over ice in a cocktail glass. Stir and allow these old friends to mingle until chilled. Garnish with a cherry and an orange peel.

A Peanut Butter White Russian

1.5 oz. Skrewball Whiskey
.5 oz.Vodka
.5 oz. Coffee liqueur
1 oz. Cream of coconut
1 oz. Heavy cream

Allow all ingredients to collude in a mixing glass with ice. Shake. Pour into cocktail glass. Garnish with cinnamon and sugar (optional).

Priced at about $25 for a 750ml bottle, it costs a little more than your average flavored whiskey, but it's WELL worth it.  I'm giving Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Peanut Butter and Whiskey, what a fantastic pairing!

5 stars

 

 


Drink Review: Jack Daniel's Tennessee Apple

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or a flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Yukon Jack Jacapple.

My most recent review was of Royal Crown Peach flavored whiskey.  Good stuff!

Jack Daniel's Tennessee AppleToday's tasting is Jack Daniel's Tennessee Apple.  How will it stack up to my favorite flavored whiskey, Yukon Jack Jacapple?

Released just this week, the new spirit is the classic whiskey mixed with apple liqueur, which in my humble, flavored whiskey opinion is THE best spirit flavor pairing there is.

Here's the description from Jack Daniel's Master Distiller Jeff Arnett.  “Tennessee Apple couples the character of our Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey with the taste of crisp, green apples. It’s like a freshly picked apple in a glass of Jack.”

And he nailed it.  Sampling the whiskey in a straight shot and on the rocks, it's very clean and does indeed taste like a freshly picked apple in a glass of Jack.   You get a nice apple whiff in the nose, the swirl has enticing color and the swallow is crisp green apple, followed by the rich Jack Daniel's Whiskey boldness in the finish.  This is a very well balanced blend of whiskey and apple, perfectly smooth, nicely done Jack!

Costing me about $14 for a 350ml bottle, this 70 proof offering is priced at the higher end of flavored whiskeys but it's well worth it and is most definitely a repeat buy.  In fact, it may have displaced Yukon Jack Jacapple as my favorite, I'm not sure yet, I may have to do a side-by-side taste test comparison.......

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 


Drink Review: Crown Royal Peach Flavored Whiskey

By Mike Thayer

Hey, it's been awhile since I've done one of these....

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or a flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Yukon Jack Jacapple.

Crown Royal Peach PackagingBack in April, there was a big buzz about Crown Royal Peach.  A limited edition, the stuff flew off the shelves, liquor stores quickly sold out and I didn't get into a store fast enough to get some to review.  Not a store in town had any by the time I went looking for it that's how popular the peach was.  Placed on back order, it's now late August and the peach is back on liquor store shelves, so I jumped on a tip (thanks Vicki S!) and I can finally see if this stuff lives up to all the hype it got this spring.

Here's the description from the box:  To create this extraordinary blend, Crown Royal whiskies are carefully selected by our master blender and infused with the juicy flavor of fresh Georgia peaches.  Our peaches are harvested to capture their ripe succulence.  Once picked, the peaches are de-stoned, pressed and strained to preserve their bright, aromatic flavor.

The harmonious notes of this summer fruit complement the richness of Crown Royal Blended Whiskey.  The result is a vibrantly delicious whisky, bursting with the luscious flavor of peach and the distinctive smoothness of Crown Royal.  Enjoy on the rocks, as a shot, or mixed with iced tea for a refreshing cocktail.

Wow, how can you NOT want to sample the stuff after reading that?  Kudos to the Crown Royal marketing team.  So yes, as suggested, but how I taste test a review anyway, I tried it on the rocks and as a shot.  Side note:  I'm not a huge iced tea fan, but that iced tea cocktail suggestion does sound pretty good!

And now for the tasting....

Crown Royal Peach on the rocksI've sampled a few other peach flavored whiskeys and I've made the remark that I don't think whiskey and peach is a good flavor pairing.......  Crown Royal has changed my mind.

You definitely get a nice peach whiff right off the bat in the nose. The swirl (nice color!) and swallow are both quite enticing, almost dangerously so.  After reviewing Crown Royal Regal Apple back in April when the peach was not available, I half-expected this to be a bit too peach forward, like the Regal Apple was a bit too fruit forward, but not so with the peach.  This is really a very well balanced flavored whiskey to include the finish, the most important part of a good whiskey.  It's warm, the peach softly fading to that classic Crown Royal smoothness, deliciously smooth.

I didn't care for peach flavored whiskey until now, but I apparently didn't try the right stuff!  Costing me $25.99 for a 750ml bottle, it's a bit pricey - it's Crown Royal after all, part of that price is the name and the packaging - but it's well worth it!  Crown Royal Peach Flavored Whiskey is a repeat buy and has cracked my top 3 of best flavored whiskeys!  I'm giving it 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars and I'm looking forward to trying that iced tea cocktail!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

Get the peach while you can, it's another limited edition run, supplies are limited! 


Ranking flavored whiskeys from worst to 'first'

Flavored WhiskeysBy Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.

There is a HUGE variety of flavored whiskeys out there to choose from ranging from what arguably started the trend - honey, to perhaps the current popular choice of cinnamon. 

I've sampled quite a few and by no means have I covered them all, but here's a pretty comprehensive list of what in my opinion are what NOT to try and what to buy. 

So here's my list of worst to 'first', OK, best to be grammatically correct, starting off with the worst....

#21 - Evan Williams Peach:  I'm not a fan. It's VERY peach forward, as in too forward, I might as well have been drinking peach schnapps! It's like the makers literally just poured a couple shots of bourbon into a peach schnapps bottle and called it a blended, flavored whiskey. The nose is peach, the taste is peach, the finish is peach with just an ever so slight hint of bourbon. I tried it neat, I tried it on the rocks and I was flat out disappointed with each tasting. It's SO peachy, I think it might be best served over vanilla ice cream. I wanted a peach flavored bourbon, not a peach schnapps with just a hint of bourbon in it.  (2 stars)

#20 - Jesse James Spiced:  This is a straight bourbon whiskey blended with vanilla, cinnamon and clove flavors according to the company website.  They need to go back to the drawing board.  This whiskey is WAY too spice forward.  The nose when you swirl a neat glass is OK, but the taste is sharp and the finish is harsh rather than warm.  I didn't enjoy this whiskey neat, I didn't enjoy it on the rocks, I don't care for it as a chilled shot.  Like the Evan Williams Peach, this is a bad whiskey that will remain in chill status and might - key word 'might' - be used as a topping for some vanilla bean ice cream.  (2 stars)

#19 - Jim Beam Maple:  I sampled this whiskey just as Jim Beam suggested, in a straight shot and on the rocks. It's VERY maple forward. So forward, it comes up more maple than whiskey. It's in the swirl, the swallow and lingers in the finish. As I've mentioned in other flavored whiskey reviews before, I want the flavor to compliment the whiskey, not overpower it. Jim Beam's balance here is maple forward, too much so. It's more liqueur than straight bourbon whiskey. Costing me about $16 for a 750ml bottle, the price is reasonable but I will not buy it again.  (2 stars)

#18 - Old Camp Peach Pecan:  This stuff is overly sweet, coming off as more of a Peach Schnapps rather than a flavored whiskey. You do get the pecan in the finish, a redeeming quality, but overall, I'm regretting buying a fifth of this whiskey. The nose is too fruity, the swirl and swallow is overpowering peach with that hint of pecan in the finish. Costing me about $22 for a 750ml bottle, the price is NOT Bachelor on the Cheap friendly and it is NOT a repeat buy.  (2 stars)

#17 - Bird Dog Strawberry Whiskey:  Of note, this whiskey is 80 proof. Most other flavored whiskeys are 70 proof, so this has a little more 'kick' to it. I served up this whiskey in a straight shot and on the rocks. Bird Dog falls a bit short on this one. Contrary to the company line, this whiskey isn't good for sipping or shots, it's too strawberry forward, with an almost medicinal quality and unfortunately, the strawberry doesn't fade into a subtle warm bourbon finish. The strawberry lingers and not in a good way. (2 stars)

#16 - Jim Beam Peach:  You get a hint of peach in the nose, but the swallow comes off as a bit medicinal, followed nicely however by the classic Jim Beam Bourbon finish. Jim Beam's approach with their flavored whiskeys doesn't seem to be targeted at guys like me and the occasional straight or chilled shot of a good whiskey at the house.... No, their real target is getting bars/restaurants/pubs stocked with the stuff, to be used in over-priced mixed drinks. (3 stars)

#15 - Jim Beam Red Stag:  Their traditional 4-year-old oak aged whiskey infused with black cherry. This is an 80 proof whiskey, giving it a little more kick. Most flavored whiskeys are 70 proof.  As usual, I served this up in a straight shot and on the rocks. You definitely get the cherry sweetness in the nose, but in the swirl and swallow this whiskey came off as a little medicinal for me, a.k.a., cough drop flavored. You do get the warm base bourbon in the finish but I think this whiskey is best used in a cocktail such as a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned. I'd rather have a different flavored whiskey in a chilled shot or on the rocks. (3 Stars)

#14 - Jim Beam Honey:  The honey flavor is definitely there and you notice the vanilla note finish.  But I will say this flavored whiskey comes up more honey than whiskey.  As I've mentioned in other flavored whiskey reviews before, I want the flavor to compliment the whiskey, not overpower it.  Jim Beam's balance here is honey forward.  After sampling the shot and on the rocks, I did a mixed drink using my very own creation, the Hillbilly High as a base recipe.  The Jim Beam is pretty darn good in a mixed drink.   (3 stars)

#13 - Jesse James Honey:  I wouldn't call this an incredibly smooth bourbon as the company website claims, but with that honey flavor in the nose and in the swallow, it's a pretty good shot. Not sweet at all, it's almost a bit harsh, but in a good way. The honey flavor is slight, just enough to compliment and take the edge off, providing for a nice, warm, bourbon finish. I'm thinking this is a better shot than just the straight Jesse James bourbon. I'll have to do a taste comparison to be sure, lol.  (3 stars)

#12 - Crown Royal Regal Apple:  I served up this whiskey in a straight shot and on the rocks. You definitely get the apple right off the bat in the nose. The swirl and swallow is smooth but almost bordering on being apple forward and you get some nice undertones of cinnamon and oak. But the most important thing in what you want in a good flavored whiskey, getting the base whiskey in the finish and it's there. Costing me $20 for a 750ml bottle, the price is reasonable and this whiskey is worth a repeat buy but is it as good as other apple flavored whiskeys?  Nope. (4 stars)

#11 - Revel Stoke Roasted Pineapple:  I wasn't sure about this one going in, c'mon, pineapple and whiskey? But I am a sucker for fresh pineapple and since Revel Stoke thought it was a good idea to combine pineapple and whiskey, it must be good and YES it is! Enjoying the whiskey on the rocks, which is the aficionado thing to do, the pineapple notes are nice and mellow, not overpowering at all like I thought it might be and you get the roast in the finish. This is a unique whiskey in a very good way. (4 stars)

#10 - Piehole Apple Pie:  It's not just apple flavored, but apple pie flavored, yes, really. When buying it I feared it might be overly sweet, but it's not. It's got the fruity apple note you expect, but bonus - Piehole kicks things up a notch with a very nicely balanced element of a baked pie, an image of a fresh out-of-the oven pie crust dusted with that touch of cinnamon dances in your head when throwing back a shot of this stuff. This is a very nice flavored whiskey with a smooth, warm finish. No chaser needed. (4 stars)

#9 - Jim Beam Apple:  You definitely get the apple sweetness in the nose, the aroma is quite noticeable as soon as the cap comes off the bottle. In the swirl and swallow the apple is pleasantly green apple tart but sweet. You also get the classic Jim Beam warm base bourbon in the finish. This whiskey is done right, with the apple complimenting the whiskey, rather than overpowering it. Best enjoyed as a chilled shot, this whiskey is quite good. (4 stars)

#8 - Black Velvet Toasted Caramel:  The nose is a pleasant whiff of caramel and while it's a tad bit caramel forward, the website description is pretty accurate. You get toasted caramel in the swirl, the swallow and in the finish. It's a bit on the sweet side and as I've mentioned in other flavored whiskey reviews before, I want the flavor to compliment the whiskey, not overpower it. Black Velvet has done a fair job with this flavor. It's best as a chilled shot. Costing me about $12 for a 750ml bottle, the price is very reasonable and it's worth a repeat buy.  (4 stars)

#7 - Revel Stoke Smoked Vanilla:  Vanilla is an appealing pairing because it's strongly aromatic but yet has a warm and gentle flavor that simply compliments whatever it's paired with and that's what Revel Stoke has done expertly here with their Smoked Vanilla Whiskey. Enjoying the whiskey on the rocks, which is the aficionado thing to do, the vanilla notes are unmistakably present but subtle at the same time, actually enhancing the flavor of the whiskey. It finishes nice with a slight hint of smoke. This is a very good whiskey and most definitely deserves a spot in your liquor cabinet.  (4 stars)

#6 - Bird Dog Blackberry:  The nose is fruity, the color is inviting and you get all as advertised in the swirl and swallow. The best thing about this whiskey though is the finish, it's spot on. That slight sweetness says blackberry, yet BOURBON. That's exactly what you want in a flavored whiskey, a compliment.  (4 stars)

#5 - Bird Dog Apple:  This whiskey delivers as advertised 'Sweet apple fades into bourbon with a lingering warm, cinnamon zest.'   The cinnamon notes come through on the back end and along with the base bourbon, it's a very nice finish.  In my humble opinion, this is Bird Dog's best offering, definitely worth a repeat buy.  Nice as a chilled shot, on-the-rocks, neat or served in a mixed drink. (4 stars)

#4 - Revel Stoke Roasted Pecan:  Wow what a whiskey! Revel Stoke Pecan Whisky hits you with the essence of roasted pecan immediately, as soon as you screw off the cap. Enjoying this unique whiskey on the rocks, it goes down smooth and those roasted pecan notes linger warmly and finish nicely with a sweet hint of praline. I would call this a dessert whiskey, something to really enjoy after a fine meal. This is a whiskey you hold in reserve, for special occasions or when that sweet tooth gets the better of you.  (4 stars)

#3 - Revel Stoke Roasted Apple:  The roasted apple notes are in your face in a very good way. Like the Revel Stoke Spiced, the Revel Stoke Roasted Apple is also very smooooooooth..... The so smooth it's kind of dangerous kind of smooth.... Apple and whiskey is a great pairing, so good in fact, if you're not into whiskey, you will be if you try this apple flavored variety. (4 stars)

#2 - Revel Stoke Spiced:   This was the first flavored whiskey I ever tried and the first time ever sampling the Revel Stoke brand.  Revel Stoke Spiced is fantastic! It's a winner of the Spirits International Prestige Award and features hints of vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, coriander and cardamom. It was smooth and all those flavor notes made for a very nice finish.  It's this whiskey, that got me into trying more flavored whiskeys and without question, I started doing so by tasting the entire Revel Stoke lineup. (5 stars)

#1 - Yukon Jack Jacapple:  A blended whiskey with apple, spice and other natural flavors, Yukon Jack Jacapple is smoothly delicious. It's got the elements of a great cider, yet it's not too apple forward. There's that definite apple and spice nose when you swirl the glass and you also get those cider notes in the taste, but the finish and this is where Yukon Jack Jacapple is superior to Revel Stoke's Roasted Apple - It's a VERY smooooooooth and warm bourbon finish.  (5 stars)

Of the 21 flavored whiskeys sampled, I have to say that in my humble tasting opinion neither peach or strawberry are good flavor pairings with whiskey.  Of the fruits, apple is the best, with those whiskeys overall ranking pretty high on the list.  And while Yukon Jack Jacapple is my overall favorite, the Revel Stoke lineup of whiskeys all ranked really well, you can't go wrong with any of those.

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 


Drink Review: Bird Dog Strawberry Whiskey

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Yukon Jack Jacapple.

20190620_091942Today's tasting is Bird Dog Strawberry Whiskey.  I've sampled Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey, was well as Bird Dog Apple, both of which I enjoyed.  

Here's the description from the Bird Dog website: 

Perfect for sipping, shots or mixology, Bird Dog Strawberry Whiskey blooms with a light, sweet strawberry flavor throughout.

Potency: 80 PROOF / 40% Alc/Vol

Color: Golden Amber

Nose: Sweet, fresh strawberries and a hint of rich bourbon

Body: Vibrant strawberry mixed with notes of a well-aged, woody bourbon

Finish: A sweet berry fade accompanies a subtle warmth

Of note, this whiskey is 80 proof. Most other flavored whiskeys are 70 proof, so this has a little more 'kick' to it.  I served up this whiskey in a straight shot and on the rocks.  Bird Dog falls a bit short on this one.  Contrary to the company line, this whiskey isn't good for sipping or shots, it's too strawberry forward, with an almost medicinal quality and unfortunately, the strawberry doesn't fade into a subtle warm bourbon finish.  The strawberry lingers and not in a good way.  To be fair, it might be just me, but like my distaste for the pairing of peach and whiskey, I don't think strawberry pairs well with whiskey either. Perhaps there's a reason Bird Dog is one of the few distillers that make a strawberry flavored variety. 

Costing me about $16 for a 750ml bottle, the price is reasonable but this particular Bird Dog flavored whiskey is NOT a repeat buy.  Best used in mixology - NOT sipping or shots - Bird Dog Strawberry Whiskey gets just 2 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Given how I enjoyed their Blackberry and Apple flavors, I expected better.

2 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....