By Mike Thayer
The latest flavored whiskey offering from Bird Dog
I recently did a review of Bird Dog's latest flavored whiskey offering, their honey flavored whiskey. A popular flavored whiskey choice, I've sampled a few honey versions, five to be exact. So in the name of "Whiskey Science" I've sampled honey flavored whiskey so you don't have to 'suffer' from drinking any not-so-great ones. Below is my list from worst to first of the five I've tried.
Number 5 - Bird Dog Honey: With a very visually appealing golden-amber color, the whiskey has a nice swirl to it, but in the neat sample, I did find the honey to be a bit medicinal in flavor, the balance doesn't seem quite right. It is an 80 proof, most flavored whiskeys are 70 proof, but in comparing this honey flavored whiskey to others I've had, this one comes up a bit short. The saving grace however is it has a really nice finish with the light spice note combined with the classic, Bird Dog Whiskey warmth gently pleasuring your throat. I'm a Bird Dog fan, so this was kind of disappointing and it's NOT worthy of a repeat buy.
Number 4 - Jim Beam Honey: I sampled this whiskey in a straight shot and on the rocks. Both were pleasurable enough, nothing harsh. 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. Perhaps that was what Jim Beam was going for here because that's how I'll sum this up, it's better in a mixed drink, than as a shot, served neat or on-the-rocks. Costing me about $16 for a 750ml bottle, the price is reasonable but I'm not sure if I would buy it again. I'm going to have to try other honey flavored whiskeys before making that determination. Jim Bean Honey Whiskey gets 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.
Number 3 - Jesse James Honey: Not bad. As usual, I served this up in a straight shot and on the rocks. 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. Jesse James Honey Whiskey gets 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. Good but not great, this whiskey was priced a bit high at $18 for a 750ml bottle. I've had better flavored whiskeys for $16. Part of that price is the name. Nonetheless, when in the mood for a honey flavored whiskey, it's an OK repeat buy, but I'll be on the lookout for a better honey flavored whiskey.
Number 2 - Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey: This is a deceptively GOOD whiskey! Honey is SUCH a nice pairing with whiskey and Jack Daniel's has done things right by NOT making this overly sweet like other makers tend to do when it comes to flavored whiskeys. The honey is subtle in the nose, there's nothing harsh about this at all and you get the nice Jack Daniel's whiskey finish. This whiskey is almost, note I wrote 'almost' too smooth. What a nice combo. As always, I tried this whiskey neat, on the rocks and in a chilled shot. It's very good any way served. It would also lend itself well to mixology, adding a splash of ginger ale comes to mind right away.... Costing me about $21 for a 750ml bottle, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey is definitely a repeat buy and gets 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars!
And the Number 1 Honey Flavored Whiskey in this Challenge - Wild Turkey American Honey: With a proof of 71 and aged 4 years, this blend of bourbon and honey has a great, fragrant nose, you get that sweet whiff of honey right away in taking the cap off the bottle. The mouthfeel is rich and flavorful, delivering the honey in front followed by notes of vanilla from the Wild Turkey finish. Costing me about $14 for a 350ml bottle, I'm giving Wild Turkey American Honey 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. It's a bit pricey but it's quite delicious especially over ice. A repeat buy, I also look forward to cooking with this, the blend of bourbon and honey will lend itself well to a number of dishes!
I think what puts the Wild Turkey at the top of this list is that note of vanilla in the finish, it's the best honey flavored recipe, with the whiskey being flat out smooth in every aspect, from nose to finish.
$pend Wisely My Friends...
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