This week saw the annual Distill Spirits Show in London and, as ever, a highlight of the show was the Eaux de Vie stand, where you can always find a plethora of vodkas, gins, whiskies, rums (we tried some excellent ones from Eaux de Vie’s own Mezan range), liqueurs and a host of other drinks.
One item that quickly caught my eye, however, was a new product from Heaven Hill. Followers of Whispers of Whisk(e)y may recall that we have previously reviewed two of the other Evan Williams branded whisky liqueurs: their honey and cherry varieties.
The new variety builds on the success and popularity of these previous liqueurs and comes at a time when more and more American liqueurs are arriving on the market, with Jim Beam Honey having just launched and Jack Daniels Honey imminently about to hit UK shelves. We were fortunate enough to be able to try a sample of the first bottle to land in the UK. What was this new flavour?
Evan Williams Cinnamon is a mix of extra-aged Evan Williams Bourbon with natural, hot cinnamon flavour and is bottled at 35% ABV. Given the popularity of fiery, cinnamon flavours in the US (I quite like the Red Cinnamon Tic-Tacs), I was keen to see how it tasted and to get DBS thoughts, too.
Nose: This starts with genuine, sweet cinnamon, reminding me of cinnamon swirls. Stay a moment longer, and you get a dryer, sharper cinnamon scent, like cinnamon balls (DBS calls it “the big American Red” cinnamon smell and says that it “brings back all of the good times” he’s had in the US; praise, indeed!). Towards the end, this develops into an almost medicinal, spearmintiness.
Taste: A little viscous, this had a substantial sweetness that made it exceptionally smooth. This is followed by a huge burst of very strong cinnamon flavour: real, fiery cinnamon that made my lips tingle. It sharpened on the finish, capturing that medicinal, spicy note and ensuring that it wasn’t too sugary on the finish.
We froze some of the liqueur for a couple of hours and tried it again; the additional chill really lengthened the flavour profile and exaggerated its sweetness, making it taste just like a cinnamon swirl/roll. The syrupy nature and intense, icing-sugar sweetness lasted for much longer than the same tipple at room temperature or over ice. The sharper, spicier hint of cinnamon came in at the end.
With regards to cocktails, the drink naturally lends itself to winter warmers, but, with a UK summer release, I wondered how it could work in coolers; my recommendation would be to serve it over plenty of ice, mixed with ginger ale and some fresh citrus. Spicy, yet refreshing. Perfect for this summer heat.
– Mrs. B.