Today’s whiskey liqueur is made by the Tunbridge Wells Liqueur Co., a sub-brand of Master of Malt, who, in addition to having an award-winning online retail site (where you can buy wonderful 30ml samples of whiskies), have an impressive array of their own products, ranging from handmade cocktails to Bathtub Gin.
The liqueur (bottled at 29.9% ABV) combines Kentucky Bourbon and fine Canadian maple syrup, with the aim of producing a tasty liqueur encompassing the benefits of each. Here are my thoughts.
On its own
Nose: Initially, familiar notes of bourbon are aplenty, only sweeter and richer. Then, all of a sudden, unexpected notes of spice kick in, accompanied by cloves and black liquorice. After a little warming, rich, thick maple syrup notes are evident, with hints of cherry, but at no point do they take over – the bourbon and spice are always there, making for an interesting and three-dimensional nose.
Taste: A smooth sweetness to start, along with more complex notes of liquorice, treacle, and lightly spiced oak. The viscosity and distinct flavour of syrup then come into play, but those woody notes of liquorice continue to neatly balance this out, stopping it from becoming overly-sugary.
Finish: Vanilla and maple syrup with the dryness of liquorice root. At the very end, a faint hint of tart fruit, like cherries or blackcurrants.
Nose: Much sweeter and lighter, with more maple and a faint, herbal edge.
Taste: Again, this is more smooth and less viscous, making it much more refreshing and a perfect serve for summer. Lighter on the palate, it seems more dessert-like, reminding me of pancakes with maple syrup and slightly melted vanilla ice-cream. After a few sips, the richer, spiced notes build up so that you get some of the more dry, complex flavours of liquorice and dark chocolate.
From the freezer
Served at an impressive -1 degrees Celsius, this is more viscous, complex and bold, with a good deal more of the maple coming through. There are also strong notes of treacle, liquorice and just a hint of cloves. More than in any of the other serves, there’s also a notable warmth to the finish, which is of cinnamon, oak and treacle. Delicious!
In a toddy
(50ml Maple Whiskey Liqueur, 25ml lemon juice, 75ml hot water)
A lemon freshness to start, which gradually develops into a creamy vanilla note that continues throughout. There’s a short burst of maple sweetness, before dryer, lightly spiced oak. Finally, the fresh notes of lemon returns. The finish is of lemon sherbets, cinnamon, the flavour – but not the sweetness – of maple syrup, and creamy vanilla. This blurs into a final, lingering note of lemon, making it somewhat reminiscent of a smooth lemon cheesecake.
This is delicious: a superb pairing of smooth, but intense notes of maple syrup and classic bourbon flavours. It’s not too sweet and is just complex enough to be interesting, without being fussy. Not only that, but I could drink it at any time of year in any one of the serves that I tried today; my favourite was straight from the freezer. Very good, indeed.
– Mrs. B.
You can buy Maple Whiskey Liqueur from Master of Malt at £27.95 for 50cl.