WOW16 – Wild Turkey American Honey – A Whisky Liqueur

This review comes at a time when American whiskey is on the rise, internationally speaking (we have an on-going American rye whiskey shortage in Europe at the moment), and, along with this, comes the rise of the whiskey liqueur; Heaven Hill make the Evan Williams, Jim Beam make Red Stag, and Jack Daniels have recently entered the fray with their Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Liqueur*. But today’s focus is the Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur.
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The nose of American Honey is interesting, but slightly subdued when compared to some other honey liqueurs. The main two elements – unsurprisingly – are a sweet honey note and a heaver one of bourbon. DBS, an old-time fan of Wild Turkey bourbon, was very pleasantly surprised by the nose.
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Interestingly, where I found “Cats’ Eyes” liquorice allsorts in the Evan Williams liqueur, in American Honey, I found the “sandwich” ones. There was definitely a sweet, liquorice scent in there.
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To taste, the liqueur was quite syrupy and rich, with a heavy sweetness right at the beginning that quickly made way for more weighty flavours of bourbon, all smoothly rounded off with a honey finish. There was some warmth, which left my mouth and throat tingling slightly (although there definitely wasn’t any burn).
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I think that it’s worth noting DBS’s opinion here, as he’s a long-time fan of Wild Turkey bourbon (whereas I’ve only tried it a few times). He seemed to be fond of American Honey pretty much instantly, with its very definite bourbon base, although he noted that it was quite sweet. Despite this, we both agreed that it wasn’t as sweet as the other honey liqueurs and, therefore, may be a worth a try if you’re a bourbon fan – regardless of whether or not you usually like liqueurs – and fancy trying something a little different. It might also be something to experiment with in sweet, bourbon-based cocktails, omitting any additional sugar or syrup? I will be sure to write up any future experiments and their results.

– Mrs. B.

* Something I’m very keen to try, if you know where I can get some.

WOW10 – Evan Williams Honey Reserve Liqueur

After a recent trip to Distil 2011, DBS – along with a slightly random, but beautiful sapphire – brought me back a small vial of whiskey liqueur that he had been given by the Eau de Vie stand at the show. They represent the Heaven Hill brand, including such delights as Rittenhouse rye whiskey, and they also make the Heaven Williams Honey Liqueur. My trying of this particular variety seems to come at a time when the market for American whiskey liqueurs is increasing; I hear that even Jack Daniels are planning to enter into the foray. Previously, my exposure to this market has been with the likes of Southern Comfort, Wild Turkey Honey and Jim Beam’s Red Stag.

The first thing that I was intrigued by with Evan Williams Honey Reserve was the nose: my first swirl of the glass smelled sweetly of the orange fondant that you get in the midst of soft centre chocolates; by my second, I was intrigued to recognise the scent of liquorice allsorts – the round ones with a liquorice centre and coconut on the outside, (David “reliably” informed that the technical term for these is “Cat’s Eyes”). This second scent stuck with me throughout the tasting, although David didn’t find it so prevalent. As time passed, however, the fruity notes of lemon and orange became stronger, all the while softened by sweet honey.

Don’t let this sweet nose disarm you, though: when I took a sip, the liqueur slid over my tongue in a very syrupy fashion, before hitting me with a bout of very unexpected, strong alcohol. My tongue and throat tingled progressively as the liqueur found its way to my stomach and I was left, somewhat taken aback, but enjoying the glowing warmth left behind. I don’t think I can emphasise how little I anticipated how strong this would taste, but – nonetheless – I enjoyed it.

More prepared for my second sip, I managed to catch flavours of orange and those liquorice allsorts again (!); much like the alcohol, they seemed to start at the centre of my tongue and then rapidly expand outwards. The flavours themselves were all gone so quickly that I couldn’t distinguish any particular whiskey notes, but the warmth and sweetness were both delicious and definitely made me want to drink more.

Some people may get fed up of the sickly, sweet nose, but I thought that, especially when drinking neat, this liqueur seemed to be more about the sensation than the taste. But, if you have a sweet tooth and don’t mind a bit of strength behind your liqueur, this could be the honeyed whiskey liqueur for you.

– Mrs. B.

For other Whisk(e)y Liqueur Reviews, click here