Evan Williams Cinnamon Whisky Liqueur

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.

The Taste

Own
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.

Frozen
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.

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