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July 29, 2022
Great whisky is a wonderful thing, and any drinker with a whiskey sour under their belt will be happy to tell you that you can add a whole host of different flavours to the spirit to bring some additional notes to a wonderful glass.
In this article, we're going to talk about what makes a flavoured whiskey a flavoured whiskey, as well as what it truly means for a flavoured whisky to be flavoured with something, rather than simply to taste like a given tasting note.
Before we get into it, we want to draw a quick line in the sand for the sake of clarity - throughout this article, we're going to use the words 'whisky' and 'whiskey' fairly interchangeably. You'll notice we use whisky hampers throughout our website.
Technically, a 'whisky' is from Scotland, or in the Scottish style. On the other hand, a 'whiskey' is virtually anything else - Irish, American, or anything not in the Scottish style. For the sake of simplicity in this article, we're not going to focus on that distinction.
Without further ado, let's answer some big questions, before getting into the nitty gritty of a few flavoured whiskies that we'd recommend.
Technically, a flavoured whisky is a whisky that has been prepared in the typical style, with the addition of either natural or artificial flavours. There is also an art in how to drink whisky - no matter the flavour or style.
This could be done by physically adding peaches to the mash, for example, to give the whisky a peach flavour.
It could also be done through the addition of synthetic flavours that are designed to taste like peaches, but be more affordable for the manufacturer.
Flavoured whiskies are a little contentious since some people argue that whisky is only as good as the artisanally brewed flavour notes from the barley and peat.
We would argue the other side of things - as long as you like the flavour of what's in the glass, far be it from us, or anyone else, to stop you from drinking it!
Later in this article, we'll be mentioning some flavoured whiskies that have distinct fruity notes, due to the fact that they have been flavoured to taste precisely like that.
For now, though, we're going to offer a different option - a classical scotch whisky, with a fruity natural flavour.
Ancnoc 16-year-old is a wonderful whisky from the Highlands, and it's especially fruity.
There's a crisp green apple scent to it and, in a hearty sip, the drinker can taste apple and pears, as well as some more traditional cereal and malty notes.
Something that we particularly like about this whisky is that it has an oaky flavor alongside the fruity notes - this makes sense to the palate since fruit is typically grown on oak trees.
When making great whisky cocktails, we generally find that you can go one of two ways - complementary, or contrasting.
A good complementary flavour for a harsh whisky is typically something sharp, like lemon or lime juice. For a simple whisky cocktail, try combining two ounces of whisky, one ounce of lime juice, and one ounce of simple syrup - this will give you a harsh, pleasantly bitter drink.
A contrasting flavour would be something sweet and light, like good honey. Adding a teaspoonful of honey to a glass of whisky can be a blessedly sweet option, just as maple syrup would be!
When buying a flavoured whisky, we'd suggest opting for something that suits your way of drinking it.
See if the description or reviews stipulate that it's best drunk neat or with a tonic, for example - pick according to which of those drinking styles you prefer.
Price is a big consideration for any whisky drinker - a bottle of whisky can be a big investment!
For that reason, we'd suggest purchasing several smaller bottles for the same amount that you'd spend on one big bottle - this will allow you to taste several options in rapid succession, learning a lot.
The scent of a good whisky will smell like the aromas of the tasting notes, not like harsh alcohol. If you have an option to have a sniff, consider that to help you pick between two bottles.
Knob creek smoked maple is one of many delightful flavoured bourbons out there, and it's perhaps the favourite of most people.
This is because, unlike other flavoured spirits, this Knob Creek whiskey is designed more for sipping on its own than it is for mixing into cocktails - it's a slow drink, and it's easy to sip at.
Jack Daniel's Tennessee honey is a great starter in the world of flavoured whiskies - it's a mixture of a Jack Daniel's manufactured honey liqueur and original number seven JD whisky.
This combination is a tasty one, and it brings both sets of flavours to the palate - we'd recommend this to any flavoured whisky beginners out there who already like Jack Daniel's.
This option is something that's quite surprising to see in a whisky collection since the label seems to imply that it's cider, rather than whisky itself. However, Red Stag Hardcore cider is something different - whiskey that has been infused with the apple flavours of great cider to create a sharp, harsh, and bright drink that is easy to sip.
This is a Jim Beam offers, which tends to mean that the flavoured whiskey is a little hit or miss. In this case, the whisky is a hit overall, but the apple flavour is a little too artificial for some palates. As we said before, though - if you like what's in your cup, we wouldn't want to stop you from drinking it.
Several flavoured whiskies in this list pale in comparison to Dewar's highlander honey - made in the Scotch style and complemented with a suite of sweeter notes from honey to cinnamon, the final drink is moreish and delightful.
Try Dewar's Highlander Honey with some tonic water to make a longer drink that will last all evening.
We adore spice, and this hot option is a little different from other flavoured whiskeys - there's a kick to this one but from the alcohol and the heat.
The trick to this one is quite simple, really - George Dickel takes some of their whisky, and stands it in former Tabasco barrels for around a month. It's peppery and sweet, rather than being out-and-out painful, and we'd certainly recommend it.
This flavored whiskey is something completely different from others on the market - it simply... works. It tastes exactly like peanut butter in a really pleasant way, and it makes your brain stall to think of it, in some regards.
This option isn't too alcoholic, so it might make a great addition to a milkshake or some similar dessert-style cocktail with honey and vanilla. While odd, the combination would definitely work, tasting bright, and creamy all at once.
Cinnamon-flavoured whiskeys are hard to do right, there are no two ways about this. Adding a little too much cinnamon makes it takes a bit like a honey tea or something similar while adding too little gets lost in a heartbeat.
The impressive thing about this Jim Beam offering, though, is the fact that there's no chemical taste after the sips that you take. Instead, there is an intoxicating mixture of regular whisky flavours and rich, tasty cinnamon.
Aside from the beautiful bottle, there are some wonderful notes about this one - there are fruity touches here and there, but the vanilla is exceptionally intense.
We wouldn't recommend drinking it neat for that reason - consider adding it to an Irish coffee!
This whisky is something utterly wonderful - rich, sharp, and potent, it's another that we wouldn't recommend drinking neat. This flavoured whiskey is one that might be best in a wonderful iced tea since the peach flavour will do some magic in no time.
Far from the orange peel notes of a lot of other flavoured whiskies, this option is resoundingly cherry flavoured, though without being too intense, as bright cherry flavour often is.
Try adding this flavoured whiskey to an old-fashioned with some maple syrup, and foregoing the maraschino cherry.
There's a little vanilla in a number of the flavoured whiskeys on this list, but this one has a strong vanilla note playing well against the powerful apple note at the center.
This one is definitely a sipping whiskey, like a Jim Beam from earlier in this article, though perhaps some small additions wouldn't go amiss.
Adding a little honey or cinnamon could create something not dissimilar to Dewar's Highlander honey. While you wouldn't fool anyone looking through your whisky collection, it would be a tasty experiment, so perhaps worth a try!
No matter the flavour of whisky there are always room to have a few snacks alongside this wonderful tipple. Something like our whisky & snacks gift box always goes down a storm.
November 22, 2023
September 29, 2023