Back in February we announced the news that Jim Beam was releasing a black cherry-infused bourbon. My thought at the time was that they were shooting for the same crowd that enjoys flavored vodka – sort of young, hip crowd. I'm obviously not young and hip. I prefer my vodka pure and please don't mess with my bourbon.
That said, I was willing to give Jim Beam's new venture a chance. I wasn't going to judge it sight unseen or untasted. (Kevin, on the other hand, is a bourbon purist. He went into this already disliking it.)
Two weeks ago we picked up a bottle of Red Stag at Party Town, who seemed to be the first in the area to carry it. The rep had, of course, told the staff amazing things but the staff hadn't all tried it. We were left on our own.
Again – I went into this with an open mind. I don't mind the Wild Turkey American Honey, but at least Wild Turkey bills that as a liqueur. This is still bourbon.
Kevin instantly hated it. Much to my surprise, so did I. The best comparison I've got is cherry Nyquil. Bleh. It looks like bourbon, but one whiff and you smell can already smell the cough syrup. There's an aftertaste of syrup and plastic that is fairly unpleasant. I know it's supposed to be infused with natural flavors, but it sure doesn't smell/taste that way.
In an effort to be fair, we thought we'd mix it. When I travel and want a mixed drink, I go with either Beam or Jack and Coke. In theory, this would be a cherry Coke, right? While a Coke definitely improves the flavor of the bourbon, there's still the plastic aftertaste. We also tried with Sprite, much to the same effect. There's a chance this might add an interesting flavor to Bourbon Slush. My Slush recipe uses peach tea bags, and this might add a little more oomph to that, but I still worry about the aftertaste. I'm not sure how it would work with a Manhattan, but I think I've given up trying.
I really did want to like this – I love bourbon and I enjoyed the idea of extending my options. I do believe that it should be billed as a liqueur and not a bourbon, which has a strict definition. Either way, we give it a firm .
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