Prepare for Battle! Fruity Flavors Invade the Whiskey Bottle
on 03/06/11 at 2:29 pmSpirits
Good whiskey is simple – grains, an oak barrel, maybe a little peat thrown into the mix for some Scottish flair. The formula is largely unquestioned and distillers deviate from it at their own peril. And why would they? Whiskey has been sacrosanct for hundreds of years, filling the tumblers of commoners and kings alike. So with legions of whiskey fans stand ready to defend the purity of this delicious brown elixir, ever vigilant against adulteration and breaks from tradition, why are so many distillers adding flavors to whiskey now?
There are two answers. The more cynical, of course, is money. Whiskey can be an acquired taste, so adding additional flavors, especially sweeter notes like cherries or honey, can make it a bit easier for the uninitiated to develop a taste for it. Call it the gateway drug theory. The other answer is that distillers are a twisted group who aren’t ever satisfied with the status quo and will always be tinkering to find tasty new twists on classics.
The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but whatever the reason, the last few years have seen flavored whiskies start hitting liquor store shelves in a big way.