Best of the worst: Flavored whiskeys


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Terrible and not-so-terrible: Peach Mist and Fire Eater
  • Julia Thiel
  • Terrible and not-so-terrible: Peach Mist and Fire Eater
This isn't exactly a roundup of flavored whiskeys, mostly because the idea of flavored whiskey sounds terrible to me so I'm not exactly inclined to go out and spend money on them. (I did taste some Evan Williams honey whiskey a couple years ago and remember it being unbearably sweet.) But I was recently sent samples of a couple new releases—peach-flavored Canadian Mist and cinnamon-flavored Early Times—and figured I might as well taste them.

Canadian Mist has actually released three flavors—peach, cinnamon, and maple—but I only tried the peach variety. It's Canadian Mist whiskey blended with peach liqueur, bottled at 70 proof, and it smells absolutely terrible. While I was still trying to muster the courage to try it, my friend tasted hers and declared it "the worst thing ever." I held my breath, took a small sip, and found it—not that bad. Slightly sweet, but not too unpleasant. But then I tried it without holding my breath, and the syrupy, fake-peach flavor came through more strongly, reminiscent of bottom-shelf peach schnapps. To mellow out the sweetness I tried adding sparkling water, then some lemon, but somehow that just made it worse. Bitters might have helped but I didn't have any handy—and I doubt they could have disguised the slight chemical flavor that became more obvious with every sip.

Early Times Fire Eater isn't new, apparently, but I think it just recently became available in Illinois. After trying the Canadian Mist I was a little leery of another cheap whiskey with liqueur added to it—in this case, cinnamon—but it really wasn't too bad. It's not interesting enough that I'd want to drink it straight; it tastes like cinnamon and whiskey with a sweet honey flavor, and there's not much going on. But by the same token, it's also perfectly inoffensive and would probably be good in a hot toddy or any drink that could use some spice (though its claims that it's "not for the faint of heart" are a little overstated; it's not all that spicy).

Julia Thiel writes about booze every Wednesday.


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