Whiskey aficionados may scoff into their peat-smoked malt and rye blends, but flavoured whiskey is on the rise.
The latest trend from the US involves spiking the dark stuff with everything from peppermint to orange to chocolate.
Nola Smokehouse and Bar at Barangaroo is leading the charge by introducing flavoured whiskey flights.
Co-owner Pete Fischer said flavoured whiskeys aren’t dumbed down versions of the real thing.
“They are serious products using different flavour profiles,” he said.
“In the States the boutique distillery market is going gangbusters, people are distilling with sea water, beer and coffee. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
“Seven Stills in San Francisco is leading the flavoured market at the moment. They distil straight from beer and its Chocasmoke is distilled from chocolate oatmeal stout. It is amazing.”
It’s one of the whiskeys on offer at as part of the flavoured tasting paddles. Another is the Pow-Wow Botanical Rye Whiskey that takes inspiration from gin and uses the botanical notes of saffron and orange to lend a note of astringency to the 45 per cent proof spirit.
Fischer said flavoured whiskeys are a great way to introduce people to the spirit.
“The alcohol is offset by sweetness, so it doesn’t hit you as hard, but they’re not super sweet flavours,” he said.
“Seasoned whisky drinker will still be able to identify the grass roots whiskey and how they introduce other flavours while still keeping to the core of what makes an American whiskey.”
The off-premise market for flavoured whiskey is also growing. Maker’s Mark Mint Julep has hints of mint and sugar while Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch series of experimental whiskies released this month include Espresso Roast, with coffee and chocolate notes.