By Richard Thomas
The craze in flavored whiskeys might seem a little strange to Americans, who have enjoyed a period where the concept of a “single malt” was virtually the standard since the repeal of Prohibition. Before that, however, flavored whiskeys were commonplace. So contrary to what a so-called whiskey purist might tell you, a middleman like Bird Dog, who buys sourced bourbon and makes a few alterations before bottling and selling it under their own name, is not some kind of new heresy. It is, in fact, positively 19th Century.
Like the rest of the Bird Dog line, Hot Cinnamon is 80 proof (40% abv). It’s made from bourbon, most likely young bourbon. Despite the cheap price tag, Bird Dog comes in a rather nice package, with a wood and cork stopper.
The color of Hot Cinnamon is deep gold, once again pointing to the probable youth of the whiskey within. Past that point, the whiskey delivers on its name. The nose is bold, with a scent reminiscent of red cinnamon bubblegum or candies. The flavor kicks out from there, following the powerful cinnamon line with just a little note of tarty fruit. The finish winds down with some warmth, tinged with cinnamon.
Cinnamon, cinnamon, cinnamon, but no bourbon characteristics to speak of. Like Bird Dog Peach, this stuff isn’t unpleasant to drink, and I can easily see it occupying a wintertime niche as a drink in its own right, outside of its use in mixology. However, it simply doesn’t taste like whiskey plus this or that; instead, it tastes like the this or that. Ultimately, it needs to be seen as hot cinnamon booze based on bourbon, and not bourbon plus cinnamon.
Like the other Bird Dog whiskeys, Hot Cinnamon is a real winner on the price tag, usually retailing for around $20.