By Richard Thomas
When it comes to flavored whiskey, there are the expected, staple choices and the trips into the unexpected. On the one hand you have the hot cinnnamons (no surprise there, what with the popularity of Fireball), the apple pies and other fruits, the honeys and the maples. The others are, well, anything that isn’t cinnamoned, fruity, honeyed or mapled, whiskeys like Hot Mama from Dark Corner Distillery.
The heat in this spicy lady comes from two sources. One is the cinnamon and chipotle peppers used to flavor it, and the other is the 111 proof (55.5% abv). Hot Mama isn’t all fire, though. She has a sweet side, with agave nectar in the flavorings as well. With a mix like that, I was looking forward to giving this whiskey a spin.
One of the choices about flavored whiskey is how far to go on the flavoring. One of the things that make Fireball so approachable is that it doesn’t even really taste that much like the Canadian whisky at its base, which is probably a good thing because I suspect that base is pretty cheap stuff.
Hot Mama layered the flavoring on thick, but at the same time upped the proof to keep the whiskey in the running. That wasn’t a good call, because that whiskey is a harsh spirit. I liked how the chipotle, cinnamon and agave came together, but the spirit’s harshness made the pineapple notes from the agave turn sour. Even on ice, my preferred way to drink flavored whiskeys, this one was just too rough.
Hot Mama is a limited, periodic release, so the price will vary.