By Debbie Shocair
The bottling company Spectrum Spirits has released this small batch American “whiskey with natural spice flavors,” and as far as flavored whiskeys go (a category in itself these days), it’s a classy, understated expression that dabbles in subtleties.
While most people expect me to abhor flavored whiskies, I enjoy explaining my view of their role as “gateway whiskies,” enticing newcomers with a gentle combination of whiskey, sweetness, and other flavors. They serve to remove the fear some folks have where whiskey is concerned. Many of those newcomers soon succumb from flavored whiskey fully into to the amber-side. What is more, these flavored whiskies, like any quality spirit, are not only enjoyable when done well. Gaur Spice is one of the better flavored expressions I’ve had the pleasure of sampling.
Named for the majestic Gaur Bull, or Indian Bison, Gaur Spice is flavored with nutmeg, clove, ginger and cinnamon, also known as masala chai spices, and Spectrum has done a fine job of balancing the flavors with the spirit.
On the nose, this 86 proof spiced whiskey is reminiscent of Circus Peanuts (Google it if you don’t remember them!), a marshmallow candy, banana, deep vanilla, and chai tea. Breaking it with a half a teaspoon of water brought out warm nutmeg and chai spices right to the front.
The mouthfeel was surprisingly strong at the tip of the tongue, a bit stronger than I expected for an 86 proof spirit, but it was not unpleasant in any way. It was also warm in the chest as it went down.
The finish on Gaur Spice was long and sweet, altogether enjoyable and not one-dimensional as some flavored whiskies are known to be. It was redolent with cinnamon, vanilla, and sweet tobacco.
Gaur Spice would be a lovely addition to any party, soiree, or quiet evening with friends. Lovely neat, it would also be a delight on the rocks or as a foundation for any whiskey cocktail and retails for around $25.