Sunday, December 31, 2023

Blackened Total Wine Exclusive Batch Blended Whiskey Finished in Black Brandy Casks

- $45
- 90 Proof
- Ohio

There's something to love about vacation whiskey. Perhaps it's the warm weather, or the momentary lack of responsibility, or just the fact that it's whiskey while on vacation. Whatever it is, I find myself really enjoying my vacation whiskeys, whatever they may be.

In this instance, while in Florida I wanted something I couldn't find in Illinois. So, I naturally gravitated towards a store pick. But, I also decided to go with something that has certainly been out and on the shelves for a few years now, but I have yet to try -- Blackened.  This whiskey, blended by Dave Pickerell, certainly carries the credentials, and I was curious about the black brandy finishing. Plus, it seemed like a good easy drinker in the likely event I found myself enjoying a drink in the afternoon sun.

The aroma was full of caramel and vanilla notes, but the brandy influence was immediately noticeable.  That's where notes of grape and apple came through. After a bit of opening up, those notes seemed to transform a bit into a kind of baked pear note that certainly dominated. It also remained very sweet, with a brown sugar sweetness.

While the nose was full and delicious, the flavor seemed to fall a bit flat, especially in comparison.  I definitely got the brandy notes, as flavors of white grape and sweet apple came through. That baked pear note also made an appearance, but it was all quite muted.  I realize that the proof on this whiskey is relatively low, but I still expected more pronounced flavor.

Aside from the brandy influence, there was a layer of vanilla underscoring those other flavors. It also had the lightest peppery spice, to at least make it a bit interesting. That also helped counter the sweetness, as without it it may have been a bit over the top. The brown sugar note was fairly constant.

I love the idea of this whiskey, taking a great blend and giving it a unique finish. I just wish the flavor was a bit more focused.  It could have come across as bold and unique, but instead came across as flat and a bit boring. I may have to give this a try at higher strength, but I don't know that I'll be buying a bottle in order to conduct that experiment.

Grade: C

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