Don’t Be Fooled by Whiskeys That Aren’t What They Seem

There are more whiskey options nowadays than ever before, with hundreds of bottles on the shelves of some stores—but you may be surprised to discover that some of them aren’t true whiskey. Many products, including the ones below, use words like whiskey, bourbon, and rye prominently on their labels, and some display the names of well-known whiskey brands; however, none of these are straight whiskey. That doesn’t mean they’re inferior or you shouldn’t consider drinking them, but that they may display flavors well outside what’s normal for conventional whiskey.

Know What You’re Drinking: Whiskey Liqueurs, Flavored Whiskeys & Whiskey Specialties

Angel’s Envy Straight Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrels
Looks like: Bourbon
It’s really: Whiskey specialty
Kentucky straight bourbon finished in port barrels. (93 points)

Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye
Looks like: Rye
It’s really: Whiskey specialty
Kentucky straight rye blended with Canadian rye and port-style wine. (84 points)

Evan Williams Honey
Looks like: Bourbon
It’s really: Liqueur
Kentucky straight bourbon blended with honey liqueur.

FEW Cold Cut Bourbon
Looks like: Bourbon
It’s really: Whiskey specialty
Bourbon diluted to proof with cold-brew coffee instead of water. (87 points)

Heritage Distilling Co. BSB (Brown Sugar Bourbon)
Looks like: Bourbon
It’s really: Flavored whiskey
Bourbon with natural brown sugar and cinnamon flavors added.

Oak & Eden Bourbon & Spire
Looks like: Bourbon
It’s really: Whiskey specialty
Bourbon finished “in bottle” with a spiral-cut piece of toasted oak.

Southern Comfort
Looks like: American whiskey
It’s really: Whiskey specialty
Spirit whiskey with added natural flavors and caramel color.

Two James Spirits Johnny Smoking Gun
Looks like: American whiskey
It’s really: Flavored whiskey
A blend of corn and rye whiskeys infused with Asian teas.

Tommy Bahama Rye
Looks like: Rye whiskey
It’s really: Whiskey specialty
Rye whiskey blended with Tommy Bahama rum.

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