We are going to be frank with you. Not Shirley or Bill, but frank. Normally, we eschew and poo-poo flavored whiskies as just so much cheap opiates for the consumer masses who either don’t know any better or live in places where they either cannot or choose not to afford any better. Generally speaking, flavored whiskies are for your people who don’t like normal varieties of whisky/whiskey and don’t want to be subjected to heavily peated torture or are willing to do something for the person they love. Rarely will you come across the flavored whiskey aficionado who you must respect seriously. Seriously.
However, it is with that long-winded disclaimer that we come to Eastside Distilling’s Marionberry Whiskey. It is just like any other brand’s flavored whiskey except that it’s not – because it’s frickin’ marionberry, baby! It’s not those boring flavors like apple, cinnamon and honey – it’s a trip to exotica with a berry flavor [a blackberry hybrid] that is the cousin to all those other more popular berries that live in Malibu or the Hamptons and it never gets the love or inheritance it deserves. But never you mind about that – marionberry is doing just fine, thank you very much – only now it’s in a whiskey thanks to Portland’s Eastside Distilling.
Eastside would like you to slurp up all their marketing spiel about their 60% alcohol content [30 proof] Marionberry Whiskey and hope that you find its aroma to be like that of a “sweet mango” or its taste to be that of “warm brandy and stone fruit essences”. No. Ignore all that mollycoddling language. When you crack open a bottle of Eastside Distilling’s Marionberry Whiskey it smells like you just opened a top-shelf, fancy pants, extra-industrial strength bottle of Nyquil. More specifically, marionberry-flavored Nyquil. That medicinal, cough syrup odor is strong out of the box [so to speak] and threatens to knock you down three pegs if you know what’s good for you. But after awhile, it calms down and buffs your tonsils nicely without further backsassery. In other words, it takes an hour or so of “getting used to” or you could say it’s an acquired taste if you want to go all snooty on us. Either way, it’s nine million times better than Fireball.
Still, despite your acquisition of its taste, Eastside Distilling’s Marionberry Whiskey is, in the end, flavored whiskey, and as such, is never going to be as good – in its straight-up form – as regular ‘ol whisky. But, you can listen to their marketing spiel and combine it with lemonade for a sassy summertime drink that you may want to consider as a spiking ingredient for a family reunion picnic or whatever – and in that format, Eastside Distillery is a clear winner for summertime festivities. A clear winner. Well, actually, a plum wine-colored winner, but you know what we mean.
WC gives Eastside Distilling Marionberry Whiskey a 71 out of 100 score – but if you fancy trying a tipple, do not despair, that is actually a decent score for a flavored whiskey.
Eastside Distillery Marionberry Whiskey is available for $40 per bottle.