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Spicebox Pumpkin Spiced Whisky

Review: Spicebox Pumpkin Spiced Whisky   82/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published August 16, 2013

Spicebox Whisky is based in Montreal, Quebec where they blend and bottle their Spicebox Canadian Spiced Whisky. Their new Spicebox Pumpkin Spiced Whisky was introduced last fall, and if you search enough through the liquor stores here in Alberta you can still find a few bottles hanging around. I really do not know much about this flavoured whisky as Spicebox website hasn’t listed it yet. I believe it is a seasonal product which might return in larger numbers again this fall. The Whisky is bottled at 70 proof or 35 % alcohol by volume and was brought into the Alberta Marketplace by Mondia Alliance Wine and Spirits of Montreal.

Although the press information on the Pumpkin Spice Whisky is scant, to help us understand the whisky better, I have a Pumpkin Spice recipe I can share which perhaps gives us a clue as to some of the spices used in the production of this whisky.

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*How to Make Arctic Wolf’s Pumpkin Spices

Ingredients:

1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
3/4 Tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Tsp Allspice
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg

Method

Thoroughly mix all ingredients
Store in a sealed glass jar

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I am sure that there are other recipe variations for making Pumpkin Spices; However, we need a starting place, and I suspect that the my recipe is similar to what the producers of the Pumpkin Spiced Whisky started with when they began their deliberations in constructing this flavored/spiced whisky. Maybe some brown sugar and vanilla as well …

SAM_0870 Pumpkin SpiceIn the Bottle 3.5/5

As you can see from the picture on the left, the Spicebox Pumpkin Spiced Canadian Whisky is sold in a standard ‘bar room’ bottle. It is obvious that economics is the motivating factor behind the bottle selection. To be honest, the whisky gives the appearance of being a bottom shelf offering, which is a pity because when I opened the bottle, I was pleasantly surprised to find something else.

In the Glass 8/10

I am much happier with the whisky when it is in my glass, than I was when it was in the bottle. It has a very pale colour, but a very nice initial aroma greets my nostrils as the scents and smells from the glass waft upwards. Impressions of vanilla, brown sugar and butterscotch are dominant, however bits and dabbles of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and ginger work their way into the breezes as well. These breezes above the glass actually do remind me of the sweet spicy aroma of a freshly baked pumpkin pie, (minus the actual pumpkin of course).

In the Mouth 50/60

The flavour has more spice than the nose implied. This is almost certainly a result of the sweet scents of vanilla, brown sugar and butterscotch which allowed only hints of ginger spice, nutmeg and cardamom scents to come through. However as the flavoured whisky crosses the palate, those initial sweet flavours are almost pushed aside by the ginger and nutmeg. ‘Almost’ is the key, as the vanilla, brown sugar and butterscotch are each unwilling to move aside completely, and the result is a nice melding of all of the flavours which provides both spicy heat and succulent sweetness with the vanilla acting as the glue holding the whisky together. This is not “I am doing cartwheels” great; but it is a huge step forward from my experience with the previously reviewed Spicebox Spiced Whisky.

I can sip the Spicebox Pumpkin Spiced Whisky and enjoy myself.  I also found it was very pleasant mixed with Ginger-ale.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The finish is sweet and spicy. Impressions of ginger and cinnamon linger upon the palate.  An equally firm impression of butterscotch makes these hot spices spice easier to take. The combination of spice and sweetness bodes well for cocktails.

The Afterburn 8/10

The only real flaw with this spiced whisky is the label on the bottle. It has no ‘pop’ and as a result the spirit looks and feels like a bottom shelf offering rather than the tasty melding of whisky and pumpkin pie spices that it is. Perhaps that is why a few scattered bottles are still gathering some dust on the shelves across the Province in our liquor stores. A better presentation would sure have garnered a sellout.

You may read some of my other reviews of  Liqueurs and Flavoured Spirits (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Cocktail

SAM_0653 Brandy Pumpkin Splash

Orange Pumpkin Spice Muddle

2 oz  Pumpkin Spiced Whisky
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 drops Angostura Bitters
Mixture of Crushed Ice and Large Ice Cubes (about 1 cup)
2 Orange Slices (including peel)
Twist of Lemon peel

Muddle an Orange slice in the bottom of a metal cocktail shaker with the bitters, the Pumpkin Spiced Whisky and the simple syrup.
Add a mixture of crushed ice and large ice cubes
Shake all of the ingredients until the sides of the shaker are cold and frosty
Strain into a cocktail glass
Twist a small piece of lemon peel over the Cocktail
Garnish with the second orange slice

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

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As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

4 Responses to “Spicebox Pumpkin Spiced Whisky”

  1. littlelib said

    I enjoyed your review and look forward to trying this whisky. However, I disagree with your assessment of the label. It could be argued it has a classic or retro look as opposed to bottom shelf. There’s a lot worse labeling out there.

    • I find nothing classic or retro about the label, it looks like something my youngest son could create and print on our home computer. But if you like it and feel it is classic or retro, that’s okay. I am not a fan of Picasso’s paintings, yet they are apparently masterpieces.

  2. Cody Leavitt said

    If you’re a fan of vanilla coke, mix about 2oz (or what ever you like) of pumpkin spiced whiskey and fill the glass with coke, stir and enjoy

 
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