One of the most popular new sectors of the spirits business is a somewhat unusual one. Building on the popularity of the ubiquitous flavored vodkas, several distillers have started introducing flavored whiskeys.
According to the production information, Evan Williams Cherry Reserve combines aged bourbon with "natural cherry flavor." The distiller can't legally call this bourbon, so you won't find that word anywhere on the bottle. But that's what it is, albeit with the addition of cherry and some other stuff as well, like caramel coloring. Presumably sugar, too, considering how sweet it is.
On the nose, it's all sweet cherries. Very nice if you like cherries -- and I love them. So I enjoyed the aroma very much. The cherries come across strong in the taste as well, along with a little nutty bitterness and a modest alcohol kick. There's a hint of almonds, which made me think of Amaretto.
It's nice stuff. Sweet -- you'll notice I keep mentioning that -- but with a pleasing flavor. The cherry is more authentic than you usually find in spirits like this. It thankfully avoids that cough syrup taste that plagues a lot of the competitors.
This liqueur is 35% alcohol, making it almost as strong as standard spirits, which are generally 40%. So be careful. Even with the high alcohol content (for a liqueur), it still goes down pretty easily and could sneak up on you.