SinFire Cinnamon Whisky
Review: SinFire Cinnamon Whisky 82/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted March, 2013
SinFire Cinnamon Whisky is produced by Hood River Distillers, an importer, producer, and bottler of spirits in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The Company’s bottling plant is located beside Columbia River with Mt. Hood standing majestically behind the facility, and they have been there since 1968. I received a small sample of their new SinFire Whisky a few weeks ago and decided to put the sample through the paces of my review methodology. This cinnamon flavoured whisky apparently combines imported Canadian whisky with spicy-sweet natural cinnamon flavors. It is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 4/5
The Bottle for SinFire is shown to the left. It is a rectangular bottle with a plastic screw-cap closure, and the label features a stylized S, shaped like a serpent, which is on fire (presumable in the fires of Sheol). My understanding is that this bottle and label won gold medals for Packaging & Design at the MicroLiquor Spirit Awards competition last year (in 2012). I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder as quite frankly I do not like the label at all. If I saw this bottle on the shelf at the local liquor store, I wouldn’t give it a second look. It seems rather ‘gimmicky’ and uninspiring to me.
Despite my dislike of the simplistic cartoon-like label, I do appreciate that Hood River had the good sense to spell ‘whisky’ without the ‘e’. This is a subtle reminder that Canadian Whisky not American Whiskey is at the heart (or perhaps the ‘cinnamon heart’) of the spirit.
In the Glass 8/10
When I pour the spirit from the bottle into my glass, the flavoured whisky has a pale golden appearance similar to the colour of light brown sugar. When I tilt the glass and give it a slow swirl I notice a moderately thick sheen on the inside of the glass. Medium sized legs form and fall slowly back into the spirit. As I put my snoot near the glass I receive a very strong indication of cinnamon heart candies. Some butterscotch is apparent in the breezes as well as a light sandalwood and hints of rye whisky. Although I receive indications of sweetness, it does not appear to be overdone.
In the Mouth 49.5/60
The spirit brings a little butterscotch across the palate which is followed very quickly by hot cinnamon. The heat from the cinnamon builds as I take a few sips. Despite what is a very aggressive presence of spice, my sense is that under the cinnamon (and wisps of butterscotch) lies a nice whisky with a light rye character. I taste more than just a wisp of sandalwood and rye spices in the flavour profile. I appreciate when the makers of the flavoured spirits begin with a quality spirit and work forward from that point, rather than just adding spice and flavour to an immature spirit.
In the Throat 12.5/15
The exit reveals more of that whisky character than I was expecting. A light woodiness is apparent as the spirit slides down my throat, and (after I adjust somewhat to the cinnamon) I decide that my palate and tonsils were not battered by cinnamon quite as much as I anticipated.
The Afterburn 8/10
The whisky liqueur lives up to its name with a fiery cinnamon heat and a touch of sinful sweetness. I found I could sip on the SinFire, although it was much more enjoyable in the cocktail format.
You may read some of my other reviews of Liqueurs and Flavoured Spirits (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
A few months ago I constructed a nice cocktail which for cinnamon whisky which I called the Buzz Saw. It combines cinnamon whisky with a splash ginger-ale, Angostura bitters, and a muddled slice of orange. For the SinFire I am following the same path only this time in a high ball style replacing the orange slice with lemon for the taller style of drink.
The Buzz Saw Highball
1 1/2 ounce SinFire Cinnamon Whisky
1 or 2 drops Angostura Bitters
4 1/2 ginger ale
Slice of Lemon
Add Ice and Cinnamon Whisky to a tall serving glass
Put in a drop or two of bitters
Complete with Ginger-Ale
Garnish with Lemon
I am sometimes asked what my numbers actually mean. In order to provide clarification, you may (loosely) interpret the scores 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 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)