Red Stag Spiced builds on the popular line of flavored whiskeys that Jim Beam began with their original Red Stag product, Black Cherry Bourbon. For this new spirit, the distillers start with their flagship four-year-old bourbon (Jim Beam White label) and infuse it with cinnamon and other spices.
At first whiff, it's all cinnamon. Upon further review, it's still cinnamon, and lots of it. That flavor carries over into the spirit itself. A somewhat artificial, but not unpleasant taste of cinnamon candy. Kind of like a Red Hot, but without the overpowering spiciness. It makes itself known, for sure, but it doesn't overstay its welcome.
Red Stag Spiced is warm and sweet with a touch of oakiness, but I found that the bourbon got lost in the background. You can taste a little of the whiskey in there, but not as much as I'd hoped for. I don't think that's a drawback for a lot of consumers — after all, you don't buy a spirit like this if you're expecting fine bourbon. But I was hoping for a little more of the whiskey to assert itself.
The finish is fleeting, ending on a somewhat funky (musty?) note that, fortunately, fades quickly. This is where the flavor really leaps out as being too artificial. It's possible that this would not be as noticeable if you drank it mixed with something else, perhaps Coke.
I had a conflicted reaction to Red Stag Spiced. On the one hand, it's a successful version of what the distillers (apparently) set out to do. It's uncomplicated bourbon that tastes like cinnamon. On that basis, it's a success. But even so, I don't see myself drinking it very often. However, if it sounds like the kind of thing that you'd enjoy, you should definitely give it a try.
Quality Grade: B-
Value Grade: B
Final Grade: B