Red Stag, the new black cherry flavored bourbon from Jim Beam, isn't a product aimed at the experienced whiskey enthusiast. Instead, like its competitors, Phillips Union's cherry and vanilla whiskies, this whiskey is an attempt to draw interest from the flavored vodka crowd. Will it succeed? Only time will tell, but as the vodka market becomes increasingly fragmented with a glut of flavored vodkas already in the market, this could be a perfect time for whiskey makers to introduce their products to new consumers.
I'll readily admit that I'm not a fan of flavored whiskies. I like my whiskey to taste like whiskey. That said, Red Stag is the fastest growing whiskey to launch in the past 5 years and if that success is any indication, I expect to see a great number of other flavored whiskies coming into the market soon.
On the palate, I find Red Stag artificial, and almost cloyingly sweet. I can't disassociate thoughts of cherry flavored cough syrup from my mind, and the finish leaves my tongue coated with an unpleasant flavor. I know Red Stag claims to be infused with natural flavors, but I can't help but think that the cherry flavor in Red Stag is as natural as that in Cherry Coke. In fact, for me, the only way I can enjoy this whiskey is to mix it with cola. Even then, the oddly chemical flavor of cherry makes this a less than pleasant cocktail.
If you are a seasoned whiskey enthusiast, I cannot recommend Red Stag by Jim Beam. Jim Beam makes a number of excellent products, and this is a rare misfire from one of the great names in American bourbon. If you are new to whiskey or particularly enjoy cherry flavored alcoholic beverages, you may want to give this a try. Just because I don't like a flavored whiskey doesn't mean that its bad or that someone else may not enjoy it. In fact, Red Stag's solid sales numbers seem to indicate that some segment of the population really enjoys it. This just isn't a product that resonates with me. If you are curious about trying Red Stag, I'd recommend ordering it in a bar before you invest in an entire bottle.
Overall, Jim Beam's impressive sales numbers behind Red Stag may be a precursor of more flavored whiskies coming into the market, but for true whiskey enthusiasts, Red Stag by Jim Beam misses the mark. However, any product that introduces the world of whiskey to new consumers deserves applause, and if you are new to whiskey, Red Stag might be the introduction that you are seeking. No Recommendation.