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Evan Williams Cinnamon Reserve Review

Cinnamon flavored alcohol seems to be slowly following in the footsteps of spiced rum; companies are beginning to spit their own takes out, bit by bit.  Goldschlager’s gone through somewhat of a surgence, we were treated to Fireball Whisky not too long ago, and even the latest offering from Malibu, Island Spiced, promises “caribbean rum infused with coconut, vanilla and a hint of cinnamon.”

And here we have Evan Williams, certainly no stranger to flavor-infused spirits.  They’ve already granted us affordable liqueurs in the form of Reserves (honey and cherry), each sharing their own bit of success.  Naturally, a new flavor has worked its way out of the distilleries and onto store shelves.  Cinnamon Reserve promises a “hot cinnamon taste” along with “a hint of fire and spice” and, if my time with Honey Reserve was any indication, one heck of a sticky, syrupy experience.

A picture of cinnamon churros with 2D flames is certainly eye-catching amidst aisles of black, white and brown labels.  The copper color of the full bottle proves to be misleading, as the spirit’s saturation quickly fades when poured, unlike the more consistent Honey Reserve.  On the nose there’s a definite cinnamon character (what a shock), though I can’t help but compare it to Fireball, which is far more forward.  It’s odd too, since Fireball is a cinnamon-infused whisky, while Evan Williams is merely a liqueur, so the bourbon-whiskey essence is played down.

If you gave me both Cinnamon Reserve and Fireball in a blind taste test without trying either beforehand, however, I’d have thought very differently.  Where a shot of Fireball tingles your mouth and taste buds like a tasty, spicy chicken wing, Evan Williams gives you a more straightforward cinnamon flavor with cordial and bourbon essence immediately on the finish.  More cinnamon briefly creeps back up, but it doesn’t stick around nearly long enough to leave a remotely strong impression.

Much like Crown Royal Maple, the cinnamon of Fireball felt like it was an actual part of the whiskey.  Yet with so much flavor, combined with a fairly tame amount of alcohol (66 proof), Fireball lacked the soul of a true whiskey.  What it offered instead was a rather refreshing experience, given the gimmicky premise.  Evan Williams, by comparison, wants to be a jack of all trades.  It wants to feed you the added flavor, but not so that cinnamon is the only thing it offers.  Sadly, the rest of the drink is not very worthwhile.  That lingering, syrupy character which Honey Reserve bathed in is present here, bringing out an experience that makes me suspect this stuff has high fructose corn syrup.  It doesn’t have this issue quite as bad as Honey Reserve, but without as much of a flavorful profile, it’s hard for me to be generous.

I hate turning this review into a comparison, but it’s damn-near inescapable.  Evan Williams have simply found themselves stuck on the backburner once again.  Honey Reserve was an ample supply of honey, but once considered alongside Wild Turkey’s American Honey, the lower price tag began to make even more sense.  Not that Honey Reserve was a bad product, it just didn’t have much of a place amongst vastly superior (Wild Turkey) and commendably different peers (Jack Daniel’s, Bushmills).  Cinnamon Reserve can at least enjoy the potential for more accessibility in recipes, though if my town is any indication, its not going to be the easiest bottle to find.  What we have here is a spirt that feels timid, afraid of giving us the flavor and experience touted on the very bottle.  It’s not a bad drink, per se, but when you can get a more authentic and fulfilling experience for literally the same price elsewhere, it’s tough to look at the glass half full.

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Posted by on March 23, 2013 in Alcohol, Alcohol, Blog, Drinks, Review


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Unemployment Rant

If my unemployment keeps up, then I might have to check myself into a mental ward.  At this point, being around extrovert nuts would be an immense improvement over wasting time, applications, money and gas for weeks on end.  Loneliness and constant rejection just don’t go well together.

This is especially frustrating when you’ve come out of college with a 4-year degree and have been hit so hard by reality that you might as well jump headfirst off of Mount Rushmore.  How nice is it to know someone’s young, naive stupidity was taken advantage of for some stranger’s thousand dollar raise?

The whole “from college to unemployment route” I’ve taken has seriously soured me to where the most valuable bit of information I obtained wasn’t even directly taught: never trust anyone.  Of course right now I wish I’d just asked Wes Craven, he could’ve told me that.  What’s more is that this pervades as I struggle for any chance of work and income.  I’m not even talking legit, career-minded jobs; I’m talking the low-end crap.  Grocery stores, retail, restaurants, all of those minimalist, commercialized cement holes.  About the only places off limits to me are gas stations, convenience stores and fast food joints.  Yeah, I’m ultimately dealing with the same lousy customers, but since they seem to snap there more than anywhere else, I’d prefer to spare myself, if only for the time being.

Like I said, trust is one thing that just can’t be found in today’s market and economy.  Other prospecting employees can relate when I emphasize how managers and interviewers simply lie right to your face.  You know how after an interview the person you spoke to says “you’ll hear from us in 48 hours,” or something like that?  Let me ask this: How many times does that actually happen?  It’s funny that businesses set up these questionnaires and pitch their company as valuing the customer by being honest and attentive to them.

Sorry, but if I don’t even get a phone call after an interview when I’m promised one (“regardless of whether you’re hired or not”), I consider myself lied to and betrayed not just as a hopeful employee, but as a customer.  Maybe these companies and their (high-end) workers don’t realize it, but employees are customers too.  If you don’t treat them well and serve up the two-face entree, they’re not going to say “yeah, this is a company I want to do business with as a customer.”  They won’t want to give you money (in return), they’ll elect go elsewhere.  It’s a little something called competition.  And if the competitors aren’t going to handle things in a better way, then you’re all off my list!  Hate to disappoint all the stores and shops that plainly lied to me, but if you can’t uphold what you told me in-person (actually treat me like I have a brain–which I do, believe it or not), then I see no reason to give you my time, attention or money.  Although, being unemployed, money is tough to find, so so much for that.

On the chance you do get a job interview, there’s a good chance you still won’t get the job.  This is all the more inevitable when, like me, your experience is so limited it might as well be nonexistent.  Without experience, you’re nothing.  And since no experience means no work, your/my chances are literally shot down the sewers and into the Earth’s molding crust.  It’s become less and less likely for a company to give the less experienced person a shot.  They don’t want to train us, they want people who can jump right on board.  The apple that falls closest is apparently the best option.  A bit of time and effort to bring a potentially better fit is hardly worth considering.

Some interviews are so disappointing and bare-bones that you wonder why you even bothered showing up.  I recently had one at a set time, but I showed up a few minutes early only to find that someone who dressed in sloppy shorts, wore a black tank-top, cap and a few piercings became part of the team.  Right in front of my eyes!  At that point I–in my black button-up shirt tucked into my khaki-pants with a belt–just wanted to walk out and say “thanks a lot for officially wasting my time and combusting my hope away.”  I dress seriously, answer in an honest, friendly manner and remain composed only to once again get the shaft.

I honestly wouldn’t be surprised that, even with a dead blog such as this, employers will read this and think to themselves, “well, that’s one more person we know not to consider.”  But I guess those same employers don’t realize what three months of constant rejection and scraped goals can do to a 22-year-old.  Persistence is supposed to be key, but a completely positive attitude amidst it is about as likely as my family winning the Lottery (which doesn’t sound half bad right now).

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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Blog, Rant


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