By Dave Faries


Black Velvet Toasted Caramel


If whiskey is perfect, there is no reason for flavored versions. Yet distilleries persist…

Black Velvet is a leftover from the days when languid women splashed across slick magazine advertising pages to lure Sports Illustrated readers into the vice-ridden world of blended whiskey—if they could tear themselves from the Borkum Riff or smokeless tobacco adds on the facing page.

Black Velvet’s Toasted Caramel delves into the same novice market. Regional whiskeys carry hints of grain, barrel, age and the very climate in which they were born. Flavored adaptations appeal to…well, it’s the difference between the provocative lyrics of early punk rockers and the saccharin stylings of Justin Bieber.

On the nose, Black Velvet warms you with butterscotch, toffee, sliced bread and a hint of fiery ethanol.

It as chewy, viscous sip, tethered to syrupy sweetness. Behind this first-timer cake, however, mellow nougat lurks—an alcoholic Snickers bar, without the chocolate, with added guilt. There’s something else, though: a maple candy, week-old toffee edge, followed by a belt-slap of pepper that sharpens with each mouthful.

In other words, those who cannot abide the true flavor or hard whiskey may enjoy Black Velvet Toasted Caramel.


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