Review: Cabin Fever Maple Whisky – 4 out of 5 Noses…sort of

by Ernie Ayres on December 15, 2011

I first tasted Cabin Fever Maple Whisky last year at the Beer and Bourbon Festival in Nashville, TN.  If you’ve been to the Beer and Bourbon Fest (they are held all over the US) you know that it’s mostly like a big Frat party.  Without going into too much detail about that, let’s just say you don’t get a lot of time to really taste what you’re drinking.

After having a pour of Cabin Fever I stopped the young lady and asked her if she could tell me more about this sweet, sweet nectar.  She worked for the arena, not Cabin Fever and is just there to pour, mkay?  Okay.  She did, however, have business cards for Cabin Fever so I took one. Unfortunately, I didn’t use said business card other than to simply hang it on the wall by my desk.

For a few weeks after the show, whenever I was in a liquor store I’d check to see if they had it.  No one did.  Finally, I just gave up on finding it locally and hoped it would get more popular soon so I could get my grubby paws on some.  Finally, I was at Red Wine and Spirits in Bellevue, TN just two weeks ago and there it was…just sitting on the shelf. <Enter Angels Singing>

As soon as I got home the bottle was opened and I was pouring a glass. Wow!  Maple: Check!  Whiskey: Check!  The butter / butterscotch flavor is a lot more pronounced than I remember, but I had a few other whiskeys before trying this one last year so my taste buds may have been slightly impaired.

Packaging:
I really like the label.  It’s artsy without being pretentious.  It looks hand drawn and has a lot of tiny detail on what feels like high quality label paper.  The only thing I’d like to see added is a batch number or bottle ID on each bottle.  A lot of the smaller distilleries are doing that now and it’s a nice touch.  That being said, the label is great as-is.


Color:
One of the funny things is that it actually looks like Maple syrup in the bottle.  It has the deep, rich mahogany color that I associate with good Maple syrup and, sometimes, a good bourbon.  Once poured and a little ice has been introduced, it lightens up a bit.  Not too much, but a noticeable transformation takes place.  It’s all good, trust me.

Nose:
Here’s where is starts to get a little tricky.  At first whiff, you’ll get a strong Butterscotch scent. If you keep going (trust me…you will) you’ll eventually stumble upon the Maple.  If you haven’t started impatiently sipping by now and try again you will get a little oak and maybe…just maybe a little malt. Maybe.  It doesn’t smell like any whisk(e)y I’ve ever smelled before, which is quite refreshing.

Taste:
When tasting for a review, I’ll typically take a big bite (about 1/3 of the drink) and let it sit in my mouth, maybe swish it around a little, then swallow.  I have to admit, because of the sweet nose, I took a much smaller sip. Wow! It’s sweet, but not too sweet. The butterscotch is there, but not as pronounced as it smells. As soon as the butterscotch steps back I got a rich, sweet push from the Maple. By now I’m thinking, “How’d they do this?” The ever so elusive malt in the nose was nowhere to be found during the tasting. After adding a couple ice cubes, however, there it was! The sweeter, buttery goodness was suppressed for a more “normal” tasting whisk(e)y.

Finish:
The finish is sweet and lasts for a couple days. Probably the longest finish I can remember since Ardbeg’s Uigeadail from a previous tasting. I found myself contemplating how this would taste with a plate of pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon. Mmmm….bacon.

On the website it mentions that Rob Robillard, after extensive travel, thought since other regions had their own whisk(e)y, why couldn’t Vermont? That makes sense. I live in Tennessee and we have several whiskeys here so why can’t Vermont!? Well, now Vermont is being represented…and being represented very well I might add.

The Robillard family didn’t set out to take the whiskey world by storm. They set out to make a great product. The marketing is good, the label is very well done, and the whiskey, well, rocks!

Cabin Fever Maple Flavored Whiskey gets a 4 out of 5 Noses…when drinking it straight.

**SIDE NOTE: When mixed with the linked Egg Nog recipe below, it is a 5 out of 5 noses. Best dang stuff I’ve ever put in my pie hole! Ever.

Home made Egg Nog recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/eggnog-recipe2/index.html

Have you already tried it? What do you think? Agree or disagree? Be sure to leave comments below!

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