Cinnamon, apple, and whiskey. What do these three things have in common? Nothing at all. But if you’ve ever had a bowl of Apple Jacks or cereal with apple and cinnamon, you might be familiar with the taste of apple and cinnamon. In fact, you might recall that it tastes a bit sour, a bit sweet, and a bit spicy. That’s basically what Paddy Devil’s Apple tastes like minus the sourness.
When you first crack open the bottle, you’re gonna get a strong whiff of fresh green apples followed immediately by a very pungent aroma of cinnamon. Well, more like someone just shoved your face into a fresh batch of ripe apple juice and then doused your head in cinnamon powder when you come up for air. It’s quite strong, at least for me. It might even scare you off at what to expect for the taste. But come back, dear reader. The strong smell of apple and cinnamon may be a bit off putting but the taste wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be and I’m not terribly fond of apple and cinnamon as flavors. Now, I like Apple Jacks but like any American cereal, the sweetness factor almost always overwhelms any hint of apple or cinnamon in it. You might get a tingle of both but not very much else afterward. And of course, like any other American, I’ve had my share of really crappy apple and cinnamon flavored cookies, wafers, and other sweet treats in a variety of forms as well as the good stuff. And despite all that, I’m just not an apple and cinnamon kind of guy. I don’t hate it, but I don’t particularly like it either, you know what I mean? (Maybe that’s because I’m Chinese and we don’t have apples as a part of our regular diet). Now, I’ll eat it (or drink it), if it’s presented to me and it’s free. But otherwise, I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it to eat or drink it myself. If I had to sum it up in a few words, it’d be “It tastes fine” but we all know the sentence “it tastes fine” isn’t terribly descriptive.
Sipping this neat, it tastes like a sweeter version of a Hot Red bubblegum with a hint of apples. The apples part of this whiskey isn’t as strong as the labeling would have you believe. Devil’s Apple. Think about that. What does that even mean? And why does the devil eat apples? Maybe it means that it’s evil and in a sickly sort of way? If that’s what it means, I can imagine why they would call it that. The texture of this drink in your mouth is not syrupy but there is a definite cinnamon-y (or Hot Red Bubblegum) taste that is readily apparent as soon as the liquid courage touches your tongue. You know that burning sensation of cinnamon on the tip of your tongue when you chew on a stick of Hot Red bubblegum? You’re gonna feel that when you take your first sip of this. And then you’re gonna feel that same sensation again when it goes down the gullet. You can feel it somewhere between the “dumb bell” and the middle portion of the roof of your mouth (or palate). And if you read the labeling on this bottle, it says “Premium Liqueur with Apple and Cinnamon Flavors Blended with Paddy Irish Whiskey.” Honestly, I don’t know if it’s premium liqueur but this definitely has that liqueur texture in your mouth. It’s not quite cough syrup thick but more like a thinner version of it. It’s like taking a spoonful of Grade A honey and mixing it with about 1-2 oz of water. It has that kind of texture.
Drinking this on the rocks changes the dynamics a bit. If you’re thinking that this will mellow out the strong cinnamon-y flavor of Paddy Devil’s Apple, you’re right. It will. But (yes, there’s a but), adding ice to this actually brings out the harshness of the whiskey itself. And the longer that you chill it, the more apparent it is the quality of whiskey that they used to make this. It is terrible but not unbearable. It’s no worse than a typical bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon (the cheapest one that you can find). And it doesn’t linger. On the bright side, if you do chill it, the burning sensation from the liquor, not the cinnamon, is less apparent when it goes down the gullet. You won’t even feel it, if you sip it on the rocks. There’s a slight warm sensation, as is true with any liquor, once it hits your tummy, but otherwise, there’s no burning sensation of the liquor when you drink it neat. Again, the only burning sensation that you’ll feel is that of the cinnamon. Adding water has the same effect as ice. It brings out the harshness of this whiskey. (My sample was roughly 2 oz of whiskey to 1 oz of water). The interesting thing here about adding water, as opposed to ice, is that the liqueur “sweetness” lingers or perhaps stick to your lips, when you drink it, and then lick your lips. With ice, it doesn’t have that effect. With soda water, the carbonation really heightens the poor quality whiskey that they used and almost completely eliminates the cinnamon flavor.
Now, normally, I don’t start with the bad news with any bottle of liquor unless it’s just that bad in terms of taste but this bottle of flavored whiskey definitely doesn’t rub me the right way. I hate to compare it to Honey B Boots, but Honey B Boots is like the bottom of the bottom shelf flavored whiskeys. Between this bottle of Paddy Devil’s Apple and Honey B Boots? I would choose Honey B Boots, hands down. No contest. Why? Because it’s about half the price of this bottle of Paddy Irish Whiskey, and if you drank it neat, it’s actually quite pleasant and smooth to drink, relatively speaking. I know, I know. I’m comparing apples and oranges here but it’s flavored whiskey and that’s what I’m basing this on. It just “happens” to be the case that Paddy Devil’s Apple is an apple and cinnamon flavor as opposed to a plain honey flavor, which is Honey B Boots. At the moment, and so far as I can tell, there’s no other equivalent. Not really. So it’s hard to really gauge this flavored whiskey on its own level with other similar cinnamon and apple-based whiskeys when there aren’t any. Having said that though, compared to Honey B Boots, I would drink that over Paddy Devil’s Apple neat any day of the week. When poured over ice, however? Both are just as bad. At the same time though, neither of them lingers for long. It’s like a kick in the mouth and then it dissipates almost as quickly.
After all of that, I’ve been thinking about where this liquor would fit into the grand scheme of things. It’s hard to say because there’s no other liquor quite like it except maybe Jim Beam’s Apple whiskey but it’s not cinnamon-flavored though, so far as I know. Fireball and all its variants from other brands just don’t quite compare but it’s the closest thing to it. If I had to say it, if you like Fireball, you can think of Paddy Devil’s Apple as a slightly lighter version of it, less syrupy, and less of that overall cinnamon kick in the mouth. I can’t imagine anyone taking shots of this. It’s not really meant for taking shots. That cinnamon flavor will get to you. I think that the best spot to place this drink is if you plan on making a cocktail out of it or if you just like that kind of taste in your whiskey. I would imagine though that the more hardcore whiskey drinkers will be absolutely put off by the taste. For the casual drinkers? Drink it for the novelty factor. Otherwise, I would suggest that you steer clear of it. I would rather get drunk off of Gran Legacy’s Vodka than getting drunk off of this. The headache from the cinnamon and apple liqueur is not particularly pleasant.
All things considered, this bottle of liquor is ok. I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it again but for the novelty factor, I say, why not? Otherwise, you might want to steer clear of this one, even if it was priced at under $13, there are better alternatives to this. Maybe not in the same cinnamon and apple flavor level but in terms of flavored whiskeys, you have plenty of options.