Review: Wild Turkey American Honey Sting

Review: Wild Turkey American Honey Sting

stingIs the honey-flavored whiskey thing coming to an end? Now, Wild Turkey is releasing a limited edition flavored flavored whiskey: American Honey Sting, a crazy expression of the classic American Honey that is spiked with the infamous ghost pepper, the hottest chili pepper in the world. No relation to this guy.

Honey-flavored whiskies have rapidly become the most boring category of spirits on earth. Dump some honey into cheap bourbon, Canadian, Scotch, or Irish whiskey — all of these have honey expressions on the market now — and it sweetens things up while smoothing out the harsher elements of a lesser spirit. Sure, not all honey whiskies are made equal — a few are quite good, some are truly awful — but for the most part they are hard to distinguish from one another.

And so, with Sting, at least we’re getting something different. While it might foretell the end of the honey whiskey market, it might be the beginning of something entirely new in this space. Honey-plus whiskies. God help us.

As for Sting itself, there’s little up front to cue you in to anything out of the ordinary with this product. Even the name “Sting” on the bottle is understated. I expect many purchasers of this spirit won’t have any idea what they’re buying because there’s no picture of a cartoon chili pepper on the bottle.

That may not be such a problem, though. Despite the spooky threat of the ghost pepper, Sting is surprisingly understated. I’ve had far hotter spirits in the past, and some of those were flavored with little more than cayenne or jalapenos. The nose starts out with pure honey liqueur — and with just a touch of woody bourbon to it — with just a hint of heat if you breathe it in deep. Give it some time and it starts to singe the nostrils a bit, but it’s fully manageable. But that takes time. A cursory sniff reveals nothing out of the ordinary.

The body starts of with that well-oiled, thick honey sweetness — and then you figure you’ll wait for the heat to hit. You might be waiting for quite a while. In my experience with Sting, that heat was hit and miss. Some sips would offer none at all. Some would end with a pleasant warmth coating the back of the throat for about a minute. There’s nothing scorching or quick-give-me-some-milk burning, really, just a nice balance of sweet and hot — at least most of the time.

While the absence of heat in some encounters with Sting are a little strange, they don’t really impact the enjoyment of the spirit in a negative. In fact, they kind of make things fun. Will this round be simple honey… or will it come with a kick? I had fun with it, anyway.

71 proof.

A- / $23 /

Wild Turkey American Honey Sting




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Kenneth on October 27, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    One thing I have to disagree on is the part about honey-flavored whiskies becoming “the most boring category of spirits on earth.” I’d give that to cinnamon whiskey. Fireball has yet to receive a true challenger; all the attempts have simply been plain with a sweet, un-intriguing cinnamon flavor. Red Stag Cinnamon, Kentucky Fire, Early Times Fire Eater, Catch Fire (which is putrid, by the way); you could serve them all to me blind and I doubt I’d notice any notable differences. Yet if someone gave me Jim Beam Honey, Red Stag Honey Tea, Tennessee Honey, American Honey and so on, I’d at least pick up on some core variations. And let’s not forget Bushmill’s welcome rendition.

    Sorry for the rant, but that’s just what I feel.

  2. paula on November 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    This whiskey has the perfect bite of ghost pepper I love it. Hoping it will be a product available all year round, not just seasonal! I love it!

  3. Nic on November 21, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    I’m quite looking forward to trying this! Though, ghost peppers aren’t the hottest peppers in the world anymore – that title belongs to the Carolina Reaper. Nonetheless, I love sweet & spicy together…I think this could be a winner!

  4. John on December 31, 2015 at 6:42 am

    I miss the Honey Sting, I do not like Cinnamon. I also don’t like sweets in general. The Ghost pepper was the thing that intrigued me and, had me wanting to buy more. Sadly, I can’t find it anywhere.

  5. Christopher Null on December 31, 2015 at 8:24 am

    John, it’s widely available online, for example – — that’s the best price I can find.

  6. Peter on January 9, 2016 at 12:36 am

    Tried normal one and liked it, then spotted the sting. Soon as the bloke said Ghost pepper I grabbed another two bottles and now I get a bottle every time I am in town Ashe said it was only a limited edition. (Hope Not).

  7. Chris on April 9, 2016 at 1:48 am

    I’m 53 and a drinker of spirits for many years..the American Honey for the price one of many favorites..would recommend it..and anyone..thanks…

  8. Nick McCann on April 19, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    I grow hot peppers of all kinds,,,,and kicked this up a notch with a little blended “reaper”,,,just to spice it up……results….NICE!!…(carolina reaper ,,,hottest pepper on record to date)

  9. James on November 5, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Mate, your tastebuds must be broken. Wild Turkey honey tastes totally different to the likes of the Jim Beam version and others. I have found the WTH Sting to be a good drink with consistent taste from one bottle to the next

  10. KAREN on October 11, 2019 at 10:59 am

    Sting has replaced Amaretto as my cold weather warm up by the fire drink. It is nice and smooth without the sticky sweetness Love it !

  11. Don on October 8, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    Absolutely love the Sting. The Ghost pepper provides the perfect bite & makes one long for another. Purchased two bottles and will repeat. Great liqueur over ice! Love it!!

  12. Amanda W on October 1, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    Best medicine ever for a cold!

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