Per brand owner Diageo, Cascade Blonde American Whiskey is “a new style of blonde American whiskey that’s incredibly smooth, lighter in color and easier to drink than floating downstream.” Made using “a double chill filtration process, high-corn mash bill and limestone filtered water fresh from Cascade Spring in Tullahoma, Tenn.,” the whiskey is made at Cascade Hollow, where Dickel bourbons come from.
This so-called blonde whiskey — not technically a category of whiskey in the U.S. — is designed for mixing and it’s avowed purpose is to avoid heaviness, so it’s understandable that it’ll be a young spirit. How young? Diageo of course doesn’t put an age statement on Cascade Blonde, but I expect it top spend the bare minimum time in barrel. (As this is not a “straight” whiskey, it carries no minimum legal age requirement.)
Well, let’s give it a try.
To start with, the color is less “blonde” than you might think; it’s lighter than the typical bourbon, but the honey shades are appealing, almost like a youthful Scotch. The nose is also appealing — fruity and honey scented, with very mild wood notes. There’s surprisingly not much raw grain character here, a hallmark of any very young whiskey — what’s there comes across more like a sweetened breakfast cereal.
The palate sticks to the aromatic theme, though a somewhat stronger granary note creeps through here, along with a slightly bolder wood profile. Sweetness is readily available on the tongue, making me wonder if this isn’t outright doctored with a little sugar syrup. On the finish, a load of spices — cinnamon, gingerbread, and some nutmeg — all come to the forefront, sticking to the palate well into the conclusion.
While Cascade Blonde doesn’t feel overwhelmingly authentic — it tastes more like a spiced or flavored whiskey than a straight spirit — you really can’t beat the price tag considering the flavor packed into the bottle. As perhaps a more refined alternative to a shot of Fireball, I think there’s room in the market for the stuff.
B+ / $20