Where to begin, where to begin. This is a barrel-aged version of Fireball, the notorious and spectacularly successful cinnamon whisky. This first release of Fireball Dragon Reserve sees some barrel aging that can only be measured in a time period of "months" (they don't tell us how many). This first release was overseen by Honorary Master Distiller Rob Riggle and releases just in time for Father's Day. Does Fireball reach new heights, possibly tempting whiskey enthusiasts with a bit of barrel aging in the mix? Let's find out.
All cinnamon and little surprise. This is sweet on the nose, packed with cinnamon, a touch of brown sugar and a hint of confectioners' sugar. No ethanol. It smells fairly natural, which is a check in the "OK" column.
The palate is moderate in viscosity. It tastes quite a bit more natural than regular Fireball. The viscosity is less cloying and syrupy, although it is a bit thick from the sugar. Plenty of cinnamon character is here, but so are a hint of oak, some maple and a touch of pepper. It's less "fiery" both in terms of raw alcohol burn (despite the low proof) and fake, punchy cinnamon notes. It drinks fairly well-rounded.
The finish is smooth and sweet, not long-lived but not a flash in the pan, either. It tastes like natural cinnamon paired with heavy sweetness, and it's off.
Honestly, this is a weird review for me to write. These are intensely hard to score. I don't really drink flavored whiskeys, ever. They're not my jam. That's because they usually taste fake as hell, have a disgusting viscosity to them and leave my teeth with an enamel coating sweetness that just feels gross. This is none of those things. Will I reach for it ever? Probably not, but if you're going to do a flavored whiskey, this is one of the best I've had. Cinnamon fans, this is worth the extra, like, $6 when you need something flavored or cinnamon or whatever. Great whiskey? Definitely not. Great for a flavored whiskey? Definitely.
Disclosure: The producer provided this sample to review free of charge, and without expectation of review or rating.