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Wild Turkey unveils spicy ghost pepper whiskey

Gruppo Campari has released a ghost pepper version of its Wild Turkey American Honey flavoured whiskey to take advantage of growing demand for spicy shots in the US.

Wild Turkey’s American Honey Sting is a chilli pepper liqueur designed to capitalise on the US spicy shot market

American Honey Sting is a 35.5% abv combination of the Bourbon brand’s honey liqueur and ghost peppers, which are 400 times spicier than Tabasco.

However Wild Turkey master distiller Jimmy Russell said the new expression’s spiciness is much more subtle.

“I think people are going to get a kick out of how well the heat of the Ghost Peppers goes with the honey flavor,” he said. “When you take a shot, you get the forward flavour sweetness and citrus of American Honey on your tongue first, followed by the ghost pepper that has a subtle heat to it.”

American Honey Sting is the first flavoured extension of the brand since the launch of American Honey in 2006 (previously known as Wild Turkey Honey Liqueur since 1976), which was the first honey-flavoured American whiskey.

Since its launch a dozen or so honey-flavoured whiskeys have been introduced by numerous brands, the most popular of which is Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, which passed the one million case mark earlier this year.

Honey’s biggest contender in the flavoured whiskey category is cinnamon, with Sazerac’s Fireball, which is designed to be drunk as a shot, reportedly hot on the heels of Brown-Forman’s market-leading expression.

It’s thought that the growing success of cinnamon-flavoured whiskey shots, has inspired Wild Turkey to release American Honey Sting. Even Jack Daniel’s is beginning to test the water of the spicy shot category with a slow roll out of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire.

Andrew Floor, senior marketing director, dark spirits at Campari America, said: “With the introduction of Sting, the brand is continuing its legacy as an innovator. Whereas American Honey was originally created in the 1970s to help Bourbon reach a wider audience, with Sting we’re speaking to a generation of Bourbon-loving legal drinking age millennials, both men and women, who are looking for new flavours and more spice.”

According to food and beverage consultancy Technomic, 54% of consumers consider hot or spicy foods appealing, up from 46% in 2009.

American Honey Sting will be available from October across the US in 750ml and 50ml bottles, with an RRP of US$22.99 for 750ml.

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