Wine of the Week

Well, Whiskey, Actually

Wine of the Week

For the past 10 weeks, we've been under a media blitz for the new whiskey from Phillips Union. The company has used every conceivable print medium (including the Chronicle) plus billboards, and, in a neat marketing move, joined with about 50 local bars to get people to try its three drinks: a blended whiskey (Kentucky Bourbon and Canadian), a cherry whiskey, and a vanilla whiskey.

So, they got our attention. Which brings us to the whiskey itself.

Phillips Union's goal is to attract vodka-, gin-, and rum-drinkers to the dark – or at least amber – side. To do it, they've created drinks that purposely cut away the harsh edges of your normal, inexpensive bourbon and smoothed everything out to make a softer, easier drink. People who love the rip-snort kick from Rebel Yell or Fighting Cock will find Phillips Union a bit sedate. And, if you spend your time and money searching out celebrity bourbons such as Rowan's Creek or Eagle Rare, you might hope for a little more oomph.

If, however, you're one of the millions who turn their backs on whiskey, this is a great way to start enjoying one of the great spirits of the world. With its blend, Phillips Union has come up with a suave drink that tastes good in a mixed beverage or on ice. Their two flavored whiskies are a matter of taste. I happen to like the Cherry Whiskey in a casual on-the-rocks Manhattan. The Vanilla Whiskey has a seductive aroma, with the vanilla winning out over the alcohol. They use a high-quality Madagascar vanilla. This is a drink guaranteed to sell big time in the Sixth Street bars mixed with Coke.

Phillips Union whiskies run about $23 for a .750 and are available at Twin Liquors, Grape Vine Market, Steve's Liquors and Fine Wines, Reuben's Wine and Spirits, King Liquors, Cedar Valley Liquor, Queens Liquor, Oak Liquor Cabinet, Tejas Liquor, and the Davenport Liquor Store.

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Phillips Union

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