New drink's got whisky fans tippled pink
ITS sickly pink colour and strawberry flavour would be expected to have whisky connoisseurs turning their noses up in disgust.
But the new fruit-flavoured whisky concoction has received rave reviews from traditional whisky experts.
Now Strawberry Kiss whisky liqueur - made with a single malt - is to go on sale in upmarket stores such as Harvey Nichols, Jenners and the Whisky Shop, which has branches on Princes Street and Victoria Street.
The drink has been concocted by a pair of Edinburgh businessmen, who spent eight months in a home kitchen perfecting the whisky drink to a secret recipe.
Glenmorangie's Master Distiller and bosses from the Whisky Shop are among more than 40 experts who have tasted the whisky and proclaimed it excellent.
Norman Brown and his colleague John Smith, who formed Leith Liqueur Company last year and made the drink in Mr Brown's laboratory kitchen, said the drink would only be sold at exclusive stores.
"We decided we wanted something aimed at the younger, female drinker - we thought there was a real gap in the market," said Mr Brown. "We chose a 14-year-old Speyside single malt whisky after trying a lot of different ones and then worked at adding ingredients to make it into a liqueur.
"I think we tried about 26 combinations before we found the perfect one.
"We were trying to move away from the highly-sugared liqueur and create something more subtle and flavoured. Strawberry Kiss has a subtle spicy flavour."
He added: "We are only going to sell it at top-line stores, we're not going down the supermarket route. We have got a few wholesalers interested as well, so we might consider selling it at some theme bars in Edinburgh in the future."
Despite Mr Brown's fears that traditional, male whisky drinkers would shun his product, they have taken to the unusually-coloured drink with enthusiasm.
He said: "Of all of the people who have tried it, only a handful haven't liked it, and surprisingly, they were all women."
Dr Bill Lumsden, Master Distiller at Glenmorangie, said he had been impressed by the drink.
"I quite liked it and normally I don't have a penchant for sweet things like that," he said. "This drink isn't too sweet or cloying as I expected it might be when I saw the colour.
"It is definitely something I would drink from time to time." He added: "I don't think all traditional whisky drinkers would be put off by the fact it is pink - us whisky types have been known to wear pink sweaters or shirts from time to time.
"I think you will get some very traditional drinkers who won't even try it, but I think a lot of people are more open-minded and will give it a go."
A spokesman for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which has branches in Queen Street and in Leith, said: "We have done pink whisky before, so the colour is nothing new. But our whisky is still normal whisky, but is coloured by leaving it in a different casket for a couple of years rather than any kind of liqueur.
"Strawberry liqueur whisky sounds disgusting to me but that is just a personal thing. However, if it's a Leith-based company, we are very happy to support them."
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