Ballotin Original Chocolate Whiskey
Paul Tuell learned a lot about marketing liquor over the two decades he worked for Brown-Forman. But he readily admits that the job is pretty simple when the message can be backed by a Ballotin Original Chocolate Whiskey flavor.
Sure, the brand story is important, especially if you can create an aura of heritage. But when marketing has done its job, the hook is set and a customer plunks down some dollars for a pour, that’s where the rubber meets the road, Tuell said.
“It better taste good to somebody or you’re out of business,” said Tuell, founder of Louisville, Ky.-based Saloon Spirts, which launched its first product this fall, a four-item line of Ballotin Original Chocolate Whiskey. “It’s one reason we have more than one flavor: everyone’s palate is different, especially when you start working with food flavors.”
What currently exists in this new line up includes Ballotin’s Original Chocolate, Bourbon Ball, Chocolate Mint and Caramel Turtle. All are 60 proof and representative of the link between bourbon and the South’s culinary heritage.
“These are flavors people know and are comfortable with,” Tuell said. “And when you tie that to whiskey, you expand that comfort level.”
In October, Ballotin hit retail shelves in Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina. A road warrior from his days promoting Finlandia and Southern Comfort throughout Latin America, Tuell is out and about a lot again conducting Ballotin tastings, pouring neat tastes for curious samplers.
A stronger vanilla profile touched with a lightly toasted almond note kick things off here, giving this a strong amaretto character. Chocolate is restrained and relegated to the back end, after the almond-whiskey mix fades out.