If we can definitely give Jägermeister one compliment, it's that they're consistent. Since being introduced to America, the brand has never deviated from its original recipe and branding. Until now. Jägermeister Spice, a new cinnamon and vanilla blend, has been described as a "kinder, gentler Jäger," which actually seems fairly accurate. The new herbal liqueur contains 25 percent alcohol by volume (50 proof, compared to the original's 70 proof) and a decidedly increased proportion of sugar. We got our hands on a bottle of new Jäger and by the time it hit our desks, our office had already consumed most of it.
Now listen, our palates are not totally busted. We do love everything from beer to wine to whiskey to gin. That being said, I will confess (at least for myself) that Jäger was totally my gateway booze to a (now) longtime love affair with amaros of varying freakiness. The heavy licorice blast and other herbaceous aromatics that are Jägermeister's signature, made the world of digestifs seem a little more accessible. Also, the first time you drink something and realize it's made you less full after a huge meal is a beautiful moment. Most of us in this office probably first experienced that effect thanks to Jäger. Is Jägermeister Spice formulated with same idea in mind? I really hope not.
While the new Jäger certainly doesn't taste bad, it is incredibly sweet and lacks the complexity of its predecessor. The decreased alcohol content significantly diminishes the esophageal warmth you experience after taking a shot of original Jägermeister, which might be a benefit for some drinkers, but for us was a bit of a let-down. As one editor noted, "You should probably just pour this stuff on pancakes."
One of our editors, who is less licorice-inclined than some of us said, "The spiced version is surprisingly lighter than the original, which is the opposite of what I was expecting. It's comparatively pleasant and sippable, with a less powerful licorice hit." Replacing the anise-y vibe of the original is what we unanimously agreed was the flavor and aroma of root beer. There were also hints of cinnamon, but as one editor said, "real cinnamon, not Red Hot cinnamon."
At $24 a bottle for 750ml, it's not too expensive to give it a whirl if sweet, root beer-y Jäger sounds delicious to you. The Jägermeister website has a sale locater for this limited edition liqueur.