REVIEW: Haagen-Dazs Bourbon Praline Pecan

Have you ever been unsure whether you wanted to cap your night off with a shot of whiskey or a scoop of ice cream?  Is your inner bad boy torn between melty sweet spoonfuls of creaminess or the tummy-warming tingle of bourbon?  Look no further – Haagen-Dasz has made your solution.  Their new for 2017 flavor, Bourbon Praline Pecan, combines bourbon ice cream with nutty praline pecans and pools of brown sugar bourbon, to create “indulgence with a kick”.

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As I begin to scoop into the container the strong aroma of bourbon wafts into my nostrils almost as convincingly as if I had just popped a fresh bottle of the hard stuff. The smell is incredibly powerful and very authentic – it doesn’t come across artificially created or in-genuine at all.

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Going in for a taste this is without a doubt the booziest ice cream I have ever had, and I had to check the carton to see what the proof was and why they didn’t ask for my ID at Safeway (there is no proof, so no ID required). What’s incredibly impressive here is the booze on booze action between the bourbon base and brown sugar bourbon swirl, as it creates an inescapable flavor that teeters on the edge of too much alcohol. The brown sugar bourbon swirl is less sweet than your typical caramel but has a runny stickiness to it that reminds me of maple syrup. Although it has a boozy component to it, it’s noticeably less strong than in the ice cream itself and they work together in great harmony.

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The lone crunchy mix in, the praline pecans, pop with a sweet fattyness that works really well with the other two elements, and they stand out more than when in the usual butter pecan or caramel ice cream you would find this type of candied nut in. Sometimes less standard bases, like ones made of bourbon, can lose their unique flair after a couple of bites, but the pecans help keep that profile in check, and after their big sweet release the predominant components of the pint go right back to tasting like they were poured from an oak barrel.  Although the praline pieces aren’t terribly big there’s a lot of them so the sweetness and crunch come in and out of bites frequently.

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This is a great ice cream. Although it walks on the edge of being too strong, I’ve gotta give HD props for making a flavor that really lives up to its name and smacked me in the mouth with midnight regret. I don’t know that this would be my go-to when choosing a flavor to enjoy at the store, but it’s a definite must try for anyone who is a fan of bourbon or alcohol-tinged sweets.

Rating: 8.5/10

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