We eyed the bottle with distrust: marionberry whiskey. Obviously a gimmicky effort to out-local and out-quirk the next distillery on the row. And poorly directed—I generally prefer whiskey no sweeter than an already-syrupy Maker’s Mark. But while Eastside Distilling’s new liquor may be distilled like whiskey, it tastes like blackberry brandy, with the same heat on the nose and tannic sweetness washing to the back of the throat. In the old country, we would have called it schnapps, and at a gentle 60 proof it flirts teasingly with liqueur. But it does not cloy, and the flavor maintains just enough complexity that it cries out for curdy after-dinner cheese and grassy tobacco to stuff into a pipe. Holy shit: It’s exactly what Hobbits would drink. We would too. Recommended.