Saturday, February 23, 2013

Shine on you happy people!

Suckered in by my local purveyor of wine, spirits and prescription medications, I decided to shell out a few dollars for your entertainment.

I think you all know how I feel about the show Moonshiners on Discovery, but it’s got it’s redeeming factors. Like much of the crap on TV, it causes people to think about subjects they may not think much about.... I am in favor of this!

So as I leave the local “likkah sto” with a quart jar of “Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine,” which is not moonshine at at all, it’s made in a factory and taxes were paid, I couldn’t figure out what the hell to do with it. I’m not a pro whiskey taster, nor an old timer with years of shine experience. I do have a little experience with “Shine” that you can read about HERE and HERE.

When I got home and was staring blankly into my treasure chest, searching for inspiration, I spotted a bottle of shine that I was in no way part of brewing, or production of.... And have none left on hand.... And have no knowledge of having ever existed.

This bottle was distilled from a grain bill that was essentially an all grain batch of Golden Strong ale, with no hops. It has been sitting on the shelf for almost a year with a few oak cubes. Should make a nice comparison.

So let’s pour some shine!

The ‘ole Smokey is definitely clear. The jar makes it hard as hell to pour into a glass without getting it all over the place!  The nose is of corn mash, alcohol and plastic.

At 50% abv (100 proof) it’s a bit hot for a sipping licker, but it’s not awful. It tastes of corn distillate, alcohol and is your basic “White Dog” whiskey that drips from any still anywhere. It’s pretty clean for a whiskey.... Sorta like very cheap vodka with a “Whang” to it.

There isn’t anything else to say about it. It’s bland, it’s hot, it’s YOUNG and it’s got absolutely no chance of making it to my glass again unless it’s part of another concoction.... But I might take a sip off the jar!

For $22 there is very little chance in hell it’s going to make it into my cabinet again! For this price point, I’ve got a very long list of rum, whiskey and gin to tackle! Not to mention that this will buy 2 six-packs of damn fine Craft Beer!

Moving along to the locally made stuff. Clear? Yes! But with a beautiful color of toasted caramel. Because I... Err... They have been aging this bottle at 180 proof, I’ve opted to dilute it 50:50 with cold water.

This brings out a touch of cinnamon in the nose, backed by the same plastic and alcohol notes that were found in the commercial version. The oak comes through, but it’s light.

The flavor is very similar to the white dog above, but slightly more refined, and with a very nice oak presence in the foreground.

This could certainly use more time and more wood, but it’s heads and shoulders above the Ole Smoky.

My final thought, is that I’m packing this jar with oak cubes and setting it back for a while! I suspect it'll turn into a decent whiskey!

If you’ve never had “White Dog” before, this is a true example and not a bad choice, it’s just that unaged whiskey is not my choice for filling the glass very often!

Have a great weekend, support home distillation efforts and do something fun!



KeyLimeRyan said...

Damn fine post Charles! I was born and raised in Tennessee so I know a thing or 2 about moonshine and when "Ole Smokey" first came to vision at the liquor store I didn't even waste my time...the backwoods boys' Shine is where its burn, smooth and if you've been sitting, when you stand up it'll put you on your ass again ha! Cheers

Charles Hoffman said...

Thanks KeyLimeRyan! I went in with low expectations, and was still let down! But there is a handful of Oak cubes in the jar now, it'll be ok in a few months!

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