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Unaged Whiskey - Corn or Rye (Longish)

StriperGuy Apr 12, 2006 01:43 PM

So I have been thinking about this for a while.

I really enjoy clear, unaged Agricole Rum. It has an essential grassy, sugar cane taste that I love. They make it in the French west indies, and also make something similar in Brazil.

Rum agricole is fermented sugar cane juice that has been distilled, and perhaps diluted a bit with water. It was never crytalline sugar, or molasses. So you really get the pure essense of the cane. It is delicious with a bit of ice, and perhaps a squeeze of lime (Ti Punch for the initiated).

Back in the day, Corn whiskey and Rye were much the same.

No barrel aging was involved.

Barrel aging in charred oak barrels is what gives most whiskey and some rums their color, and much of their flavor. So really, when you drink bourbon, scotch, rum, certainly cognac, you are not tasting the booze, you are tasting the barrel. This is why scotch companies fuss so much about sherry barrels, port barrels, bourbon barrels, etc.

Grappa (which I also love) is another exception, essentially straight from the still, so you actually taste the flavor of the raw materials (and all of these unaged liquors do have something raw about them)...

Back in the day, whiskey was something farmers made from their grain to add value, and make it easier to transport. They didn't have time or the desire to put it in a barrel and leave it for a year or two or ten. This would kill the real flavor of the spirit (nee the spirit of the spirit).

To quote the website linked to below: "FOR SOME PEOPLE, fine whiskey is Kentucky Bourbon. Once upon a time it was Pennsylvania or Maryland Rye. Of course, what they mean by "fine whiskey" is barrel-aged bourbon or rye which has acquired the caramel and vanilla flavors that result from years of storage in never-used-before, charred oak barrels. Whiskey without those flavors is sometimes characterized as raw, crude, and evil-tasting; a product suitable only for unsophisticated tastes, or perhaps as a novelty.

Now, to some of us who enjoy fresh-made whiskey, that characterization seems a little bit like suggesting that fresh peaches lack the delicate balance and flavor nuances of the more sophisticated canned peaches."

So bottom line, I really want to try unaged corn or rye whiskey. I have been trying to find unaged corn whiskey for a long time. After some googling, I came up with the two distilleries that make pure (not adulterated with sugar in the mash) unaged corn and rye whiskey. Unfortunately, neither is sold in, or can ship to Massachusetts.

Old Potrero apparently used to make and distribute an unaged rye, but not any more.

Has anyone tried any of these old fashioned moon-shiney libations? Or better still, any idea how I can get ahold of some?

Link: http://www.ellenjaye.com/wh_index.htm

Image: http://www.ellenjaye.com/corn_bottle-...

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  1. s
    sku RE: StriperGuy Apr 12, 2006 09:48 PM

    Isn't Everclear unaged corn whiskey?

    8 Replies
    1. re: sku
      Monty RE: sku Apr 12, 2006 10:32 PM

      I believe Everclear is pure grain alcohol, 190 proof. Since it is grain, I guess it could be corn, but could be basically any other grain also. It, for the most part, has no taste.

      1. re: Monty
        mrgrotto RE: Monty Feb 7, 2009 10:13 AM

        I always assumed there was lotsa sugar in Everclear as well... I'm basing that assumption on the following: sugar is cheap and it's like jet fuel for yeast and helps to ferment it quickly which results in a quicker start to finish process which reduces cost. I've read about (and inexperienced once... yikes) moonshiners using only sugar for the prior reasons. Accurate?

        You could always get an "antique" or "replica" copper still and make your own. It would probably take awhile to get your moonshiner chops, though. And, of course, it would be illegal. That being said, I'll be in the market for one this summer.

        1. re: mrgrotto
          JMF RE: mrgrotto Feb 8, 2009 06:07 AM

          Everclear is basically commercially produced Neutral Grain Spirits, made by the tanker load and shipped all over. No sugar involved, grain is cheap and the large rectifiers make enormous amounts.

          As for distilling, I would never counsel anyone to do anything illegal, but distilling is relatively easy, all it takes is the time, and developing the knack. That's the important part. Anyone can make hooch. Making good hooch takes skill. It's part science, and part art.

          1. re: JMF
            phantomdoc RE: JMF Feb 13, 2010 10:36 AM

            I think it is only illegal to sell whiskey, not just to make it.

            1. re: phantomdoc
              JMF RE: phantomdoc Feb 13, 2010 11:13 AM

              Sorry but that is incorrect. In the US and many countries (but not all) it is illegal to distill spirits, as well as sell them. You can make beer and wine in the US, depending which state you live in. The federal gov't made wine making legal back when Prohibition was ended, but home brewing was only legalized in 1978, AND both are illegal in some states because regulation of alcohol lies primarily in state control.

              1. re: JMF
                phantomdoc RE: JMF Feb 16, 2010 04:45 AM

                In info on spirits I will always defer to you JMF. You the man.

          2. re: mrgrotto
            jgg13 RE: mrgrotto Feb 11, 2010 01:03 PM

            Is that where your shop gets their self-branded spirits? :)

          3. re: Monty
            yarm RE: Monty Feb 11, 2010 11:21 AM

            Grain mash-derived products cannot be distilled past 160 proof and still be considered a whiskey (aging or no).

        2. k
          KRS RE: StriperGuy Apr 13, 2006 12:00 PM

          Tried 'em both; also potcheen (Irish moonshine); hated 'em all. The corn tore my throat out. The rye tore my throat out and almost made me vomit. The potcheen did make me vomit.

          1 Reply
          1. re: KRS
            StriperGuy RE: KRS Apr 14, 2006 10:55 AM

            Do you like Grappa? Overproof Rum Agricole?

          2. h
            HoppyChris RE: StriperGuy Jan 27, 2009 07:58 PM

            Possibly not a lot of help (and three years late), but I found Isaiah Morgan Rye whiskey and Southern Moon at a tiny liquor store in a strip mall in West Virginia. Certainly worth trying!

            Though they can't ship directly to you, have you asked at your favorite liquor store if they can order some for you?

            1. JMF RE: StriperGuy Feb 7, 2009 05:35 AM

              Being a distiller, I have tried a lot of un-aged whiskey and other spirits. The best commercially available one is that made by Tuthilltown Spirits in Gardiner NY. Their Old Gristmill Corn Whiskey has only been on the market a short while, they are only a four or five year old company. It is great, with an exceptional smoothness and a musky, earthy, corn flavor. I have sipped it straight from the bottle enjoyably. A really fine spirit in and of itself.

              9 Replies
              1. re: JMF
                jerryc123 RE: JMF Feb 11, 2010 12:45 PM

                Good God, but Tuthiltown is so expensive. Here in Buffalo, it is $35 for a 375 ml.
                The equivalent of $70 for a fifth is just to expensive for me, even while I pride myself on buying local and from "craft" producers.

                JMF; Have you tried spirits from Finger Lakes Distilling? They have a (unaged?) 90 proof corn whiskey, a rye, gin, vodka, grappa etc. I have asked around in Buffalo, but they have limited distribution. I don't believe they are positioning themselves quite so upmarket as Tuthiltown - the corn whiskey is $29 a fifth.


                1. re: jerryc123
                  JMF RE: jerryc123 Feb 13, 2010 09:20 AM

                  Tuthilltown's white corn whiskey shouldn't be as expensive as their aged offerings. About 1/2 the price or so. I know the folks at Finger lakes from conferences and workshops, but haven't tried their latest products, but will in the next few months as I do a tour of the NY distilleries for research and articles.

                  1. re: jerryc123
                    StriperGuy RE: jerryc123 Feb 17, 2010 06:27 AM

                    You are getting robbed, here it is on teh internets for $42 for 750ml which is about what I paid.

                    Since this post I bought some and it really is quite excellent. Has to be drunk neat though, no ice. I like it chilled every so slightly.

                    1. re: StriperGuy
                      barleywino RE: StriperGuy May 11, 2010 03:11 AM

                      Striper, I finally got around to trying the Tuthilltown corn whiskey (at Russell House tavern in Cambridge, they also have the baby bourbon and others), as you say, very nice neat, almost like unpasteurized sake in its freshness.

                      1. re: barleywino
                        JMF RE: barleywino May 11, 2010 06:20 AM

                        I'd say that unaged whiskey and Japanese shochu have a lot in common. They both are unaged, and have a great expression of the fresh ingredients. (yes, I know there are a few aged shochu.)

                        1. re: barleywino
                          StriperGuy RE: barleywino May 11, 2010 07:41 AM

                          Where the heck is this place? Glad you liked the corn...

                          1. re: StriperGuy
                            barleywino RE: StriperGuy May 11, 2010 09:53 AM

                            a few doors down JFK from the Harvard T stop, across from Curious George

                            1. re: barleywino
                              StriperGuy RE: barleywino May 11, 2010 12:44 PM

                              Who knew?

                              1. re: StriperGuy
                                barleywino RE: StriperGuy May 11, 2010 07:11 PM

                                the downstairs bar there is the place you want to be, I think, not the bar you see when you walk in

                  2. j
                    johncb RE: StriperGuy Feb 11, 2010 02:05 PM

                    I believe Wasmund's Rye Spirit from the Copper Fox Distillery, fits the description of what you are looking for. I believe I heard you could get it (at least as part of the package with 2 bottles and a charred oak mini-barrel) at the liquor store in Davis Square, and probably from other vendors to the discerning drinker. At least this was the case last fall. I carried mine back from Kentucky, myself. I'm surprised you couldn't find faux-moonshine around Boston, though -- it isn't exactly an expensive or rarified drink. I think I have some in the back of the cabinet called Georgia Moon, and it's nothing to write home about. I've had _much_ better examples that were, shall we say, privately made.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: johncb
                      BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: johncb Feb 12, 2010 06:23 PM

                      Well, note that Striper wrote that coming up on four years ago: as you say, it's much easier to find unaged hooch around Boston these days.

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                        JMF RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Feb 13, 2010 09:16 AM

                        And soon it will be even easier. Unaged whiskey, White Dog, or Moonshine, whatever you want to call it, is going to be a hot new trend for the next few years. Buffalo Trace has been releasing their unaged whiskey, and several artisanal distilleries are. It is becoming so hot that the topic of this years artisanal distilling conference is whiskey (which it always is every other year) and Moonshine, a first.

                    2. m
                      MDBBQFiend RE: StriperGuy Feb 12, 2010 09:26 AM

                      Is this what you're looking for?


                      Virginia Lightning Corn Whiskey produced by Belmont Farm near Culpeper, Virginia.

                      Nice people, a wonderful place to visit, and an interesting product.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MDBBQFiend
                        wineguy7 RE: MDBBQFiend Jun 5, 2010 06:20 PM

                        I recently bought a bottle of Virginia Lightning from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley. It's very clean and fresh on the nose. This is, to me, surprisingly soft and smooth for an un-aged Whiskey (producer claims less than 30 days); especially considering it is 100 proof.

                      2. mamaciita RE: StriperGuy May 11, 2010 05:53 PM

                        Not widely available--yet; Corsair unaged rye is one of my favorites.


                        1. joypirate RE: StriperGuy May 11, 2010 09:24 PM


                          Do your damnedest to get a bottle of either the rye or the millet from this place:


                          (oooh, hadn't ever gone to the website, try to get past the Enya/haiku-like descriptions of the whiskeys and trust me


                          It's out of this world. The rye has a lot more fight to it than the the tuthilltown corn, and it's a 100% rye (all his whiskey's are 100% one grain). I haven't tried his corn but I also imagine it's solid. The millet is unlike anything I've ever tried. Almost like a grappa with a surprisingly unassaulting hit of licorice. And I say that as someone who typically avoids the licorice flavor.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: joypirate
                            EvergreenDan RE: joypirate May 12, 2010 03:49 AM

                            I wonder if the Koval products are available outside of Chicago. OTOH, it's hard for me to give money to someone who describes their product as, "It tastes of healing earth, friendship, and devotion." Sounds a bit like something the Donner party might have imbibed. :)

                            1. re: joypirate
                              StriperGuy RE: joypirate May 12, 2010 06:24 AM

                              Thanks! Darn and I was in Chicago last week...

                            2. i
                              isadorasmama RE: StriperGuy Jun 17, 2010 05:35 PM

                              I picked up some Georgia Moon the other day, mostly because of the cute bottle and inexpensive price tag. I can be a snob when it comes to cocktails but I also like to try new things. I should also add that I'm no whiskey aficionado. Upon googling I've been reading mostly snarky reviews about the stuff but I have to say it makes a pretty darn tasty whiskey sour when shaken hard and long.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: isadorasmama
                                jerryc123 RE: isadorasmama Jun 18, 2010 05:06 AM

                                At the store, I've had a bottle of Georgia Moon in my hands about a dozen times, and 12 times I've put it back on the shelf. I have a long list of 'to-try' boozes and the Georgia Moon, while inticing for it's novelty, always get put back on the shelf in favor of something more 'serious.'

                                But now, I'm starting to wonder...

                                On my last trip, I purchased a bottle of Buffalo Trace's White Dog and will crack it open with my Dad on Fathers Day.

                                1. re: isadorasmama
                                  JMF RE: isadorasmama Jun 18, 2010 08:10 PM

                                  I last bought a jar of the Georgia Moon when I had just turned legal. Have to try it again.

                                2. Poindexter RE: StriperGuy Nov 23, 2010 07:13 AM

                                  I have read good reviews for and am anxious to try me some Whippersnapper Oregon Spirit Whiskey, which is only lightly aged: http://www.ransomspirits.com/spirits.php
                                  I know you can get it at certain finer purveyors in Manhattan.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Poindexter
                                    StriperGuy RE: Poindexter Nov 23, 2010 07:39 AM

                                    These guys have it for $35


                                    1. re: StriperGuy
                                      Poindexter RE: StriperGuy Nov 23, 2010 08:42 AM

                                      Thx! Curious what you thought if you've tried it.

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