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the various "moonshines", comments please

fellow hounds,

I've tried "Shine" from Philadelphia Distilling and really found it undrinkable. It tasted like corncobs with a weird sweetness. Now, this perhaps is what moonshine is supposed to taste like. I wouldn't know since the only moonshine I have been near is what was given to my father when I was young and my mom put a "Mr. Yuck" sticker on the pickle jar full of clear fluid.

Do the other liquors claiming to be moonshine have the same taste as Shine? Any reviews anyone wants to give?

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  1. I like Junior Johnson's cherry moonshine, it was reccomended on this site and is amazingly good.

    1. It all depends upon the distiller. Also what the product is made from, the type of grain or other base. Some of the big companies are releasing "White Dog" ie., white unaged whiskey, and it isn't that great because it is whiskey that was made for aging. But some of the artisanal distilleries are releasing unaged whiskey that was specifically made to be drunk this way. Some of those are very good. There are also some "moonshines" that are made from other bases that are good.

      I can't remember what the Philadelphia Distilling's "Shine" is like. But a good and tasty example of a white corn whiskey is Tutthilltown's, very nice earthy corn flavor. Relatively smooth.

      I made a very nice white spirit at my last distillery, not made from grain, it won awards, although I can't say anything about how good the product is now, because it is being made in a different fashion since I broke away from the business.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JMF

        When we're talking "moonshine" does that mean white spirits like unaged bourbon? If so then Buffalo Trace sells an unaged bourbon that they have named as mash and I found it to taste like popcorn - but not sweet at all. Really enjoyed it.

        1. re: cresyd

          I have a bottle of the Buffalo Trace White Dog and really don't like it. Even diluted down to a normal proof, one drink just makes me feel lousy later. I tried the Maker's version and ended up getting a bottle at the distillery. It was less harsh. My frame of reference is from beer judging, but I think it's some of the higher alcohol/fusel compounds that do me wrong.

      2. I'm not being a smart a$$, but it's kind of like I've entered the Twilight Zone. I both love and can't believe that I'm sitting here, reading about legitimate moonshine! I may try a few of these suggestions myself, for nostalgia's sake.
        Oh, and Velkyn, my grandfather kept his 'shine in a laxative bottle. The Mr. Yuck stickers weren't around then, so what better way to keep nosy kids out of danger?

        1 Reply
        1. re: garlicvampire

          perfect idea, that laxative bottle! :)

        2. Keep in mind that "moonshine" really has no meaning when used on a label. What it really means is illegally made liquor...any illegally made liquor. Within the last five years, micro-distilleries have started using the term but it has no legal definition and can be used on literally any liquor so I don't think there is really an answer to what it is "supposed to" taste like.

          Most real moonshine is cheap alcohol made from white sugar (sugarjack). Most of the commercial "moonshines" are unaged spirit made from sugar or corn or some combination (though some use other grains). Some of these commercial moonshines are also flavored.

          1. I've had real moonshine a couple of times. The first time was actually quite cool. My friend Sarah managed to find a way into the job of chaperoning around Janette Carter (daughter of Sara Carter, of the famous Carter Family) when she was up in DC to receive a National Heritage Fellowship award many years back. Janette enjoyed Sarah's company so much that she presented her with a mason jar of moonshine made by a family friend near her home in southwest Virginia. Being a huge fan of old country music, the story behind the stuff thrilled me. Flavor wise, it tasted like sweet cherry liqueur with very little burn, mostly because it had been pre-cut with a lot water (so that it didn't burn) and had also had a bunch of cheap maraschino cherries soaked in it to give a candied cherry flavor. The soaking also had given it a red hue.

            Last year I had similar 'shine at a buddy's party in Atlanta.

            I think the lesson from that is that "moonshine" is a somewhat vague term. If you've seen the reality series "Moonshiners" you'll see corn is not always used to make the stuff. On one episode two of the moonshiners were able to get a ton of bananas for very little money and basically made cheap fruit brandy with them.