Best Moonshine 2016
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Best Moonshine - 2016

 

The Fifty Best Moonshine & Unaged American Whiskey Tasting of 2016

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 21 moonshines and unaged American whiskies with a panel of 15 judges. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. The moonshines and unaged whiskies were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. Each of the moonshines and unaged whiskies were evaluated and scored separately. Only ice water, neutral unflavored crackers and chips were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no bronze medals awarded for this tasting. The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The states of origin, distilleries and ABV are identified for each brand.



DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

J. Potts Whiskey
Manatawny Still Works (Pennsylvania)
94° proof

Nose: Honey, pear, stewed cherry, lemon peel, orange peel, citrus, sweet corn, spice, vanilla, floral, white flowers, woody, soft.
Palate: Honey, raisin, dark fruit, fruity, sweet, pineapple, pear, corn, honeysuckle, vanilla, clove, cinnamon, herbal, perfume.
Finish: Berries, orange peel, spicy, clove, woody, smooth, sweet, dry, well balanced.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



   J. Potts Whiskey



Sugarlands Shine Silver Cloud Moonshine
Sugarlands Distilling Company (Tennessee)
100° proof

Nose: Butterscotch, vanilla, fruity, berries, pear, apple, coconut, citrus peel, floral, clove, cocoa powder, savory, oak.
Palate: Caramel, vanilla, raisin, prune, orange peel, apple, sweet corn, creamy, barley, roasted walnut, spearmint, pepper, coffee, cocoa powder, oak, yeasty, salty, well balanced, smooth.
Finish: Toffee, almond, spice, clove, mint, smooth.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Sugarlands Shine Silver Cloud Moonshine



Mellow Corn 'Bottled in Bond'
Kentucky Straight Corn Whiskey

Heaven Hill Distilleries (Kentucky)
100° proof

Nose: Caramel, honey, brown sugar, maple, vanilla, grape must, whiskey barrel, oak, mild.
Palate: Caramel, molasses, honey, apple, apple seed, spicy, vanilla, mint, corn, whiskey barrel, oak.
Finish: Vanilla, clove, cinnamon, peppery, very smooth.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Mellow Corn 'Bottled in Bond' Kentucky Straight Corn Whiskey



Jim Tom Hedrick’s Unaged Rye
Sugarlands Distilling Company (Tennessee)
100° proof

Nose: Sweet corn, butter, cream, vanilla, rosewater, floral, grain, malt, licorice, sake, new wood.
Palate: Honey, syrup, dark sugar, vanilla, orange peel, raisins, vegetal, greens, herbal, spice, black pepper, clove, mint, grain, cocoa, malt, salty, briny.
Finish: Dark sugar, citrus, cinnamon, clove, pepper, malt, toast, exotic.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Jim Tom Hedrick’s Unaged Rye



Platte Valley Moonshine
McCormick Distilling Co. (Missouri)
80° proof

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, bubblegum, tropical fruit, fruity, peach, prune, grape, sweet dark fruit, 7-up, corn, barley, hops, hay, nutty, cashew, baking spice, cedar, fragrant.
Palate: Caramel, honey, raisin, dark fruit, apricot, strawberry, vanilla, cola, clove, licorice, light grain, sweet corn, vegetal, wood, pine, oak, earthy, light body, smooth, clean, attractive.
Finish: Honey, vanilla, floral, nutty, pepper, cocoa, wood, smoke, smooth, soft.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Platte Valley Moonshine



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Manhattan Moonshine 'Prohibition-Style'
Manhattan Moonshine Company (New York)
95° proof

Nose: Plum, sweet corn, citrus, ginger, boiled mint, peppercorn, juniper, new wood, pine, light.
Palate: Honey, plum, cherry, black cherry, raisin, citrus, clean grain, almond, clove, white pepper, peppermint, woody, cedar, pine, oak, creamy, oily, peaty, smoky, resin, leaves, dry.
Finish: Raisin, black cherry, perfume, ginger, clove, dark chocolate, cedar, woody, whipped cream, sweet, smooth, light, flavorful.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Manhattan Moonshine 'Prohibition-Style'



Sun Dog 130 Moonshine
Southern Grace Distilleries (North Carolina)
130° proof

Nose: Toffee, butterscotch, caramel, sweet candy, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, sweet, fermented grains, cereal, nuts, marzipan, milk chocolate, cream.
Palate: Caramel, creamy, sweet corn, chocolate, nutty, white pepper, peppery, jalapeño, stewed green vegetables, clove, silky.
Finish: Honey, cinnamon, allspice, pepper, oily, tongue-coating, powerful, bold.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Sun Dog 130 Moonshine



The World's Best Moonshine
Dark Corner Distillery (South Carolina)
100° proof

Nose: Butterscotch, vanilla, sugar, tropical fruit, dark fruit, banana, perfume, white flowers, dark chocolate, buttered popcorn, buttered wheat toast, malt, grainy, cedar, cream, butter, oily, earthy.
Palate: Toffee, vanilla, honey, chocolate, cream, fig, raisin, berry, cashew, mint, peppercorn, cinnamon, mineral, smoky, malt, briny, dry, woody, raw grain, oily, oak.
Finish: Walnut, clove, green beans, peppery, coffee, woody, very complex, balanced, nice tight finish.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



The World's Best Moonshine



Virginia Sweetwater Moonshine
Virginia Sweetwater Distillery (Virginia)
101° proof

Nose: Stone fruit, corn, cereal, brine, sour vegetal, white vinegar, salt and vinegar chips, mustard seed, woody, mineral.
Palate: Toffee, peanut brittle, dark sugars, raisin, citrus, raw grain, corn, cereal, bran, almond, chocolate, bitter chocolate, red wine vinaigrette, wood, oak, pine, oily, creamy.
Finish: Sugar, porridge, corn, vegetal, pepper, wood, dry leaves, oily, sweet, complex.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Virginia Sweetwater Moonshine



Rusty Piton Corn Whiskey
Gristmill Distillers (New York)
80° proof

Nose: Nutty, dried grass, new wood, cedar, oak, chalky, musty, yeast, mineral, light.
Palate: Toffee, crème brulee, vanilla, floral, sweet grain, sweet corn, light grain, coconut, almond, cinnamon, herbal, dark chocolate, oak, oily, light sourness.
Finish: Tropical fruit, lemon, orange peel, pepper, clove, woody, clean, light, soft, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Rusty Piton Corn Whiskey



TOPO Moonshine Carolina Whiskey
TOPO Distillery (North Carolina)
84° proof

Nose: Toffee, honey, vanilla pudding, grape, cola, light cornmeal, vegetal, clove, mint, parsley, earthy, linen.
Palate: Salt caramel, toffee, creamy, dried fruit, sweet, vegetal, artichoke, broccoli, cereal, walnut, clove, anise, wintergreen, mint, licorice, smooth, dry.
Finish: Citrus, mint, licorice, soft easy finish, smooth, clean.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



TOPO Moonshine Carolina Whiskey



OCD Corn Whiskey
Orange County Distillery (New York)
90° proof

Nose: Toffee, popcorn, grainy, cinnamon, barley, floral, nutty, leather, woody, oak, chalky powder, sourdough bread. musty, wet leaves.
Palate: Toffee, dried fruit, orange, herbal, wheatgrass, stewed beets, broccoli, chewy grain, sourdough bread, cinnamon, clove, ginger, spice, nutty, bark, woody, cedar, wet wood, briny.
Finish: Apple, spearmint, almond, walnut, toasty, tree bark, woody, flavorful, dry, clean, balanced.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



OCD Corn Whiskey



Virginia Lightning Corn Whiskey
Belmont Farms Distillery (Virginia)
100° proof

Nose: Honey, chocolate, citrus, cactus, corn, roasted corn, cereal, bread, oats, grassy, vegetal, nutty, white pepper, mineral, earthy.
Palate: Toffee, nougat, date, mango, pineapple, coconut, berries, dark fruit, citrus, corn, rye, cashew, almond, spicy, juniper, mint, herbal, oaky, coffee, pound cake, butter.
Finish: Toffee, honey, citrus, fruity, chocolate, coffee, pepper, mineral, cream, sweet, firm, smooth, nice.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Virginia Lightning Corn Whiskey



Howl At The Moonshine
Springbrook Hollow Distillery (New York)
100° proof

Nose: Molasses, vanilla, whipped cream, citrus, peppery, spicy, mint, spearmint, juniper, anise, vegetal, moss, hay, herbal, cut grass, toast, sourdough bread, clay bowl, briny, smoky, cedar.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, vanilla, honey, creamy, sweet corn, rosemary, clove, citrus, ginger, mint, grassy, stewed artichoke, sautéed kale, olive oil, briny, yeast, wood, cedar.
Finish: Vegetal, spicy, peppermint, woody, cedar, pinecones, whipped cream, sweet, oily, silky, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Howl At The Moonshine



Colorado Clear Mountain Moonshine
10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Co. (Colorado)
80° proof

Nose: Honey, vanilla, apple, citrus, floral, corn, tarragon, mint, grass, oily.
Palate: Toffee, honey, rock candy, vanilla, date, fig, apple skin, orange peel, corn, slight sweetness, floral, walnut, stewed cashews, nutty, oily, briny, cedar.
Finish: Grassy, vegetal, mineral, wood, cedar, smooth, sweet, clean, soft, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Colorado Clear Mountain Moonshine



Grandpa's Likker
Bad Dog Distillery (Washington)
90° proof

Nose: Cotton candy, pineapple, citrus, cherry, buttered raisin bread, buttered bagel, toast, malt, licorice, floral, perfume, mineral, light.
Palate: Toffee, chocolate, clotted cream, orange peel, citrus, floral, vegetal, stewed artichoke, spinach, kale, broccoli, spicy, briny, oak, smooth, very clean.
Finish: Floral, clove, light pepper, medium, soft, smooth, dry, not too sweet, elegant, clean, nice balance.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Grandpa's Likker



Old Nick Williams Carolina Whiskey
Foothills Distillery (North Carolina)
92° proof

Nose: Treacle, honey, vanilla, fresh cream, subtle orange peel, lemon, citrus, floral, sweet grain, peanut butter, coffee, leather, earthy.
Palate: Dark sugar, salted caramel, cream, pineapple, grape, banana, citrus, sweet corn, raisin, stewed kale, spinach, walnut, clove, spearmint, cedar, smoke.
Finish: Orange peel, citrus, clove, pepper, wintergreen, mineral, wood, well balanced, soft, clean, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Old Nick Williams Carolina Whiskey



Junior Walton's Authentic Carolina Moonshine
Walton's Distillery (North Carolina)
100° proof

Nose: Dried fruit, fruit punch, bubble gum, banana, cherry pits, yeast, sake, rosewater, vinaigrette, dry sherry.
Palate: Vanilla, honey, Lemon Heads candy, sour lemon, citrus, black cherry, corn, coconut, cashew, peanut chew, rice (sake), sweet grain, pepper, beer, ocean oysters briny, peaty, woody, dry.
Finish: Apple. fruity, corn, yeast, malt, vegetal, spicy, tangy, woody.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Junior Walton's Authentic Carolina Moonshine



Long Road White Whisky (Rye Mash)
Long Road Distillers (Michigan)
90° proof

Nose: Fig, date, orange peel, stewed cherry, mulled wine, prune, plum, corn, corn husk, aged grain, vegetal, nutty.
Palate: Dried fruit, sweet corn, vegetal, sautéed kale, artichoke, herbal, anise, mint, spicy, red pepper, white pepper, clove, hay, wood, cedar, cream, chalky, dry mouthfeel.
Finish: Honey, dried fruit, corn, vegetal, wintergreen, wood, cedar, creamy, salty, soft.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Long Road White Whisky



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Pitorro Shine
Port Morris Distillery (New York)
92° proof

Nose: Corn husk, mustard seed, soy sauce, grape vinegar, salt, briny, oily.
Palate: Honey, tart sour mash, sautéed peaches, dark fruit, apple, sweet lychee, spice, cereal, wort, mineral, woody, cedar, creamy, light.
Finish: Honey, fruity, banana, iodine, sweet, smooth, well balanced.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Pitorro Shine



Gatlin' 110 Moonshine
Seventeen Twelve So. Spirits, Foothills Distillery (North Carolina)
110° proof

Nose: Corn husk, mustard seed, soy sauce, grape vinegar, salt, briny, oily.
Palate: Sugar cane, vanilla, dark chocolate, raisin, apple, sweet, corn, hay, creamy, stewed spinach, artichoke, kale, cabbage, stony, smoky.
Finish: Wheat, clove, dry.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Gatlin' 110 Moonshine



WHEAT WHISKEY

DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Weaver's American Light Whiskey
Weaver's Spirits (Colorado)
90° proof

Nose: Cotton candy, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, sugar cane, honey, vanilla, maple, peanut chew, sweet grain, corn, cinnamon.
Palate: Toffee, honey, brown sugar, rock candy, vanilla, caramel, maple, fruity, stone fruit, apricot, citrus, raisin, sweet wheat, corn, roasted peanuts, hazelnut, pepper, cinnamon, clove, coffee, nicely balanced.
Finish: Honey, vanilla, orange peel, citrus, nutty, spice, clove, cinnamon, creamy, soft, very smooth.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



   Weaver's American Light Whiskey



Buggy Whip Organic Wheat Whiskey
Journeyman Distillery (Michigan)
90° proof

Nose: Toffee, caramel, honey, caramelized banana, orange, pear, sweet apple, stewed raisin, stewed prune, dark fruit, fruity, prune, grapefruit, citrus, wheat, spice, mint, pepper, cola, mineral.
Palate: Caramel, vanilla, milk chocolate, maple, stewed cherry, maraschino cherry, mixed fruit, pear, tangerine, wheat, spice, wood, cedar, smoke, smooth.
Finish: Date, raisin, wheat, cinnamon, minty, ginger, woody, smooth.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Buggy Whip Organic Wheat Whiskey



Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey
Bernheim Distillery (Kentucky)
90° proof

Nose: Toffee, honey, vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, chocolate, raisin, candied orange, marzipan, apple, apple skin, peach, corn, toast rye, nutmeg, smoke.
Palate: Butterscotch, toffee, caramel, butter, vanilla, honey, orange marmalade, apple, sweet mash, walnut, coffee, oak, balanced.
Finish: Dried fruit, raisin, apple, cinnamon, clove, pepper, smoky, smooth.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey



GOLD MEDAL WINNER

Eight Oak Organic Wheat Carolina Whiskey
TOPO Distillery (North Carolina)
92° proof

Nose: Caramel, honey, molasses, brown sugar, rum raisin, burnt orange peel, coconut, herbal, grain, baking spice, chocolate, sweet oak.
Palate: Dark sugars, honey, caramel, molasses, raisin, rum raisin, tropical fruit, almond cookies, roasted cashews, clove, cinnamon, sage, espresso, wood, bourbon barrel, oak.
Finish: Apple, ginger, grassy, sour mash, spicy, clove, pepper, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Eight Oak Organic Wheat Carolina Whiskey

 

 

 

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