to goodness, if the current trend to create thousands of new
flavors of distilled spirits continues at its current rate,
liquor stores are going to have to grow to Walmart Super Store
size to accommodate all those new products and flavors. Some
vodka distillers already have almost 30 different flavors.
And then there's the Sugarlands Shine, distillers in downtown
Gatlinburg, Tennessee who produce nine different flavors of
moonshine and soon to be three types of whiskey.
going to have to add another bar to my house to house all
this stuff, not to mention getting a liver transplant after
drinking all this stuff. Actually, I should stop complaining
about all this because most of it is pretty darn good. Modern
day distillers have truly mastered their craft and that's
not that easy with a craft that is part science and part magic.
And these guys at Sugarland are those guys
I'm talking about. Legendary moonshiners and stars of the
hit TV show "Moonshiners", Steve Tickle and Mark
Rodgers have teamed up with Jim Tom Hendrick to launch Sugarland's
Legend's Series of moonshine, utilizing their decades of experience
and super secret recipes.Since I have nine flavors of Sugarlands
Shine to try (well, I thought I had nine, but they
sent me two jars of Blockader's Blackberry Moonshine, so I
really have eight to try) so I better quit the small talk
and get to tasting. And no, I am not going to try all 8 in
one sitting; after all, I'm crazy - not stupid!
and foremost, all the moonshine produced by Sugarland
comes in traditional mason jars, just like it has since prohibition.
The labels are old fashioned looking and die cut, which makes
them all very interesting. The only differences are the colors
of the labels, and the colors of the moonshine.
up is the Silver Cloud Tennessee Sour Mash Moonshine,
which is as clear as a mason jar filled with water. The nose
is sticky sweet with the smell of sugar and corn and mineral
water, and at 100 proof, it tends to produce a touch of ethanol
vapors. Yup, smells like good old shine to me. Oh yeah, that's
some mighty potent shine; on the palate, I perceive an earthy
taste followed by sweetness and corn and a warmth and a tingle.
The finish is earthy/minerally, as well as sweet and peppery
and leaves behind a warmth and tingle that carry on for a
medium amount of time. A little ice mellows this bad boy right
out and makes it a very fine sipping shine.
up is Jim Tom's Unaged Rye that also weighs
in at 100 proof and is also as clear as water. The nose is
distinctly rye but a laid back type of rye that is subtle
and draws one in. I get a touch of sweetness in the background
and yet not much in the way of ethanol vapors. On the palate,
this shine is pretty darn smooth with the rye taste up front
followed by that sweetness and then an earthiness that are
well balanced. The finish is warm and tingly and earthy and
just a tad sweet with a nuanced bit of rye thrown in. The
rye flavor throughout this entire experience is balanced and
flavorful and not overpowering......just right.
up is Mark Roger's American Peach Moonshine.
The nose has that perfect peach aroma of a peach at the peak
of its flavor or just maybe a little bit over ripe but over
ripe in a really good way. Behind that peach aroma is the
barest hint of sweetness, sort of like a peach cobbler, and
there is no ethanol aroma in this 70 proof shine. The palate
is pure pleasure. The peach flavor comes shining through,
followed by a hint of sweetness, and I swear I could taste
the crust of that peach cobbler. This is very smooth with
no spice and no tingle and just the barest hint of warmth.
It almost tastes like a peach liqueur. The finish is, of course,
smooth, sweet, and very peachy. I could sip this spirit well
into the evening after a delightful dinner, and I wouldn't
even bother with ice or water. This shine is definitely meant
for sipping straight up, purely delightful.
this point, I am going to take a break and resume my taste
drive tomorrow with three more of Sugarland's Shine.
If those three are as good as these three were, then I am
very much looking forward to tomorrow's tasting.)
let's begin phase two with Steve Tickles Dynamite
Cinnamon Moonshine. This spirit is 70 proof and is
a light ruby red color. The nose is dominated by cinnamon
and reminds me of those little red cinnamon candies I loved
as a child. I honestly don't get much else in this nose, not
even a touch of ethanol; it's pretty much cinnamon all the
way. On the palate, I continue to perceive the cinnamon front
and center, followed by the inevitable sweetness and just
a hint of an alcohol tingle that warms the mouth. Honestly,
this is just like drinking candy. The finish is tingly, and
sweet with the cinnamon leading all the way. Furthermore,
the finish is fairly long and feels just like I have been
sucking on a cinnamon candy for the past twenty minutes. I
do believe this would make an excellent dessert drink because
if you swallowed some before dinner, as your mother no doubt
has told you over and over again, it will ruin your appetite.
It's a bit over the top for me as far as being candy sweet,
but if you're new to moonshine, this might just be that gentle
introduction you've been looking for.
in the lineup is Blockader's Blackberry Moonshine.
I really hope this one is a home run because I really like
blackberries and have even handpicked baskets of them and
helped make jam. The color is like that of a dark tea. Well,
well, it certainly smells like blackberries and a little like
tea and there is the conspicuous absence of sweetness in the
nose. Also, the absence of any ethanol vapors may be accounted
for by the fact that this spirit is only 40 proof. On the
palate, the blackberry flavor settles down a bit as compared
to the nose. It tastes a lot like diluted blackberry jam that
has just a small amount of sugar in it. It is, of course,
very smooth. The finish is jammy and just a bit sweet and
lasts a short time. I think this particular moonshine might
make a good mixer and might even mix well with some of these
other moonshine flavors, but I don't know if it would become
a standalone staple in my bar.
Number 6 is Southern Sweet Tea Moonshine,
and coming in at 40 proof, it should be quite smooth. It is
the color of dark tea and smells a bit like Earl Grey. I get
no sweetness in the nose and no ethanol either. I mean, it
really smells like tea! The sweetness picks up a bit, but
just a bare little bit on the palate and the tea taste gets
a little obscured, but it remains very smooth. The finish
is smooth, tea like, with not too much sweetness to complicate
the taste and it lasts a short amount of time. This could
be a sipper if you're looking for a sweet, smooth tasting
moonshine that doesn't necessarily taste like moonshine. Why,
I bet you could put some of this in a thermos, chill it and
take it to work and none of your co-workers would be any the
wiser that you're drinking moonshine rather than tea on the
three and so far so good - let's dive right into the Butterscotch
Gold Moonshine today. This particular spirit has
the color of pale scotch or light bourbon or even, yes, iced
tea. Oh my, it does indeed smell like butterscotch, the type
with lots of butter. There are no ethanol vapors at all and
that's probably because this she is 40 proof. The nose has
no aroma of sweetness at all, just a deep butterscotch aroma.
On the palate, the butterscotch flavor explodes and takes
over my whole mouth and is followed by a taste of crème
brulee. Again, it's like drinking candy. There is a little
sweetness and a bare hint of shine, but I guarantee , its
98% butterscotch. The finish is smooth and silky and leaves
a candy like aftertaste that lasts a short time. This would
also make a really good dessert drink or even a dandy mixer.
last, but I I'm certain not least, is Old Fashioned
Lemonade Moonshine that is 40 proof as well. The
color is a pale lemon greenish yellow that looks a lot like
lemonade. This one really does smell like lemonade. I get
a sense of the lemon and the lemon zest and just enough sugar
to make it all come together and smell like the real thing.
It even has that cloudy appearance that makes it look like
fresh squeezed lemons. On the palate, I get a bit of lemony
pucker as soon as it hits my taste buds. Following that, I
sense the sugar and the citrus but don't get much in the way
of a moonshine taste. The finish is sweet, lemony and citrusy
and quite smooth and lasts just a sweet, short time, which
makes me want to immediately take another sip. On the rocks,
it's much more like lemonade and would be the perfect drink
to sip while lounging in a hammock on a beach somewhere.
tend to lean toward spirits that are considerably less sweet
than most of these, but this moonshine has a lot going for
it and can be utilized in numerous ways other than just straight
up sipping. I think that my favorites are the Silver
Cloud and Jim Tom Hedrick's Unaged Rye,
as in those I can really taste the moonshine, and doggone
it, when I'm drinking moonshine, I like to taste the moonshine.
With this product line you can pretty much have it your way:
straight up shine, sweet shine, high alcohol shine, low alcohol
shine, candy shine and fruit shine, so go get you some and
Shine is not available everywhere just yet, so check
their site for availability in your area. Their shine ranges
in proof from 40-50 to 70-100 depending on the flavor, and
they all sell for between $20.69 to $22.99 per 750ML bottle.
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