Friday, July 18, 2008

Repost: Review: Georgia Moon Brand Corn Whiskey

I wrote the post below in about May of 2006, and for some reason, it continues to generate comments. Just got another today. I have no idea how people find it; a search for the name brand Georgia Moon doesn't bring it up immediately. Maybe I ought to write about booze more often.

And I keep seeing this odd little gimmick in New York liquor stores. A little wine shop opened up in my neighborhood in Brooklyn recently, and it stocks Georgia Moon next to the good stuff like Maker's Mark (which has really gone up in price over the last few years). For the Brooklyn hipster, this product is the physical embodiment of "slumming" in a pre-fabricated, pre-distressed dive bar full of faux working class drinkers.

After more than two years, I still have my bottle. It sits under the kitchen sink next to my stock of mouse poison and bleach.

Here's the original post from 2006:

What a concept. It comes in a mason jar, and it's cheap. It boasts being "Less than 30 days old," but if the dust on the lid is any indication, the boast is merely marketing. And that, ultimately, is what Georgia Moon Brand Corn Whiskey is really about: a marketing gimmick, and I fell for it. As you can see in the photo, it didn't set me back much.

The word "shine" is on a different line than the word "moon," which is either a lost ooportunity or a way around a law. Perhaps it's inviting some nasty suits to label a commercial product "moonshine." If I were the creator of this product, I would have called it "Kentucky Moon" at a minimum. Why mix states? It's distilled in Kentucky. If Georgia has a richer moonshine heritage, the good folks buying this here jar of swill on Broadway in the Village in NYC don't know about it.

And another thing. Shouldn't a whiskey like this be at least 90 proof? The Kentucky whisky (note the different spelling) Maker's Mark is 90 proof. I would have made a whiskey with an odd percentage of alcohol, like 93 proof. It sounds more authentic.

I haven't mentioned taste yet; I haven't tried it. Hold on, let more pour a glass. There. It's clear, like vodka. It doesn't smell too good. It's hard to pour out of the jar without spilling.

I've never tried "real" moonshine, so I have nothing to compare this to except decent whiskey. This is not decent whiskey. It's almost tasteless -- it has more of an aroma than a flavor. Reminds me a little of bad rum, a little like a Dutch liquor called Corenwijn -- a grain mash mixture distilled four times (according to this.). I got some Corenwijn in Amsterdam a couple years ago. Wouldn't get it again.

Georgia Moon is a product of Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., a Kentucky liquor firm that owns dozens of labels in many categories -- vodka, gin, rum, etc. Their best known label may be Christian Brothers Brandy.

The company says this about their corn whiskeys:

"The forerunner and kissing cousin to Bourbon, American Straight Corn Whiskey is defined by the US Government as having a recipe or mashbill with a minimum of 81% corn, the rest being malted barley and rye. Today, Heaven Hill is the sole remaining national producer of this uniquely American Whiskey style, bottling such classic names as Georgia Moon, Mellow Corn, Dixie Dew and J.W. Corn."

For the record, Bourbon is like Champagne in that the product must be from the right place, in this case, Bourbon County, Kentucky. While Heaven Hill says it's the only company making straight corn whiskey, Bourbon, which is at least 51% corn (though usually more like 65-75%, according to this FAQ) is made by lots of companies. Jack Daniel's is a Tennessee whiskey, and it's "charcoal mellowed," another disqualifier in the Bourbon category.

Back to Georgia Moon. This is a "male, 18-34 demographic" product. It's really not bad, but it's an impulse buy and a conversation piece -- not a smooth-sipping Kentucky whiskey for connoisseurs. It's a very self-conscious product, and anyone who gives a damn about authenticity will be too embarrassed to buy it twice. My suggestion: do what your great-grandparents did -- make some in your bathtub.



Blogger k said...

This is true Americana. It probably goes down real nice while the banjos and washboards that are causing a ruckus. Who the hell knows a plain old fiddler these days?
The bliss of being back in the holler is oblivious to modern America. We have to reclaim our past. Drink the shine, damn it!

9:54 PM  
Blogger Jonathan's Blogosphere said...

Hhaha yeah I fell for the stuff too since I'm from Georgia. I took it to a poker game....and I won. Im wondering if it's because of the Moonshit.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now they market it as 100 proof. I'm a true red neck in NC. The stuff isn't bad when compared to the "real" stuff. It is an taste you get used to but I'd rather drink my Woodford reserve or a good Tequila. It's a good cheap drink and yes Georgia Moon is a close if not exact taste of good southern moonshine. Excuse me while I look for the skin from the roof of my mouth and tongue.

4:41 PM  

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