Monday, February 12, 2007

Corn Whiskey

I'm a big fan of Eric Asimov's blog The Pour. Asimov is the New York Times' wine critic, and when he runs out of space in his column, or when he wants to explore something in more depth, he writes about it on The Pour.

In an entry from last week titled "Going With the Grain," Asimov tackles Bourbon and Corn Whiskey. He mentions Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey, which I reviewed back in May of last year. Asimov says it ain't half bad. I was stuck on it being a marketing gimmick (which I fell for). A reviewer at Straight Bourbon.com describes it a bit more harshly. Here's how he characterized the nose:
Ugh! Nasty cardboard with light hints of boiled cabbage and brussel sprouts. An immediate put-off. Smells like B.O.! The words "rancid" and "musty" come to mind. There are some plummy notes struggling to be heard, but there is nothing light or flowery in there, at least none that I can sense.
Defenders of the brand say it's not supposed to be good -- it's supposed to be like moonshine.

And speaking of moonshine, Asimov told a great story about sampling some illegal brew in Philadelphia of all places:
I remembered a restaurant in Philadelphia that I used to visit. The proprietor, who I won’t identify in case the revenooers are reading this, affected a backwoods persona and used to enjoy sending out a little homebrewed moonshine in teacups to customers whom he knew might be interested. Once he sent me out two teacups and asked which I liked better. One was kind of neutral, with maybe a slight vanilla overlay to it. It didn’t get me excited. "Aged three months in an oak barrel," he told me. But the other one was delicious! It was pure, intense corn, with an aroma that made me think of fresh-squeezed corn oil. It was hard to imagine this coming from some backwoods still.

"Aged 30 days in a plastic garbage bag," he said triumphantly.
Ah, home brew. The fundamental difference between corn whiskey and bourbon is that the latter is aged in oak, and the former is not. But there's no substitute for aged-in-plastic in the basement where the law can't find it moonshine.

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