WHISKEY & MOONSHINE 101
A lot of folks ask us “What is bourbon? What is whiskey? What is moonshine???” So we figured we should lay down the basics for all interested parties. Here goes…
Whiskey is, in it’s most basic form, a distilled spirit from a mash of grain, aged in oak barrels. There is no minimum aging time for whiskey, but for certain whiskies (like bourbon or rye) to be designated as “straight,” they must be aged in the barrel for at least two years. However, there is one whiskey that, by law, does not need to be aged; corn whiskey. In fact, IF corn whiskey is aged, it can only be aged in used, charred oak, or toasted oak barrels. Unlike most other grain whiskies, corn whiskey also needs to be at least 80% corn, while bourbon, rye, and other whiskies need only to be at least 51% of their respective major grains. There are some specifics for the type of barrels that must be used (new vs. used charred, toasted, etc.) for certain whiskies, and that’s where it starts to get confusing. Bourbon is a whiskey that must be produced in America, distilled from at least 51% corn, and aged in new, charred oak barrels. There are some other specifics, but the main idea is that it’s American, corn-based and aged in new, charred oak. There is no requirement for bourbon to be made in Kentucky. However, 95% of all bourbon is made in Kentucky and the other 5% is counterfeit (that’s just an inside joke for those of us from Kentucky!). At MB Roland Distillery, in addition to our bourbon we take pride in making other unique whiskies made a typical Kentucky distillery. We’ve made everything from our “Black Patch Whiskey” to a wheat-based whiskey. There’s no end to the variations and we’ll be trying out new things anytime we get a chance or an excuse to do so. For those of you that want to know more about bourbon, we suggest you check out a wonderful timeline that was put together by our good friends at the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA). Just head over to http://kybourbontrail.com/history/ and click on “Kentucky Bourbon Timeline.”
Unlike whiskey, moonshine has no legal requirements. In fact, when you really get down to it, moonshine is simply ILLEGAL distilled alcohol. Over here in Kentucky, we take our moonshine seriously, so if you do a little looking into the “art of moonshine,” you’ll find our “True Kentucky Shine” is just like the real deal. First of all, it’s made with what we consider a true moonshine recipe, 50% corn and 50% cane sugar, hence the name “True Kentucky Shine.” Due to us using some sugar in the mash, it can’t be called whiskey (refer to above explanation for whiskey if we’ve lost you at this point). Other distilleries have their way of making what they call “moonshine,” and we have ours. We don’t distill our shine to a pure alcohol (there’s an ethanol plant 5 miles away producing grain alcohol at 200 proof for your gas tank if you’re looking for proof as a sign of quality), we want some flavor to come through in the spirit itself. The flavor of our shine has influences from both the corn and the sugar, so it’s really in it’s own league when compared to an all-grain recipe. Furthermore, we only use white, food-grade corn. Now, for our naturally-flavored shines (apple pie, pink lemonade, etc.), we only use all-natural fruit and ingredients. The exact recipes and process are our little secret, but we think you’ll agree that our products are beyond compare. Click on the “products” tab for more information.