Did you know that if it wasn’t for moonshine there would be no NASCAR? It’s the truth.  Back in the day, thanks to prohibition, moonshine was king, it was also illegal.  In order for the moonshiners to get their white lighting to market, most times they needed to outrun the law that was always right behind them.  So they started to tinker with their cars and beef up the suspensions in order to carry more spirits and tweak the engines so they could outrun the feds.

Well, wouldn’t you know it but those good old boys wildly careening their souped up sedans around backwoods roads would eventually evolve into those good old boys carefully careening their stock cars around oval race tracks.

The reason I mention all this is because I just received a bottle of Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey, which is in fact the legal descendant of that illegal moonshine and it is made from Popcorn Sutton’s secret recipe.  Yes, there really was a moonshiner named Popcorn Sutton and his recipe was perfected over four generations.  Popcorn was a third generation moonshiner who lived and distilled his whiskey in Cocke County, Tennessee.  And true to his moonshiner heritage on March 16, 2009, while facing 18 months in federal prison for making moonshine (not paying taxes on his whiskey), he decided to take his own life rather than go to prison.

Fortunately, he shared his secret recipe, along with the tradition and craft that made his whiskey famous with his friend Jamey Grosser who, under the America’s Rebel Spirit Company, distills Popcorn’s Whiskey exactly the same way Popcorn made it.  Let’s dive in and see if it lives up to its legend.

It comes in a jet black bottle with white lettering with a design that makes both the front and back labels appear to be both front labels, neat idea.  WHOA, this is alcohol!  The nose is full of grain; I do believe they use corn, and it has an underlying dash of sweetness from the accompanying sugar.  However, the alcohol is front and center, and I made the mistake of taking in a deep breath and singed all the hairs in my nose.  I have had moonshine before and I can vouch that this is definitely moonshine.  It eventually settles down in the glass and the alcohol dissipates and leaves a clean scent of grain.

On the palate, it begins with a pronounced tingle that builds and then evens out.  I get a taste of malted grain followed by subdued sweetness that seems to balance nicely with the grain.  The finish starts with a very peppery feel in my throat that is short and eventually just leaves the taste of the grain in my mouth and a tingle around my tongue.

It mellows right out on the rocks and the edges smooth over and the earthy grains come out from behind the alcohol and take center stage. It mixes it up quite nicely with lemonade or coke but does not lose its identity.

This Tennessee White Whiskey is really a prime example of its type of spirit; moonshine AKA white lightning.  It is not for the faint of heart, but if you are the adventurous sort you really ought to try this.  It is 93 proof so drink with caution. 

It is available in limited distribution but worth looking for at only $25.00 to $30.00 per 750ml bottle.

By George Brozowski