Legal lightning

Tasting Notes: Palmetto Moonshine

Culture By Photo by E. Yang

Moonshine is dangerous: for backwoods brewers, the lawmen chasing them (whom we imagine as bumbling Sheriff Roscoes) and for your sobriety. Palmetto Moonshine, South Carolina’s first legal moonshine distillery, claims to deliver a hooch that tastes less like jet fuel and more like fine liquor. We were skeptical.

Don’t get us wrong — the stuff still kicks like a mule, just one that’s wearing pillows on its hooves rather than sharp iron horseshoes. The 105-proof corn liquor is triple distilled in copper vats in small batches. Palmetto’s booze still retains corn liquor’s ability to reek to high heaven, but hey, it certainly creates an aromatic atmosphere. This stuff’s not for sipping quietly in your study, anyway.

Two unsurprising notes: it has a big alcohol heat, and comes in a mason jar. It’s surprisingly sweet on the tongue, with a Novocaine numbing effect that’s reminiscent of good Scotch. Ultimately, the white lightning is, as promised, a lot smoother than we expected for something that’s more than half pure alcohol. There’s not necessarily any “depth” or “complexity” to be found, but if that’s what you’re looking for you’re sticking your head in the wrong aging barrel. For a wild bonfire party in the woods of your cabin that may or may not end in nudity and/or your first ride on a dairy cow? This is the stuff.

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