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The White Whiskey Bucket List: 12 Unaged Whiskeys You Need to Try At Least Once

The White Whiskey Bucket List: 12 Unaged Whiskeys You Need to Try At Least Once

White whiskey is the oldest kind of whiskey, but you wouldn’t know it from how new it feels to the whiskey industry. It’s only just starting to get wide releases from distilleries and the spread is exactly as you’d expect it to be. Craft distillers putting out new expressions of unaged distillations, finding success, then larger distilleries coming in to swipe up some of that sweet, sweet market share. We won’t fault them though. Anything to get some new bottles of a supremely drinking whiskey genre out there. Here are the best white whiskey bottles you can buy.

Troy & Sons Platinum

In the race to claim the title of authentic, legal American moonshine, Troy & Sons Platinum makes a strong showing. It’s made with heirloom white corn and Appalachian spring water, two things we assume those old-timey guys with backwoods stills were using quite a lot of. And while you could get bogged down in arguing the semantics of whether or not a moonshine can be both legal and moonshine, you’d be missing out on a damn fine whiskey. Link

XXX Shine Whiskey

In that same race (the one for authentic, legal American moonshine), XXX Shine Whiskey looks like it has a pretty good shot at winning too. It’s made in Philadelphia, makes a point of reminding everyone that Pennsylvania made more than its fair share of moonshine in the deep dark days of Prohibition, and Prohibition’s Prince was from PA. Plus the whiskey tastes good, which is kind of a prerequisite for winning anything in a whiskey competition. Link

Buffalo Trace White Dog

White whiskey is quickly growing in popularity, which means larger distillers are going to jump in on the movement. Didn’t you notice Jim Beam released a rye as soon as people started to drink Manhattans the way they were originally made? But just because they’re big distillers doesn’t mean they don’t make decent stuff. Their White Dog whiskey definitely nails the rustic simplicity of early white whiskey and would absolutely serve as a good introduction to the style. If you’re nervous about experimenting with legal moonshine, this is a good place to start. Link

Hudson New York Corn Whiskey

Tuthilltown Spirits is the distillery behind Hudson New York whiskeys, a whiskey you might recognize as the kind everyone says you should have tried by now but you can never seem to scrape the cash together to do it (it’s a 375 ml bottle at a premium price). But if you can do it, their unaged whiskey is worth going into debt for. Their claims that the whiskey is almost like buttered popcorn aren’t unfounded, as each sip reminds you bourbon is made of corn and should taste like corn, but only the good parts of corn, like when you put butter all over some corn on the cob. Which is delicious. Link

Old Smoky Mountain Original

Old Smoky was our introduction to white whiskey and we couldn’t be happier with what we chose as our first jar. It has all the sweetness we like in whiskey, it’s plenty smooth, mixes well (if that’s your inclination), and comes in a stereotypical mason jar. What really surprised us about it was how quickly the buzz hits you. We weren’t drinking any faster or more than we usually do, but we felt it pretty early on. If you don’t watch yourself, you could have a problem on your hands, but at that point, it’s your own fault. Link

Death’s Door White Whisky

Death’s Door White Whiskey just made our list of craft whiskeys and served as partial inspiration for putting this list together. It doesn’t quite adhere to the unspoken rules of white whiskey. It’s made with totally different grains, fermented using champagne yeast, and aged in uncharred casks. This is definitely a whiskey, but there are also trace notes of tequila, vodka, and gin. It’s still clear, so it qualifies as a white whiskey, but it doesn’t follow any of the rules set forth by any single alcohol. It’s unique, it what we’re trying to say. Link

Virginia Lightning

Virginia Lightning is an old family recipe that was turned into a modest commercial pursuit and we have to say, we’re glad whoever Chuck is (presumably Chuck Belmont, as this is made by family distillers at Belmont Farm) decided to share his family’s secret. It’s kind of a farm to table whiskey, where the family grows the corn they’d need to make their whiskey. This is a whiskey with a few frills as they come, like how Grandma’s apple pie recipe doesn’t do a whole lot with weird flavors or newly invented spices, but we’d still pick it before we bought anything from the hipster bakery offering a deconstructed apple pie. Link

Pinckney Bend American Corn Whiskey

One thing that the repeal of Prohibition allowed moonshiners to do was experiment in their industry while being able to lean on a secure income. People that made an illicit living peddling bathtub gin were able to come out in the open, establish a business, and refine their product. That’s not to say Pinckney Bend’s roots lie in crappy spirits. They probably don’t. We’re just saying you don’t get a moonshine with this much flavor by distilling in a dell in the woods. You need to have the constant threat of federal agents busting your operation removed to get really good at distilling. Link

Popcorn Sutton

For the moonshining establishment, at least as far as we can tell, Popcorn Sutton’s moonshine carries the same kind of weight as one of the quality bourbons that survived Prohibition. This white whiskey comes from Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, a man who made his living selling actual illegal moonshine out of the back of his Model A Ford Truck. This is about as honest a moonshine as you can legally buy these days, so you might as well see what all the fuss used to be about. Link

Platte Valley Moonshine

Half of the nostalgic appeal for moonshine comes from the unique ways it was packaged (the other half comes from nearly unimaginable weirdness and violence). Platte Valley understands that and bottle their unaged whiskey in a ceramic crock reminiscent of the Looney Tunes’ penchant for triple X hooch. And while they might get you in the door with a packaging gimmick, they quickly prove they don’t need it to make you stay. Their whiskey is a proud addition to the years of moonshining tradition in the American South. It’s straight corn, like many of the others, so expect an easy-drinking whiskey that works as well in cocktails as it does straight. Link

Lincoln County Lightning

Whether or not it’s true, Prichard’s Distillery’s story about one of their first tasting events is too good not to repeat. Supposedly, a little old lady described her first sip by saying, “It’s just like cornbread in a bottle…with a kick.” For all the white whiskeys out there, that little old lady is right. Lincoln County Lightning nails the corn taste. It’s sweet and bold, yet easily drinkable. Think of how it’s nearly impossible to stop yourself from eating an entire tray of cornbread and you get exactly what we’re saying. Link

Stillhouse Clear Corn Whiskey

This is another one of those whiskeys where the packaging draws you in and the flavors make you stay. Regardless of what type you buy, every whiskey comes in a turpentine/motor oil/paint thinner/industrial cleaner looking stainless steel can, with a bold red as the main color and a different themed color for flavors. Their white whiskey gets a dignified, muted steel grey label, which we find aesthetically pleasing and fitting for the flavors. As with most white whiskeys, it’s equally suited for mixing or straight, though most people find mixing the whiskey doesn’t diminish the distinctive flavors already present. Link