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White Whiskey

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A few weeks ago we wrote about moonshine and now we have occasion to write about its close relative, White Whiskey.

Products like the above have become quite popular within the past few years, for reasons well explained by Slate:

The term white whiskey is basically a marketing name for what distillers call white dog, referring to grain-based spirits that haven’t been aged in wood to improve their flavor. [Sometimes] it’s just called moonshine, but legal sales of white dog in recent years have helped upstart microdistilleries earn immediate revenue while their whiskies age. That’s because white dog can be bottled and sold immediately after being distilled without accruing any additional storage and aging expenses. The moonshine connection has been a useful marketing gimmick for hip urban bars, but there’s one considerable downside to white dog: It tastes horrible.

At first, TTB was skeptical and pushed back a bit (saying, for example, there is no such category in the regulations). But as the trickle became a deluge, TTB began to allow white whiskey products more freely. In the light of a large number of recent approvals, it becomes clearer that TTB chiefly wants WHISKEY and WHITE on two different lines — more like Beam and less like Death’s Door (as above). Less clear is whether such products need a formula approval (adding the formula step can add 4-5 weeks to what is already a 4-5 week project). Most of the recent label approvals do not refer to any formula approval, as in the following examples.

Formula mentioned

  1. Beam
  2. Catskill

Formula not mentioned

  1. Death’s Door
  2. Popcorn Sutton
  3. Slow Hand
  4. Smooth Ambler
  5. Long Shot
  6. Woodinville
  7. McMenamins

Chuck Cowdery has lots of discussion about closely-related topics, such as the unaged Jack Daniel’s product, here.

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3 Responses to “White Whiskey”

  1. April 8th, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Jennifer says:

    Beam’s Jacob’s Ghost is not unaged white dog, it is aged one year – this is stated on the label.

  2. May 31st, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    BBQDad says:

    Enjoyed some Jacob’s Ghost just last weekend. Very little nose. Extremely light flavor and mouth-feel. Almost no finish. I think it would be good for a mixed drink in which the alcoholic component was __not__ the highlight. One could envision some “sneak up and get ya” drinks made with Jacob’s Ghost.
    In no way a dramming whiskey—unless you have an astonishingly sensitive nose and palate.

    Jennifer’s right. This is not white dog.

    It is aged one year, and it is extremely smooth.

  3. June 5th, 2013 at 9:08 am

    BrewDemon says:

    I like white whisky and brandy but sometimes I do brew my own beer when there is a family gathering. My relatives loves to drink a homemade beer.

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