Most Americans have never had the opportunity of tasting authentic moonshine. Distilled in the backwoods of Appalachia and the American South since the 1800s, the forbidden spirit has for generations remained the illicit product of illegal enterprise. But changing social mores and the resurgence of American whiskeys has prompted many distillers here to begin marketing "new make" whiskeys.
Often saddled with such unflattering names as "Mad Dog or White Lightning," new make whiskeys offer enthusiasts and aficionados a rare glimpse into the character and youthful vitality of the unadulterated spirit. When well made, they're flavorful, exuberant and surprisingly refined, not at all like the breath-robbing firewater portrayed in television and film. One of the not-to-miss brands on the market is Popcorn Sutton Original Small Batch Recipe.
There's something to be said for a product so skillfully crafted that it's a genuine pleasure to drink without it first having to be locked away in oak barrels for years. Aging whiskey in oak has a profound affect on the finished product. Years of interaction with wood imbue a whiskey with color and oak-induced flavors such that its actual flavor is lost forever.
The late Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton was the undisputed dean of bootleggers. He spent his life in pursuit of making the best small batch, "likker" possible. Made in Cooke County, Tennessee and distilled entirely from grain, a modicum of sugar and pure, local water, Popcorn Sutton is perfectly clear with a satiny, medium-weight body. Its grain and fruit aromas are at first muted, but over the course of a few minutes develop more presence and divine purpose. On the palate, the 88-proof spirit starts warm and continues growing in heat until it peaks just shy of hot. It is at that point that waves of semisweet grainy flavor begin to wash over the palate for an impressively long time. The long fade is dry, spicy and warm.
"Popcorn Sutton is a premium distilled spirit still made according to the family's original 100-year old recipe, which has been passed down through 3 generations. The process utilizes three copper pot stills, each custom made to Popcorn's historical design, further underscoring its authenticity," notes Chief Marketing Officer Peter Gyimesi. "The Popcorn Sutton Original Small Batch Recipe is versatile, nuanced and remarkably smooth."
The company has announced plans to soon release a limited edition, barrel-aged version. Bottled at 92-proof, the amber/brown expression has a lightweight body and a bakery-like set of aromas. The longer you allow it to breath and fully oxygenate in the glass, the more of its engaging aromas will come forward. The long, layered finish features a bevy of warm flavors.
Consumer interest in the brand is genuine and effusive. "We believe its popularity's is being driven by the current generation's desire for new, different and more complex tastes inherent in the category," says Gyimesi. "It's clear that Americans love hand-crafted, small batch brands, their stories and what they represent. We believe Popcorn Sutton Original Small Batch Recipe is well positioned to take advantage of these trends.