“Unoaked” Whiskey…. It’s Really Moonshine, Right?


During this most recent trip to Portland/Vacation Run, we went to the kickoff party for the Portland Distillery Row Tour & Passport. The tour took us to several distilleries in the Southeast section of the city, where there exists a cluster of distilleries. Having been to seven or eight distillery tours in Kentucky’s bourbon country, we were familiar with the distillation process. One of the processes necessary to make bourbon is the aging process. Bourbon needs to sit in a barrel for at least two years, by law, and realistically should age closer to seven years. The upstarts in Portland don’t have that luxury yet so they have to either make spirits that don’t require aging, such as vodka, gin, or rum, or they have to sell it unaged. With whiskey, we’re talking what distillers call “white dog” or less affectionately as “moonshine.”

In a few years or so, maybe the distillers will save some of that “white dog,” put it in a barrel, and let it age for a few years. It might be the beginning of a new industry. Also, this budding tour will be a lot more interesting and, thanks to those the “angel’s share” escaping from those damp oak barrels, a lot more fragrant.