Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Ole Smoky Moonshine, Deliciously Authentic

Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine

Bold, yet subtle. Prominent, yet unassuming. Old, yet new.

Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine is full of wonderful juxtapositions that have catapulted the brand into the position of an industry leader while remaining true to their Appalachian roots.

All around Gatlinburg, Tennessee, you'll see people carrying newly purchased products in Ole Smoky logo-clad gift bags. And upon entering their flagship store, The Holler, you're immediately overcome by the sheer amount of moonshine choices, beautifully stacked in rows across every wall. You know that Ole Smoky has something special before you've even tasted a drop.

Ole Smoky Moonshine in Gatlinburg, TN

I stopped by the Ole Smoky Distillery and spent time with Johnny, one of the nicest, most down-to-earth guys I've had the pleasure of meeting. He took me behind the scenes to see how their moonshine is made, talked about his family history (his nephew started the company based off century-old family recipes), and took some shots with us while explaining just how special the brand is to the history of alcohol. And indeed, it is special.

Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery

Moonshine became legal in Tennessee in 2009. By 2010, Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine was in business as the first federally licensed moonshine distillery in East Tennessee. In the beginning, the family made and sold moonshine to keep themselves afloat, as many early Smoky settlers did. Generations later, when Ole Smoky opened shop, seven employees sold product out of a store window. Seven years later, it has expanded into three locations with two distilleries, and they sell their moonshine jars in 50 states and over 50 countries. A feat that's wildly incredible! Adding to the list, news just broke last week that they have partnered with Yee-Haw Brewing Co. and Music City Roots to open an entertainment complex in Nashville within the next year. I imagine the venture to be huge.

Exponential growth sometimes leads to the sacrifice of product, but that's far from the case for the world's most visited distillery. As I learned firsthand, their creative concoctions are ever-growing (they've even added whiskey to their product list) and the flavors are delicious. In fact, Ole Smoky is so proud of their variety they let the customers try before they buy. For $5, visitors can sample 13 flavors. If patrons buy anything, that $5 goes toward the purchase. Can't beat that!

Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine tasting
Ole Smoky Blue Flame Moonshine
Ole Smoky Moonshine Cherries

I partook in a sampling and was amazed at the smoothness and variety. From straight-to-the-point, 128 proof Blue Flame to 35 proof coffee-flavored Mountain Java cream liqueur moonshine, Ole Smoky has you covered whether you want a stiff drink or something to sip on. No matter what I tried, I was pleased to find that all of the shots were smooth. I imagined I'd be choking down burning liquid, but it was quite the opposite. I savored each shot and able to really appreciate the flavors. That being said, the Blue Flame was presented in a thimble-sized shot glass, so when you drink the harder stuff don't forget it's moonshine. As Johnny explained, "You don't go lookin' for the moonshine, it will find you."

Ole Smoky Salty Caramel Whiskey

What may have surprised me the most was the Ole Smoky Whiskey. I am not a fan of whiskey at all so when I saw two flavors in the tasting lineup I was hesitant to try, but ended up loving their varieties. In fact, I took a bottle of the Salty Caramel home with me it was so good. I recently spotted Caramel Apple on the Ole Smoky site and I really want to try it but it's only offered at the distillery. Seems like a great excuse for a return trip!

Between the moonshine, moonshine-soaked fruit, and whiskey, there are just about 40 flavors to choose from and I can confidently say there's something for everyone who enjoys alcohol. From now on, any time I attend a gathering I'll be bringing the Ole Smoky. Consider picking up a bottle if you're attending a New Year's Eve party. You'll quickly become everyone's favorite guest.

To locate a store selling Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine in your area, check out the Get a Jar feature on the Ole Smoky site.

Disclaimer: I was hosted at Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed here are accurate and my own, and not influenced by the company in any way.


Ellen Ross | Ask Away Blog said...

Yoooo I love Old Smokey! I got my mom some for Christmas :)
XO Ellen from Ask Away

Laurie said...

I’ve never tried legal shine. I’m a huge fan of apple pie flavor from the mountains of NC. I’ll have to check this out. Being from South, Ive has the chance to sip burn-your-insides-out shine and tasty, sweet stuff. I always wanted to make moonshine. Sounds like a fabulous trip!

Tracie Morris said...

What a great read! I love how the fact that it has the family feel of old recipes!!! I want a trip to Tennessee now and moonshine!!!

jmj492s said...

Looks like an amazing experience!!!😊