So what is the difference between Moonshine, Vodka, Whiskey, Bourbon, Brandy. There are several things That determine what category an alcohol falls into. These factors include how the alcohol is distilled, how it’s aged, and what ingredients are used.
Moonshine is any alcohol that is made illegally. It is usually make in small batches. There have been a growing number of distilleries that advertise their product as “moonshine.” This however is nothing short of lying. If you can buy it in the store then it’s not moonshine. It’s basically just really bad Vodka.
So what is Vodka? The biggest difference between Vodka and Whiskey is that Vodka isn’t aged. I you put Vodka into an oak barrel for two years you can legally call it Whiskey. Vodka is basically just un-aged whiskey. Although you can turn Vodka into whiskey, you cannot turn whiskey into Vodka. Vodka must be distilled at 90% alcohol before being diluted. Whereas Whiskey can be distilled down until you get into the tails.
Vodka is a popular drink for new distillers. The reason for this is that Vodka doesn’t have to be aged. Distillers who produce Vodka can see and instant return on their money, whereas Whiskey has to be aged for at least two years. That means that a distiller would have to wait two years before seeing any kind of return on their investment. This has led to some fraud within the Distilling industry.
Since distillers have to wait for at least two years before they can sell their product as whiskey, many distillers have been buying whiskey from other large scale manufacturers. One tell tail sign of this is if the whiskey they are selling is older than their distillery. The big issue with this is that many of these distillers present themselves as being small batch, hand crafted distillers.
You would be shocked by how many brands actually come from the same distillery in Indiana. One large perpetrator of this scam is a distillery called Templeton Rye. Templeton Rye has long advertised themselves as being a small batch distiller. They present a long story of Templeton Iowa’s moonshine heritage. They claim to use the same recipe that was used during prohibition. They go as far as to claim that their recipe was used to make Al Copones favorite Whiskey. A Whiskey that Al Copon himself would affectionately refer to as “the good stuff.”
However, a large controversy broke out when it was revealed that Templeton Rye didn’t actually make their own Whiskey. Rather they bought it from a large manufacturer in Indiana. A manufacturer who makes alcohol for many other brands as well as for antifungal creams.
Although there was a great deal of anger when the story first broke, there were also a lot of people who stood up for Templeton. The main defense being that even though Templeton Rye didn’t make their own whiskey, they did use the same recipe that was used during prohibition. This defense lasted for several months until it was released that Templeton Rye didn’t use any such recipe. Rather the manufacturer used a stock recipe. Needless to say this sparked a whole new level of anger from their consumers.
One major defense of this practice is that the distillers need to raise revenue and establish their brand before they can begin making their own Whiskey. However, it’s important to note that there are many small craft distillers who have managed to make their own Whiskey. Furthermore, the only way you can learn about making whiskey is from making it. You can’t learn anything by simply buying and reselling Whiskey.
The difference between Bourbon and other Whiskey is that Bourbon must be made with at least 51% corn. Scotch whiskey is typically made with barley. Another difference is that other Whiskeys are stored and aged in used barrels, whereas Bourbon must be aged in new oak barrels. Many Scottish distillers buy used Bourbon barrels to age and store their scotch whiskey.
As previously stated, the difference between Irish whiskey and Scotch Whisky is that Irish Whiskey is made with pot stills. And Scotch whisky is made with Column stills. Pot Stills produce spirits with more flavor and personality. Although it is important to note that the majority of a whiskeys flavor comes from the aging process rather than the actual recipe.