While the rest of my borough is out partying, I’ve taken a break to bring a new whiskey into my arsenal. Shine On Georgia Moon is something that’s caught my eye on the shelf every time I visit my local liquor store, so instead of venturing down to Red Hook to see my usual pushers at LeNell’s I opted to give SOGM a try.
Shine On Georgia Moon is bottled and positioned for one purpose and one purpose only: to hammer home the idea that it is moonshine. From the name, to the mason jar, to the irregular typeface on the shopping-bag-paper label, this liquor is anything but subtle. Thankfully they realize that they are so unapologetically forward in their visual presentation that they didn’t find the need to add a hokey little narrative about some old-timey man and his still out in the back woods of Georgia (or Kentucky as is the case here).
Beyond these obvious points, there is one message that seems particularly distictive to this brand – they proult declare that their product is “less than 30 days old” right on the front label. This is a clear response to the often fetishistic focus on a whiskey’s age that we see in other brands. SOGM seems to be trying to make the “freshness” of the product a selling point…not a crazy approach in the era of local food and farmers’ markets.
If you take the cheap bottling and quick time to market implied in the “less than 30 days old” tag line, and place these two qualities next to the $13+ price point, what you see is some damn shrewed marketing. The Johnson Distilling Company has taken the market’s obsession with notions of “authenticity” and manufactured unpretentiousness and turned it into a cheap-to-make, mid-market brand. Bravo.
Shine On Georgia Moon is no subtler to the nose than its bottling is to the eye. Before even getting to the nose however, one must struggle to pour the whiskey out of the mason jar itself – not an easy task to complete neatly. Once in the glass, SOGM definitely smells like whiskey, but very green whiskey. The dominant scent is (naturally) corn, but it really smells like the mash itself, unaged, unmellowed.
On the palate, SOGM is equally young. It moves quickly through its seasons: starting with a burst of corn, dropping into the sensation of boiled mash, then disappearing as quickly as it came leaving only a slight remembrance in the clean finish that something had passed this way. There seem few better ways to describe it than simply as ‘fast’.
I would probably never find myself settling down with a glass of neat Georgia Moon any day soon, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good uses for a green whiskey such as this. For instance, I can imagine with a little simple syrup and mint this would make a fine julep; or perhaps replace the mint with a wedge of lime and the simple syrup for cane syrup for a variation on Ti’punch. In fact, SOGM reminds me more of a rhum agricole than a bourbon or any other American whiskey – so it might be best to treat it as such.