By S.D. Peters
Firefly White Lightning Moonshine is crafted by the Firefly Distillery on Wadmalaw Island, SC, and, other than the professional label on the jar, has the look and feel of the sort of a illicit moonshine you might expect from a small, out-of-the-way place– which is to say it looks like moonshine, and comes in a Mason Jar.
Like other legal white whiskeys, Firefly White Lightning Moonshine is made with more concern and care for the quality product than for the immediacy and quantity of the production, which makes it a lot more interesting than your run of the mill “clear stuff.” The Distillery also produces a selection of flavored versions of their Moonshine, but their White Lightning is their core product and “the real thing.”
Firefly White Lightning Moonshine looks like water – the only hint in the glass that it’s not being the thicker, oily texture that’s common to white whiskey. It’s bottled at 100.7 Proof (50.35% ABV), which is obvious with one sniff. The initial burn of a too-deep sniff is quickly supplanted by the aroma of corn, stone, spring water and hay – a wonderful combination that makes you feel very much in the country.
It tastes of water-splashed pebbles and caramel corn with a bite – the grainy flavor of the corn being significantly lightened by the sweetness and the higher proof giving it a decent kick.
The real reward is in the finish, where corn recaptures the high ground, giving a proper balance to the flavors of caramel, stone-ground bread, and Dominican cigar that mill around a very smooth, satisfying finish that belies the initial burn at the start of the tasting. There’s room for this white whiskey to grow, but it’s clearly surpassed the average white whiskey.
Firefly products, once predominately available only in the Distillery’s home state of South Carolina, have a growing distribution in the U.S. For $15-$20 a “jar”, White Lightning is a good place to start exploring white whiskey.