By Richard Thomas
The bread and butter of the Casey Jones Distillery is a 50/50 corn and sugar moonshine, made in the wagon bed still that is traditional to the Western Kentucky region. Unlike most legal moonshines, however, Casey’s Barrel Cut has spent some time maturing in wood. The distillery puts it in a full-sized, 53 gallon ASB, alligator char #4 courtesy of Kelvin Cooperage, for one to two years. Then it spends eight more months in a smaller, 25 gallon new oak barrel, before finally being bottled at 94 proof (47% ABV).
In the glass, the liquid takes the appearance of tarnished gold, or that appearance as I imagine it to be, because gold doesn’t corrode. The nose carries the soft scent of buttery sour apples, lightly spiced with vanilla.
On the palate, the sugar and corn ‘shine introduces itself with a light brush of ginger, and then slinks forward with a body that deliciously balances the grassy corn whiskey and the fiery sugar ‘shine (rum, basically) sides of its personality, before turning to corn husk and pepper at the end. That peppery note rolls over into the finish.
Casey’s Barrel Cut is the kind of thing that should shatter misconceptions about legal moonshine, which is so often dismissed as one dimensional jet fuel or, worse, rotgut. It’s a nice sipper, nothing more and certainly nothing less.
A full sized bottle (750 ml) of Casey’s Barrel Cut costs $32.99, and a half-sized bottle runs $18.99.