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Whiskey, Moonshine, Bourbon.....What's The Difference

Whiskey and Moonshine on a Table

Whether you are a connoisseur or a casual fan of distilled spirits, at one point in time, you must have had questions about the nature of the drink. With so many options on the market to choose from---whiskey from rye, white lightning moonshine, Kentucky bourbon---how do you tell the difference between them all, and how do you go about selecting one that fits your style, your mood, and most importantly, your taste?

Fortunately for you, we have gone before and done the research so that we can bring you the goods on all things distilled, and where to go for THE best taste experience around. Grab a shot glass, have a seat, and prepare for Distilling 101: What’s the difference?


Whiskey, in its most basic form, is a distilled grain mash that is aged in oak barrels. In order for a whiskey to be designated as “straight,” it has to be aged for at least two years. Corn whiskey abides by different rules---it should not be aged unless it is placed in used, charred oak, or toasted barrels. Whiskey does not have to be aged for twenty years in order to take on superior taste and flavor; part of a batch’s character lies in the unique combination of grains used, the distilling process itself, and the quality of the wood in which it is placed.


In order for a whiskey to be considered a bourbon, over fifty percent of its mash must be comprised of corn. By law, a batch of bourbon must be aged in new, charred white oak barrels. In recent years, the demand for quality bourbon has exceeded the ability to secure new barrels, making a batch of “old Kentucky” even more appealing to loyal fans. In addition, bourbon has its origins only in the United States, a unique trait to this spirit that you don’t find with whiskey or moonshine. Mellow flavors incorporate elements of wheat into the blend, while those who favor spicier stimulation seek rye blends for satisfaction.


While moonshine has no legal distillation requirements, the fact that nearly everyone can make a batch of homemade shine is proof that we crave the stuff. Moonshine purists describe “white lightning” as clear, unaged whiskey, known for its corn base and extremely high alcohol content. Relatively cheap and easy to make, it became a Southern institution as many tried their hand at homemade distillation. To ensure quality and taste, however, production is best left up to experts who have cultivated a passion for purity and a desire to create taste sensations to tantalize and tempt the most discriminating of consumers. Given the blank slate nature of a sweet corn base, moonshine lends itself well to the addition of flavors; perfect pairings with fruit, spices, and other delicious mixtures are commonly found from distilleries who pour their passions into every glass.

Honoring the distillers that have gone before

No matter what tastes you crave, we must pay homage to those who have gone before us and perfected the craft to bring us the unique brews that enhance our social gatherings and enrich our lives. There has been much trial and error in shaping these processes in such a way that we can now implement predictable steps to get our delicious end results. Which blend do you prefer?

Palmetto Distillery: The Best of the Best

Palmetto’s rich history and roots are embedded deeply in distillation traditions that began during the Prohibition period, and they remain true to those traditions even today. Each batch of award-winning whiskey and lip-smacking moonshine are just as delicious as they were back when ancestor and famed bootlegger Doc Boggs crafted them for family and friends; we are expanding our circle of family and friends to include you! Palmetto’s offerings of whiskey and moonshine are the best that money can buy, and we are proud to share our traditions of excellent taste with you. If you want a one of a kind taste experience, contact us today! Visit www.palmettodistillery.com for more information. The flavor of the South is calling; will you answer?