Classification: American Whiskey
Company: Manhattan Moonshine Company
Age: At Least 1 Day
Mashbill: Oat (Primary Grain), Rye, Spelt, Malted Barley (undisclosed amounts)
Sunshine Reserve American Whiskey is the older sibling of Manhattan Moonshine from the Manhattan Moonshine Company. It carries over the same distinct packaging, which has been made specially so that when the bottle is finished, you can run it under hot water to strip off the labels cleanly and use the empty bottle as a decanter. Manhattan employs a few unique aging techniques, including aging at a lower proof (around 110), and using oak that is baked in a convection oven versus being charred. Additionally, the label indicates Sunshine Reserve is aged for at least one day and finished with additional toasted oak staves, though the company suggests the statement is only there because it’s required by law - the true aging time remains undisclosed.
Sunshine Reserve’s rich dark color is deceiving compared to the actual tasting experience. Extremely youthful notes of sweet oak and lightly baked oat dominate the nose along with the distinguishing scent of ethanol without the actual burn. The youth carries through to the palate with baked oat and oak once again dominating. The finish lingers with dry oak, white pepper, and a touch of sweet oats intermixing together.
While using oats as the primary grain is an interesting twist, Sunshine Reserve leaves little doubt that it’s a young whiskey. This whiskey doesn't follow what bourbon geeks like to typically see, so it will automatically get written off by a lot of people. New aging techniques can produce interesting new products and experimenting is a good thing...unless the product that is being sold has a hard time winning you over. It's easy to write this off based on technique alone, unfortunately the whiskey itself doesn’t do much to counter this. In the meantime you’re left with a gorgeous bottle to use as a decanter while you ponder this thought.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Manhattan Moonshine Company. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.