White whiskies are a growing trend in the spirit industry. Upstart distillers have been crafting white whiskey, and carving out a niche market for spirit lovers. Even Jack Daniels and Jim Beam have gotten into the act recently.

White Whiskey – also called White Lightning or Moonshine or White Dog or Hooch – is generally unaged whiskey. Financially, it allows a distiller to skip the aging process and thus see returns quicker. Most whiskey will be aged in barrels – but white whiskey will go right to the bottler – and thus to the consumer.

The problem with white whiskey is that it usually doesn’t taste very good. There’s a reason whiskey is aged. Still, we have to give credit to distillers for trying.

That brings us to Fog’s End California Moonshine. Made by Fog’s End Distillery in California. Fog’s End was founded by a retired Monterey County Deputy Sheriff, Craig Pakish, in 2009. The distillery makes small batch spirits, and its 100 proof California Moonshine recently won a Silver Medal at the International Review of Spirits Competition.

White whiskies can be shockingly harsh to the uninitiated. But even veterans of the spirit brace themselves when trying a new moonshine. Thus, my first sip of Fog’s End California Moonshine was a nice surprise. For white whiskey, it’s surprisingly smooth. It is not an overly complex whiskey, but it has nice character, with hints of fruit, nuts and pepper.

If you like your whiskey with a little zing, Fog’s End California Moonshine isn’t a bad choice to give a try, either neat or with ice. But most people probably won’t drink this straight, other than to satiate their curiosity. Fog’s End California Moonshine probably works best as a mixing spirit. Try replacing gin or vodka with California Moonshine. It makes for some interesting drinking.

Fog’s End California Moonshine, which runs about $25-30 for a bottle, is not for most whiskey drinkers. But we recommend it for those who might like to experiment with swapping out their clear spirits – like gin and vodka – with a white whiskey.