Nicely done white rum with pineapple overtones.Thoughtfully made and balanced, this is not some Godawful pineapple sugar bomb. Well done example of Hawaiian Moonshine .
Notes: Last Shot Distillery is one of the newest distilleries in New York State ( producing, selling, and aging products, not just setting up as many are). Run by Chris Uyehara and a very small team, Chris is a master chef and pastry chef and brings his art and attention to detail to all his products. Last Shot uses water from the local Finger Lake Skaneateles Lake, with minimal filtering ( just to remove any chlorine) to maintain a local character to the water and spirit, rather than use RO water which to me is completely boring and neutral filler for a spirit. While the distillery itself is barely four years old at present, they still have a very ambitious whiskey program with stocks of Rye, Bourbon, and even Triticale aging in their cellars. They also produce a number of other products, such as Gin, Vodka, some maple-based spirits, and a series of RTD Cocktails. While they produce an excellent unnamed moonshine-type whiskey, this particular expression is a complete departure from their usual.
Dedicated to Mr. Uyehara’s Grandmother, Yoshi, this is an homage to both her and the family heritage of distilling.
Chris Uyeharas’ grandmother was a postcard bride. This was a way for edible women to seek out a husband for marriage in faraway places. Originally from a farming family in Okinawa, she traveled to Hawaii to meet and marry her husband, who was a farmer on a pineapple plantation. After moving to Hawaii with almost nothing but the clothes on her back and marrying Chriss’s grandfather, they moved into a small shack on the plantation and took on the backbreaking work of pineapple cultivation.
Later she needed up separating from his grandfather and was left raising her children on her own. In a bid to make a little money and not to fall into exploitation by the foreman/supervisor, she took up distilling pineapple moonshine to survive. By all accounts, she was successful at this trade, and her product was well-regarded by everyone who ever tried it.
Mr. Uyehara has won the “World War of Whiskey” on Discovery Channels Master Distiller and was named master distiller, beating out a number of very worthy competitors.
Appearance: Clear as rainwater, Oily coat on the glass when you swirl it, leaving a wide band of tears all over the inside of the glass ( rarely see this)
First Impression: Sweet aromatic rum notes and pineapple with interesting minerality and a touch of salt. Nice structure to the bouquet with touches of grassiness or plant fiber wrapped around some sweetness but not overly sweet/cloying or flabby.
Taste: Gentle entry with a smooth body; touches of vanilla seem to intertwine with the minerality and sweetness. Sweet entry with rapid drying to slightly alkali/mineral fade/drying and long pleasant finish. It has what the Japanese refer to as Shiripin ( it has a tail – long finish).
Drinks: Great for any white rum drink you care to use it in. Also good for when you want some actual taste, depth, and complexity in that vodka cocktail.
Bottle: Clear glass, round jug shaped with sloped shoulder and finger ring. Label is a clear plastic appliqué Back label is two-sided; as you look at the front of the bottle, you see a roughly turn of the century of Chriss’ grandmother Yoshi in traditional Japanese dress in front of her house on the plantation. The back label on the outside tells the story of his grandmother and how this spirit first came to be. Today’s version is an Homage to his grandmother and a fitting one that she would be proud of.
Bottle is capped with a black ridged top and synthetic cork for a tight, durable seal, and the neck capsule is black plastic with a gold pull tab. Unlike some, it opens easily and does not require sharp objects to open/remove. Overall the packaging is well done and slightly quaint.
Other: Moonshine ( to use the generic American term for illegally/untaxed/unlicensed produced distilled alcohol) is a worldwide institution.
While most people in the US believe it is made in the South, it was and is made everywhere in the United States and its territories. Peurto Rico has a moonshine made on one island from Canepas ( a small longan type fruit), and Hawai makes sugar cane/rum and pineapple moonshine, and there are legal craft examples of these also.
Final Thoughts: A rare example of a rum-type moonshine – especially a Hawain one. The market is overrun with corn and sugar moonshines ( many flavored or gummed up with enough sugar and fruit to dumb down the bad distillation). This is a rare example of an artisan moonshine by oppressed and almost forgotten people. Bravo!
A well laid out site if a touch barebones. Fast loading and easy to navigate with photos and descriptions of products, backstory, and where to buy both brick and mortar and online locations.