I could understand if you didn’t believe me when I say there’s a company in Berlin making moonshine. This five year old brand offers a straight moonshine but is better known for three flavored offerings. Fairly low in alcohol and all heavily sweetened, they drink more like liqueurs you’d find served warm at a German Christmas fair than anything Americans might typically think of as moonshine.
Either way, the brand seems to be booming, and it opened a London branch in 2017, making the same products. Here’s a look at the German versions of the flavored moonshines (only), which were purchased in and Germany and brought back to the U.S.
O’Donnell Bratapfel Moonshine – “Baked apple” moonshine is flavored with apples, almond, cinnamon, and vanilla, with a touch of lemon added. Extremely sweet, all of the above flavors abound in this experience, the lemon actually brightening up the apple and helping to tamp down all of the vanilla-laced sugar in the mix. That sweetness is domineering on the finish, with marzipan, cinnamon, and sweet apple all lingering for ages. 40 proof. B-
O’Donnell Harte Nuss Moonshine – “Hard nut,” flavored with hazelnut and caramel. Really nice, authentic hazelnut notes on the nose, rich and deep. This is O’Donnell’s best-seller, and it’s easy to see why. The sweetness is pulled back a bit, letting the nutty character shine through more clearly, while the slightly smoky, burnt marshmallow character evident on the finish doesn’t overwhelmingly detract. Hints of fruit linger on the back end. 50 proof. B
O’Donnell Bitter Rose Moonshine – This name is actually in English, probably because German for Bitter Rose is “Bittere Rose.” The fairly complex infusion includes grapefruit, rose hip and black elderberry. Floral notes meet that grapefruit peel head-on on the nose here, a mixed bouquet of flowers with some red berries tossed into the mix. The palate is sharp — the least sweet of this collection — heavy with citrus and touched with some notes of fresh thyme. On the finish, a curious lemon/lime note emerges — a bit racy, and surprisingly fresh. 50 proof. B+
each €25 (700ml) / odonnell.de