Chuck Miller is the owner and master distiller of Belmont Farm. A Buddy Ebsen look alike, he is tall and very outgoing. He started his distillery in 1988 when corn prices hit a low and he had too much on hand. Using his grandfather’s recipe, he started distilling his own moonshine. Chuck’s grandfather was a moonshiner back during prohibition, running moonshine into Washington, DC. While the grandfather’s moonshine was illegal, Chuck went through the long process of obtaining a license for his distillery and moonshine. Chuck is not an ordinary farmer. He has a degree in Aviation Engineering from the University of Maryland. He flew aircraft in Vietnam and later flew for Eastern Airlines. Once the airline hit hard times he started on the path to creating a distillery. Belmont Farm grows or sources, from nearby farms, all their own grain. According to Belmont Farm, at one time it was the only distillery that did that. The grinding and malting are done on site. The mash is fermented on site, cooked, distilled and then either bottled, barrelled or put into storage tanks.
Right off the bat, the whiskey introduces itself with explosive showmanship. Notes of sun-drenched hay, honey, and pear skins jump out and feel free of heft or heat. A slight hit of butterscotch helps to round out the sharper, crisper notes, and a handful of red summer berries are present. The palate shows raw almond, pleasantly nutty with a soft creaminess. There is a tannic bitterness present from the oak which masks any perceptible alcohol burn, that carries a pithy citrus note. Vanilla is low, but appropriate for a lighter, brighter dram. Long and rich on the finish.