Bourbon is America’s whiskey. In 1964 an Act of Congress declared it as the official spirit of the United States- “America’s Native Spirit”. In order for it to be classified as Bourbon, it has to meet the following requirements.
•Must contain at least 51% corn.
•Must be produced in the United States.
•Must be aged in new charred oak barrels.
•Cannot be distilled to no more than 80% abv (160 proof).
•Must enter the cask at no more than 62.5% abv (125 proof).
•Has to be bottled at least 40% abv (80 proof).
There is not a mandated maturation, although straight bourbon must be aged for at least 2-years. If ‘Straight Bourbon’ is aged less than 4-years, it has to have an age statement on the label. Straight Bourbons without any age statement have been aged for at least 4-years.
Taste of Bourbon:
Bourbons generally have notes of spice, caramel, vanilla and to some degree sweetness which comes from the corn. There can also be secondary notes of tobacco, toffee, tannins, fruit and leather.
Types of Bourbon:
High Rye Bourbon is a Bourbon that cranks up the rye in the mash bill, which results in a spicier, more peppery flavor profile.
Wheated Bourbons drop the rye altogether in favor of non-traditional wheat. This imparts a softer flavor profile with boosted caramel and vanilla accents.
Small Batch Bourbon is actually a marketing term rather than a legally defined category. It simply means that bourbon in the bottle came from a limited number of whiskey casks as compared to standard production methods.
Straight Barrel Bourbon comes from just one single barrel. It’s not blended and has unique characters per barrel.
Angel’s Cut refers to the evaporation during the aging process.
Devil’s Cut refers to the bourbon that remains trapped inside the wood of the barrel after it’s been emptied.
What is the difference between Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon?
Bourbon is distilled but Tennessee Whiskey is filtered through sugar-maple charcoal.