September is Nationwide Bourbon Heritage Month, which provides us an excuse to spend a full 30 days consuming bourbon, speaking about bourbon, and dipping into the ol’ mailbag to reply bourbon-related questions.
We’re usually requested concerning the variations between bourbon and whiskey, when the truth is that bourbon is whiskey. It’s only a explicit subset of the class, and one which’s ruled by a strict algorithm. Let’s focus on.
What Is Bourbon?
Fortunately, the checklist of issues it’s important to do on your whiskey to be thought-about bourbon is fairly simple. In keeping with the U.S. Federal Authorities, it should be:
Produced within the United StatesMade of a grain combination (mash) that’s no less than 51% cornAged in new, charred oak barrelsDistilled to not more than 160 proof (80% ABV)Entered into the barrel for getting old at not more than 125 proof (62.5% ABV)Bottled at a minimal of 80 proof (40% ABV)
In an effort to be thought-about a “straight” bourbon, it should be aged for at least two years, and comprise no added coloring, flavoring, or different spirits blended in.
That’s just about it. We’ve the strictest authorized necessities right here within the States, however elsewhere on the earth it’s form of a crapshoot. In most European nations, for instance, practically any whiskey produced within the US will be marketed as bourbon.
What Does “Bottled in Bond” Imply?
“Bottled in Bond” is a reasonably old-timey label affixed to bourbons that meet sure, barely extra particular necessities than these listed above. The time period comes from the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, which sought to manage high quality and stop the usage of adulterants in whiskey, a rampant follow on the time.
For a bourbon to be labeled as bottled in bond, it should be:
The product of 1 distillation season (January to December)The product of 1 distiller at one distilleryAged in a federally bonded warehouse (beneath authorities supervision) for no less than 4 yearsBottled at exactly 100 proof.
Whiskeys aside from bourbon—like rye whiskey, for instance—will also be bottled in bond, so long as they’re produced in america.
What Is Tennessee Whiskey?
Lastly, there’s an offshoot of bourbon that’s value mentioning right here: Tennessee whiskey. Tennessee whiskey practically all the time meets the authorized necessities to be labeled as bourbon, however resulting from a mixture of branding (Jack Daniels would by no means deign to name itself a bourbon) and state delight, it hardly ever is.
In keeping with Tennessee legislation, Tennessee whiskey should additionally bear one thing referred to as the “Lincoln County Course of” previous to coming into barrels for getting old. This entails filtering or steeping the whiskey in maple charcoal chips, a way initially developed by the Jack Daniels distillery. Whereas that is strictly enforced in-state, there’s no federal legislation that acknowledges Tennessee whiskey as its personal class.
So, there you might have it. Bourbon isn’t some mystical sort of booze that solely a choose few households in Kentucky could make—it’s simply American whiskey made largely from corn, and aged in new American oak barrels. Easy and scrumptious.
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