The spirit of the new world
The whiskey variant bourbon belongs to the American culture like weapons, cheeseburgers or incredibly large shopping malls. No wonder, as bourbon is the only local spirit in America. As early as 1964, the Code of Federal Regulations established what constitutes a bourbon. Rules that ensure and maintain the uniqueness of American whiskey to this day. Unlike scotch, which is based on barley, at least 51% corn forms the basis of the mash for the bourbon. In addition, rye, barley or wheat is added and mixed with pure water from the Kentucky rivers, so that at the beginning of storage in new and charred barrels of American white oak, a requirement to support the forestry industry, the alcohol content is 62.5% vol. Sealed and hidden in the storage halls of the distilleries, maturing begins. For at least 2 years, while some barrels have been waiting to be opened for decades. And as barrels pile up more and more to absorb more color and aroma from the oak, Kentucky alone is home to about 6.7 million barrels of maturing bourbons - more than people live in Kentucky.
Classification of Bourbon Whiskey
Although the specifications for a bourbon are strict and irrevocable, the distilleries still have room for an incomparable style. The minimum amount of corn is often far exceeded, 65 to 75% are more common. Moreover, the bourbon feeds itself through the barrel as it matures for years. Every single barrel gives the spirit a unique taste. This alone results in two styles of bourbon.
The small batch is a combination of a few barrels to achieve a consistent taste. The single barrel, on the other hand, is a bourbon made from a single barrel and therefore has a different taste, barrel by barrel.
Bourbon is also classified into four categories.
- Straight Bourbon: Pure and determined. The Straight Bourbon is free of any additives and requires at least 2 years storage.
- Bonded Bourbon: This bourbon must come from a single distillery and a vintage and is aged for 4 years in oak barrels.
- Tennessee Whiskey: Originates from the state of Tennessee and is filtered by charcoal during production.
- Kentucky Straight Bourbon: Must be from the state of Kentucky and requires at least 1 year in oak barrels.
As you can see, not every bourbon is the same, but the production of every bourbon is basically the same. Technology may have changed in recent decades, but the procedure has always remained true to itself.
Making a Bourbon
In the process of making bourbon, many small wheels interlock. Simply explained, the process begins with the grinding of the corn, which is then brought to the boil in filtered water. Once the mixture has cooled down again, the remaining grains are milled and mixed with the yeast. Then 2 to 3 distillation processes follow, during which the alcohol produced is extracted from the liquid. What remains is a clear tincture with high alcohol content. This is mixed with filtered water to achieve an alcohol content of 62.5% vol. Now the bourbon is filled into wooden barrels and sealed. The barrels must be brand new barrels made of American white oak. Over years of storage the bourbon gets its colour and aromas of the barrel and after about 2 years the bourbon is ready, finds its way into the bottle and thus to you.
What is bourbon?
Bourbon is an American whiskey variety, which is mainly made from maize and matures for several years in new charred barrels.
How do you drink bourbon?
There is no universal way to drink or serve bourbon. For a pronounced aroma, it is recommended to savour the bourbon warm or at room temperature. Connoisseurs will also drink the Bourbon neat, in other words pure, or tickle out the flavours of the spirit drink with a dash of water. Ice cubes are often taboo for whiskey connoisseurs as well as in bars, but they are of course indispensable as a component of long drinks. But in the end it's up to you. You decide whether with or without ice, chilled or warm, in the Nosing glass or out of the boot. Allowed is what tastes good.
How long can you store bourbon?
Even bottled bourbon has an almost infinite shelf life, improper storage can lead to a loss of flavours and taste. Bourbon should always be stored upright, dark, cool and dry. In addition, the quality of the bourbon can be prolonged by bringing it into contact with as little oxygen as possible. A wine pump or a smaller bottle can help to keep an open bottle of bourbon for up to a year.
Where does the name Bourbon come from?
That's what the bourbon aficionados are arguing about. One theory says that the name comes from the historical notion of Bourbon Country, a district in the middle of the state of Kentucky. This district was named after the French noble house Bourbon, as a thank you for their support in the American War of Independence.
Another possibility of naming refers to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, where the Kentucky Whiskey was available to a large group of drinkers, which learned to love the whiskey from Bourbon Street.
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