In case you wanted to know what it takes for Whiskey to be called Bourbon ....

The Geeksultant's picture

Being a I.T. Consultant means you travel a lot. In my case, I've had the pleasure of ending up in Louisville and other areas of Kentucky on more than a few occasions. In turn, I've learned to like Bourbon. I am often asked by others, "What makes a Bourbon?" Well, here is some info on the subject.


Bourbon rules

1. It must be made in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't have to be made in Kentucky, although 95 percent of the world's supply is.

2. Aging must take place in a new, charred, oak barrel and must be aged for at least two years to be considered a straight bourbon.

Side note: Whiskey can be aged in used barrels and often is.

3. The grain mixture (mash) must be at least 51 percent corn.

4. Distilled at no higher than 160 proof.

5. Cannot enter the barrel at higher than 125 proof. It cannot enter the bottle at a proof less than 80.

6. Nothing can be added but water and only to lessen the proof when necessary. Other whiskeys do sometimes add color and flavor. Not bourbon, it must be au naturel.

Side note: all of those new flavored whiskeys, such as Honey, etc. Cannot be called bourbon. They are however, sometimes made with bourbon and the label must reflect that fact.

Side note: Whiskey made in areas outside of the United States is often spelled Whisky, such as the Suntori style Whiskys from Japan. Scottish called it Whisky and Irish call it Whiskey.

7. If a bourbon is aged over two, but less than 4 years, the label must disclose the actual age of the bourbon.

8. Regular Bourbon is usually mixed/blended from 250 or more barrels when bottled.

9. Small Batch - 25 or less barrels are used for blending

10. Single Barrel - Bourbon comes from a single barrel - no blending took place

Side note: All of the above, when blended and bottled, water is added to reduce the alcohol/proof of the Bourbon and to increase the volume

11. Barrel/Cask Strength - Bourbon is bottled at the proof it was put into the barrel, up to 125 proof (60/65 percent by volume)