View Full Version : Bourbon newbie...sort of
I've been drinking bourbon of various types since college, but never pondered what makes a bourbon a bourbon until recently. So I came here for enlightenment. What makes a bourbon, bourbon vs whiskey, sour mash etc. I guess I'm looking for a dictionary of sorts to help me sort out all the different drinks. Any help would be appreciated.
First, get Chuck's book Bourbon, Straight either directly from him, or Amazon.com, or your local bookstore. Also, see this site's FAQs:
StraightBourbon.com FAQs (http://www.straightbourbon.com/faq.html)
All bourbon is sour mash, meaning that each new 'batch' uses some setback -- a percentage of mash previously used -- to maintain continuity. It must be made from a mash of at least 51% corn, distilled to no more than 160 proof (80% abv), and entered into new, oak barrels (white oak is used, but is not specified) at no more than 125 proof. It must remain barreled for at least two years (this also makes it straight whiskey), and if dumped/bottled at less than 4 years, the age must be stated on the bourbon's label.
Only if distilled/bottled in KY (bourbon may be made anywhere in the U.S.) can it be labeled "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey".
All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon (e.g., light whiskey, diluted whiskey, rye whiskey, blended whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, flavored whiskey).
One thing to add. The new oak barrel must be charred on the inside.
Correct! Thank you, Mike.
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