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  1. #1
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    How do you answer \"what is bourbon, anyway\"

    Most of my friends know I'm a fanatic for bourbon so they've already heard the LONG version. And on a good night, we can go on and on for hours.

    But sometimes I'm asked by a new acquaintance "what exactly is bourbon, anyways". I don't want to give them the long story in an effort not to become the bore of the party. I know how I answer the question, but I'm curious how you cover the topic, in two sentences or less.

  2. #2
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    Re: How do you answer \"what is bourbon, anyway\"

    Well, unless they are from Mars or something I take it for granted they know its alcohol and all that. So I basically tell them its made from 3 grains; corn, rye (or wheat) and barley malt which is turned into a mash, fermented and then distilled. It is aged in new white oak barrels that have been charred which is gives bourbon its unique color and characteristics. That's about it... Sometimes I throw in how JD is NOT bourbon and I throw in a bad wrap about scotch but since that would be 3 lines, it doesnt count here.

  3. #3
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    Re: How do you answer \"what is bourbon, anyway\"

    I find that when people want a very short answer to something, especially
    with a "what is..." question, they don't really want to know why bourbon
    A is different than bourbon B. They want to know why bourbon is different
    than, say, chardonnay. So forget all about rye vs. wheat mashbills.

    When I first asked myself "what is bourbon?", I had no idea what the
    definition of whiskey was! New charred oak barrels or used barrels?
    Forget about it! Just the fact that it was aged in barrels at all
    was news to me! I thought bourbon might have red wine it! Or maybe
    it was flavored like gin by soaking herbs and spices in it... I was
    clueless.

    So I answer as follows:
    Bourbon is American whiskey. You ferment up grains like corn and rye, distill
    it, and then it's aged to perfection in oak barrels.

    Tim Dellinger

  4. #4

    Re: How do you answer \"what is bourbon, anyway\"

    Well, unless they are from Mars or something I take it for granted they know its alcohol and all that. So I basically tell them its made from 3 grains; corn, rye (or wheat) and barley malt which is turned into a mash, fermented and then distilled. It is aged in white oak barrels that have been charred which is gives bourbon its unique color and characteristics. That's about it... Sometimes I throw in how JD is NOT bourbon and I throw in a bad wrap about scotch but since that would be 3 lines, it doesnt count here.
    I'm curious about that bad wrap against scotch. What bad things would you say about it?

  5. #5
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    Re: How do you answer \"what is bourbon, anyway\"

    ohhhhhh... you may not want to go there

  6. #6
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    Re: How do you answer \"what is bourbon, anyway\"

    Dave, in addition to the fine advice given here you might want to point out that is the official U.S. whiskey/spirit and the only spirit that uses new white oak -- then charred.

    But agreed if you go overboard they think you are being a wise guy and that you've told them how a watch works when they only wanted the time.


    "America's true spirit distilled from corn & other grains and aged in charred, new white oak barrels for at least four years" probably will do.


  7. #7
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    Re: How do you answer \"what is bourbon, anyway\"

    I also like to add that its pureness is protected by law in that it cannot contain additives nor flavourings... but that always takes me into my third sentence!

  8. #8

    Re: How do you answer \"what is bourbon, anyway\"

    Well, if I've already had a drink, and am feeling a bit lyrical, I might describe it something like:
    Bourbon is a warm friend for a cool night, or a cool drink for a warm friend.

    Fortunately, I never drink that much and don't get lyrical often.

  9. #9
    Administrator in exile
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    Re: How do you answer \"what is bourbon, anyway\"

    How about: "Bourbon, it's what's for dinner"

  10. #10
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    Re: How do you answer \"what is bourbon, anyway\"

    "Bourbon, it's what's for dinner"
    Good one. For me it's the appetizer and then straight to dessert.

 

 

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