Bourbon Defined

By / Photography By Bambi Edlund | April 05, 2017
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As an exclusive product of the United States, bourbon must be made with a minimum of 51% corn, be distilled no higher than 160 proof, aged in new charred oak barrels at no more than 125 proof, and bottled at no less than 80 proof. It has no minimum age statement and cannot contain additives other than water.

Bourbon Lingo

·       Mash: A mixture of cooked grain and water fermented with yeast

·       Distiller’s beer: Mash fermented to 8–10% alcohol

·       Low wines: Mash distilled once to about 40–60% alcohol

·       High wines: Low wines distilled a second time to 70–80% alcohol

·       White dog/new make: Clear distillate emerging from the still

·       Maturate: Barrel-aged whiskey bearing the classic amber-brown hue

·       Cooperage: Where wood barrels are made

·       Cooper: A barrel maker

·       Rick: A wooden or metal rack on which bourbon barrels rest while aging

·       Rickhouse/warehouse: A building in which bourbon is aged

Label Lingo

·       Kentucky bourbon: Bourbon distilled in Kentucky.

·       Straight bourbon: Bourbon aged a minimum of two years

·       Bottled-in-Bond: Whiskey distilled within a single distilling season, aged a minimum of four years in a government-bonded warehouse and bottled at 100 proof

·       Small batch: An undefined marketing term used by distillers to imply a limited number of barrels were selected for a particular batch

·       Single barrel: Bottles of bourbon drawn from just one barrel

·       Chill filtered: Spirits that are chilled to remove fatty acids, esters and proteins that can cloud the liquid at low temperatures. Non-chill filtration leaves those elements in the spirit in order to retain its body and mouthfeel.

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