Bourbon Comes From Kentucky…Right?
With so many other regional distinctions, like Champagne needing to be specifically from the Champagne region in France or Tequila needing to be made in Mexico, it seems natural to lump Bourbon into the mix, especially since traditionally it’s been so associated with Kentucky. And while this may be a common belief, Bourbon can actually be made anywhere in the US as long as it meets certain requirements (none of which have anything to do with Kentucky).
Put simply, a bourbon mash needs to consist of at least 51% corn, be distilled at no higher than 160 proof, be barreled at no higher than 125 proof and be barreled in a charred new American Oak Barrel. That’s certainly a mouthful, even without a Kentucky distinction, so let’s break it down!
Alright, Bourbon mashes. While the actual mash bill needs to consist of at least 51% corn, the rest is fairly open ended. Corn is often attributed with lending sweetness to whiskey, but barley can add a round nuttiness, wheat often lends a more…well, wheaty taste with notes of honey.Rye often brings a peppery, spicy note to whiskey and oats can add a creamy, grainy flavor. For us, the perfect blend consists of predominantly corn, with smaller amounts of barley, wheat and oats blended in. This special mash bill is what gives our Bourbon it’s unique flavor with subtle sweetness and softness while still being robust and flavorful.
Additionally, Bourbon needs to be distilled and bottled and certain proofs, which is fairly straightforward. This mostly in strength of the finished product: distill at too high of a proof and you’re dipping into vodka territory!
As required, we barrel age our bourbon in charred New American Oak barrels and bottle a blend of different ages: from 1-3 years, to taste.
And that’s it! That’s Bourbon! Further distinctions include “Straight Bourbon”, which requires at least two years in a barrel, and “Kentucky Straight Bourbon” does, in fact, need to be from Kentucky. But as it turns out, and contrary to popular belief, the Bourbon name lends itself to a lot of variation in region, mash bill and aging, which is what makes exploring different brands and distilleries so exciting! So…ya know…you should come try ours!