Bourbon is a sort of whiskey that’s produced completely in the USA. It has particular rules that should be met for the product to be legally labelled as ‘bourbon’. So, what are these parameters? And what are the variations between bourbon vs. whiskey? Let’s break down the laws. 

All bourbon is whiskey…

In line with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, American whiskey is any whiskey produced, aged, and bottled in the USA that meets the next necessities: 

  • Comprised of a fermented mash of grain 
  • Distilled at not more than 190 proof (95% ABV) 
  • Made in such a way that the distillate possesses the style, aroma, and traits usually attributed to whiskey 
  • Saved in oak barrels (besides corn whiskey) 
  • No minimal time for storage/maturation 
  • Bottled at a minimal of 80 proof (40% ABV) 
  • Can embody mixtures of such distillates for which no particular requirements of id are prescribed
  • Doesn’t should be made in Kentucky (though most American whiskey is made in Kentucky) 
Kentucky is the biggest producer of bourbon and whiskey within the US.

…not all whiskey is bourbon 

The above rules are all-encompassing rules for American whiskey. There are quite a few various kinds of American whiskey together with bourbon, straight, blended, gentle, oat, rye, wheat, malt, rye malt, corn, and spirit. 

For readability, let’s focus simply on bourbon, straight bourbon whiskey, and bottled-in-bond straight bourbon whiskey. 

Bourbon, in keeping with the American Bourbon Association, should meet the next necessities: 

  • Comprised of a fermented mash that’s at the very least 51% corn
    • Different grains added will be rye, wheat, and malted barley 
  • Distilled at a most of 160 proof (80% ABV) 
  • Should be decanted into barrels at a most of 125 proof (62.5% ABV) 
  • No minimal ageing interval 
  • Should be matured in new charred oak barrels 
  • Should not comprise any components or colouring
  • Distilled, matured, and bottled in the USA 

To be labelled as ‘straight bourbon whiskey’, the bourbon should be aged for at least two years. 

For a bourbon to be labelled as ‘Bottled in Bond straight bourbon whiskey’, the whiskey should be distilled in a single season at one distillery (January-June or July-December). It should even be aged for at least 4 years and bottled at 100 proof. 

An image showing corn kernels. Corn grain must make up at least 51% of the mash used to make bourbon. An image showing corn kernels. Corn grain must make up at least 51% of the mash used to make bourbon.
The mash used to make bourbon should be at the very least 51% corn.

Different Varieties of American Whiskey 

As talked about above, there are quite a few sorts of American whiskey, most of that are recognized by the ingredient that makes up the vast majority of the mash utilized in distillation (rye, wheat, and so on…). These whiskies should meet the authorized necessities for American whiskey however needn’t meet the necessities for bourbon. Among the classes have their very own necessities as beneath: 

Blended whiskey 

  • A combination that incorporates a minimal of 20% straight whiskey or a mix of them 
  • Can embody innocent colouring, flavouring, or mixing supplies and/or impartial spirits 

Straight whiskey 

  • Could be produced from a fermented mash of lower than 51% of any grain (rye, wheat, malted barley, and malted rye) 
  • Should be aged for at least two years 

Gentle whiskey 

  • Distilled to a excessive ABV of greater than 80% to take away congeners and result in a lighter spirit 
  • Could be saved in used or uncharred new oak barrels 

Oat, Rye, Wheat, Malt, Rye Malt 

  • The mash should comprise at the very least 51% of the figuring out grain 
  • Crammed at a most of 120 proof in a brand new charred oak barrel 

Corn whiskey 

  • The mash should comprise at the very least 80% corn
  • Crammed at a most of 125 proof if saved in oak containers 
  • Should not be subjected to any ageing in new charred wooden 

Spirit whiskey 

  • A mixture of impartial spirits above 190 proof 
  • Will not be lower than 5% whiskey, straight whiskey, and whiskey mixed if the straight whiskey is lower than 20% 
  • Water is the one permitted additive 

Tennessee whiskey 

  • For extra data on Tennessee whiskey, click on here

Store American Whiskey & Bourbon 

Pappy Van Winkle is a Straight Bourbon whiskey. Sazerac is a rye whiskey.Pappy Van Winkle is a Straight Bourbon whiskey. Sazerac is a rye whiskey.
Pappy Van Winkle is bourbon. Sazerac is whiskey.

We now have a variety of American whiskeys accessible on the Mark Littler Store, together with Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year Old Family Reserves and Sazerac 1984 18 Year Olds. Store the gathering here.

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