5 Things (Perhaps) You Did Not Know About Bourbon
Over the last few years, I have fallen in love with Bourbon even more and for good reason. The sweet, spicy, vanilla and oak dominated profile not only works great with 2 cubes of ice but also in an Old Fashioned, my goto cocktail. Apart from having 51% of corn in the mash to distill Bourbon whiskey, the rest 49% allows producers to experiment and make their own distinctive styles, ranging from extra rye spiciness like Bulleit and Buffalo Trace to sweeter styles which use more wheat like Makers Mark.
Here are five facts which you may not know about Bourbon, go ahead and share it with your Scotch loving friends as well!
Bourbon can be made anywhere in the USA
Although majority of Bourbon whiskey production is in the Bourbon county and Kentucky, Bourbon can be made in other states as well. In 1964, the United States Congress recognized bourbon whiskey as a “distinctive product of the United States” by concurrent resolution.
No additional color can be added to Bourbon, something Single Malt Scotch cannot claim
Bourbon is heavily regulated
This may come as a surprise but whiskey production has to follow federal laws to be called a Bourbon. Bourbon has to be produced in the USA, made of a grain mix of at least 51% corn, without additives apart from water. Bourbon has to be aged in new, charred white oak barrels and aged for a minimum of 2 years to be called a Straight Bourbon.
Your favorite single malt Scotch got some help from Bourbon
If you love single malt Scotch and think not so highly about Bourbons, this one will come as a surprise. 90% of Single Malts in Scotland are aged in ex Bourbon barrels. Most well known distilleries in Scotland even have contracts with Bourbon producers for their used barrels. Dr Bill Lumsden, creator of whiskies at The Glenmorangie, who was one of the first to use ex Bourbon barrels for ageing Single Malt Scotch told me he visits oak forrest in the US regularly to ensure quality.
Jack Daniel’s is not a Bourbon
Jack Daniel’s whiskey goes through a process called charcoal mellowing, where every drop of whiskey is filtered from 10 feet of tightly packed maple wood charcoal. This mellows down the whiskey a bit and adds smoke flavors, making it a Tennessee whiskey.
During World War II, Bourbon distilleries made penicillin
Since penicillin is a by-product of fermentation, distilleries were a great option for producing penicillin in very large quantities. Bourbon distilleries were anyways suffering from prohibition and were retrofitted to make penicillin and fuel alcohol.