What makes bourbon whiskey different from other types of whiskey? Here are five qualities unique to bourbon.
1. Bourbon is unique to America.
It’s true – while there are plenty of other whiskey styles that hail from other countries, we Americans can brag that we live in the country that invented Bourbon. The law even states that for whiskey to be bottled and sold as Bourbon, it must be made here in the ‘States. So next Fourth of July, if you want to get ultra-patriotic, skip the deep fryer and grill up some bourbon chicken instead!
2. It is made from 51% corn.
Bourbon whiskey, by law, must contain 51% corn. This is in contrast to other whiskies which often use 65% to 75% corn.
3. Bourbon is always aged in new charred-oak barrels.
Because the character of a spirit depends on the barrels in which it has been aged, the traditional method to obtaining bourbon whiskey is to age the whiskey in new, charred-oak barrels for the perfect smoky taste. Oak barrels also infuse the whiskey with vanillin, a toasty flavor, wood sugars and the signature bourbon color.
4. The alcohol must be distilled to no more than 160 proof.
To be legally labeled and sold as bourbon whiskey, the spirit must be distilled to a maximum strength of 160 proof, then bottled at a strength of at least 80 proof. This is in contrast to other types of whiskey, which have a limit of no more than 190 proof. The lower limit ensures that bourbon whiskey keeps its characteristic smooth flavor.
5. It cannot contain any additives.
By law, bourbon is not allowed to contain any added colors, flavors, or blending agents. This law was put into place to protect the integrity and tradition of bourbon whiskey.
Now that you know a little bit more about bourbon whiskey, why not check out our collection of delicious True Kinship Bourbon Whiskey recipes!