Monday, December 03, 2018

Legal Definition of Bourbon

In the Federal Regulations, is a legal definition of what can be called bourbon.  It must be made in the United States, it must be at least 51% corn, it must be aged in a new charred oak barrel, it can't be distilled to more than 160 proof, and can't go in the barrel at more than 125 proof, can't be bottled at less than 80 proof.  Yes, leave it to the lawyers to define everything.  

You can't make good whiskey from a poor quality distillate,  the secret to a good bourbon whiskey is a good product, aged to perfection.  The art is in the aging.  And like people, age matters. Most of the really good bourbons have aged for 10 to 15 years, some longer.  When a popular brand brags about aging for four long years, I laugh, I wouldn't clean a bird cage with a Jim Beam. Now there are ways to quicken the aging process, Jefferson has started aging a sea, loading the barrels into shipping containers and sending them on around the world voyages.  Aging - as in improvements in flavor - stops when the bourbon goes in the bottle.  

Aging away, in the windows above is the Blantons or Van Winkle of the future.  

Have you tried a 15 year old Bourbon?  


  1. Well as you know, I enjoy my various gins in my collection, but in the winter I do enjoy a good bourbon whiskey as a nightcap before bed. I have Knob Creek and Woodford Reserve. I have the slightest if these are good are not.

    1. Oh, David will be very happy to tell you. Got an hour to spare?

  2. One of my local friends has recently found a love for bourbon. Maybe I’ll join her. Jerry just asked her the other day what defines bourbon. She did well. But you did better!

  3. nope, not into bourbon. I stick to gin & vodka.

  4. I don't like the taste of any kind of whiskey, so no. I grow hair on my chest quite well, for a lady, without adding false stimulants. Rum is my mixer of choice.