Alcohol Education: 10 Mandatory Facts to Know About Bourbons
Photo: Paul Grossmann/Tetra Images (Getty Images)
When it comes to whiskey, we spend a lot of time imbibing Scotch, rye, and even Japanese whiskey. But there’s no whiskey that takes up more of our drinking time than bourbon. This truly American corn-based spirit is just as well-suited for slow sipping on a back porch on a crisp fall evening as it is mixed into an Old-Fashioned or whiskey sour.
But, while we enjoy the flavor, what do we actually know about this corn-fueled spirit? We did some digging and found a few, interesting facts about America’s “Native Spirit.” Check them all out below while you sip on a glass of Buffalo Trace or Jim Beam.
Screw You, Pumpkin Spice: 12 Kick-Ass Fall Beers For Fall With Zero Hints of Pumpkin
Bourbon was born in Kentucky but doesn’t need to be made there.
While bourbon was created in Kentucky, it doesn’t need to be made there. It does need to be made in the U.S. and distilleries in New York, Texas, and even Iowa are crafting high-quality bourbons.
Most bourbon is made in Kentucky.
While bourbon can be made anywhere in the U.S., 95 percent of the juice is still made in the Bluegrass State. That’s where iconic distillers like Four Roses, Woodford Reserve, and Maker’s Mark are situated.
Bourbon barrels can only be used once.
According to regulations, bourbon needs to be aged in new, charred oak casks. Once the whiskey is done aging, it can’t be used again. That’s why you see so many Scotch whiskies (and other whiskey styles) aged in ex-bourbon barrels.
No bourbon was produced in Bourbon County until 2014.
After Prohibition, the county that would seem like the epicenter of corn-based whiskey remained free of distilling until Hartfield & Co. opened in 2014.
The name comes from a royal family.
The House of Bourbon might sound like a fake family in a drunk version of Lord of the Rings, but it was actually a French royal family in the 16th century.
Bourbon is chock full of corn.
There’s a reason that you imagine bourbon to be sweeter than other whiskeys. That’s because its mashbill must be made up of a minimum of 51 percent corn.
There's more than high proof on your bonded bourbon.
Back in 1897, in order to protect the integrity of bourbon, congress passed the Bottled in Bond Act which stipulated that the bonded whiskey is made by one distiller, during one distillation season, stored in a federally bonded warehouse for at least four years, and bottled at 100 proof.
Bourbon was invented in 1789.
Legend says that bourbon was invented by Elijah Craig (whiskey fans should recognize that name) in 1789 when he decided to age corn whiskey in charred oak barrels.
Bourbon is America's native spirit.
Congress declared bourbon as America’s “Native Spirit” back in 1964. This has never wavered even though many people believe that applejack or rye should actually carry the moniker.
While bourbon is referred to as “whiskey” there are brands that drop the ‘e.’
One well-known brand that refuses to use the word “whiskey” is Maker’s Mark. Take a look at the bottle and you’ll plainly see the word “whisky” instead. The distillery does this to pay homage to its Scottish ancestry.
RANKED! The Mandatory 10 Best IPAs
Visit the Mandatory Shop for great deals on your very own Mandatory merch.