Bourbon Whiskey

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Four Roses Bourbon

Bourbon is defined by the United States Title 27, Volume 1 as:

`Bourbon whisky', `rye whisky', `wheat whisky', `malt whisky', or `rye malt whisky' is whisky produced at not exceeding 160 deg. proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored at not more than 125 deg. proof in charred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of the same type.

Distilled spirits in which at least 51% of the sugar in the wash comes from corn and the distillate is aged in charred oak barrels.

Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

Bourbon is an American form of whisky, made from at least 51% but not more than 80% (maize in the Old World) (typically about 70%, with the remainder being wheat or rye, along with other grains), distilled to no more than 160 proof, and aged in new charred white oak barrels for at least two years (usually much longer). Most of the time it is then adjusted to 80-100 proof and bottled, although some are bottled at "cask strength." The name derives from Bourbon County, Kentucky, which was itself named after the French royal family at the time of the American Revolutionary War. A concurrent resolution of the U.S. Congress in 1964 restricted bourbon to U.S. production. Some stories about its origins there are not true, such as its purported invention by Baptist minister and distiller Elijah Craig. A refinement introduced by Scottish chemist Dr. James C. Crow was the sour mash process, by which each new fermentation is conditioned with some amount of spent beer (previously fermented mash that has been separated from its alcohol), in much the same way that sourdough bread is made from starter. The acid introduced by using the sour mash controls the growth of bacteria that could taint the whiskey. As of 2004, all straight bourbons use a sour mash process. Crow developed this refinement while working at the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery (now the Woodford Reserve Distillery) in Woodford County, Kentucky. Curiously, when thinking about bourbon, many people first think of the brand Jack Daniel's, which is of the similar Tennessee style, and not technically a bourbon because it goes through the Lincoln County Process. Almost all bourbons are distilled in Kentucky, and it is often said that only Kentucky whiskey can properly be called bourbon; this is, however, not true, as those few exceptions to the rule demonstrate. An act of US Congress in 1964 declared bourbon to be "America's Native Spirit," i.e. America's official drink.

Some modern bourbon distilleries and brands

Jim Beam Black Bourbon
  • Ancient Age - Kentucky
  • Ancient Age
  • Elmer T. Lee
  • Brown Forman - Kentucky
  • Old Forester
  • Early Times - Kentucky
  • Elijah Craig - Kentucky
  • Evan Williams - Kentucky
  • Ezra Brooks - Kentucky
  • Heaven Hill - Kentucky
  • Jim Beam - Kentucky
  • Jim Beam (and Beam's Choice)
  • Old Crow
  • Old Grand-Dad

Small Batch Collection

Basil Hayden Bourbon
  • Basil Hayden's
  • Booker's
  • Knob Creek
  • Baker's
  • Labrot & Graham
  • Woodford Reserve
  • Maker's Mark - Kentucky
  • Old Charter
  • Pernod Ricard (Austin Nichols division) - Kentucky
  • Wild Turkey
  • Rebel Yell
  • Seagram - Indiana
  • Sam Cougar
  • Ten High
  • Virginia Gentleman - Virginia