Updated: Mar 11
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
American alcoholic beverage will indicate their alcohol content in Proof rather than ABV.
The proof is the ethyl alcohol content of a liquid at 60 degrees Fahrenheit, is stated as twice the percentage of ethyl alcohol by volume. Ex. 80 Proof = 40% ABV.
Another thing we notice on whiskey labels is words that sometimes refer to a specific method of production, such as Sour Mash Whiskey or Small Batch Whiskey, however, those definitions of whiskey are not regulated by the federal government and are often used as a marketing tool.
Along those words, we may find Limited Edition which usually refers to an expression of the brand released in limited quantity, and often involve a Special Finished Whiskey or a Single barrel. The beauty of Special Finish Whiskey is that the liquid spends a period of time in a second cask, often after being aged for two or four years in a virgin charred oak barrel. This barrel leaves a unique flavor to the whiskey depending on the liquid previously aged in that barrel. However, the federal government doesn't recognize anymore this category as part of spends class Whisky, and is now considered a DDS ( Distilled Spirits Specialty).
Minimum age for American whiskey
Overall the rule of age statement for American whiskey is quite simple. If it’s straight is at least 2 years, if it’s not, it’s at least 4 years unless it is declared otherwise. But for Bourbon, it’s a bit more complicated.
How to read a bourbon’s label and age statement.
Bourbon (as well as Tennessee whiskey and Straight American whiskey) is exclusive to the United States. But Bourbon is also the only whiskey in the world when nothing but water is allowed into the final product, no colorant, no flavoring.
The majority of Bourbon production is in the state of Kentucky, but we can make bourbon anywhere in the US. However, special rules apply if we mentioned Kentucky on the label.
It’s not so common to find a bottle of Bourbon aged for less than one year and even less to see a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon aged for less than four. But it is possible, especially as a distillery exclusive. One of the most delicious Kentucky Bourbon I have on my shelf has been aged for just 17 months and in a quarter cask charred at level 3, but it was only available at the Limestone Branch Distillery.
What is the most memorable Bourbon or Rye you ever tried?
It is straight? What's your opinion on colorants and blending materials?
Let me know with a comment below and subscribe for an update on my next topic.