Bourbon is a very popular whiskey option that is available in many different countries around the world. If you’re a true alcohol connoisseur, chances are that you’ve drunk a bottle of bourbon whiskey before however. With that being said, you may have been unaware of all the steps involved with making bourbon prior to it being bottled.
Bourbon is a very unique liquor that requires the use of specialized production methods in order to properly create the right formula for any bourbon option that you may select out on the market. All of the steps involved with making bourbon will have a direct impact on its overall taste and flavor profile so it’s important that you know what everything means as it related to the bourbon whiskey world.
There are a lot of different bourbon options available on the market however they all vary in terms of where they were bottled and how they were produced which is why you need to become informed about all these various factors prior to going out to purchase a bottle of bourbon whiskey.
When it comes to choosing the right bourbon whiskey option, you have to take the right amount of time in order to analyze and gauge how well a particular bourbon selection is or will be. Bourbon comes in all types of flavor profiles and tastes so it’s important that you pay attention to all of these key factors before making a final purchase decision.
The type of bottle that it’s in, it’s color, the smell, and a lot more will give you clues as to how high of a quality a particular bourbon selection is. Reading these key signals will allow you to find out which bourbon option is best for you before making a final purchase decision.
Every bourbon whiskey selection on the market is made using a different combination of elements including corn and wheat just to name a few. All of these elements and the exact percentage of them present in any particular bourbon whiskey mix will play a major role in the overall taste and flavor of the particular bourbon that you select.
All of these various factors should be paid attention to before making a final purchase of any specific bourbon option out on the market right now. In order to make sure you’re making the right purchase decision; you should always look for the tell signs of a high-quality bourbon whiskey selection to ensure that you’re making the right choice.
If you’re someone that is looking for a premium bourbon whiskey selection but have been having trouble finding the right bottle for you, today is your lucky day. In this guide, we’re going to provide you with an in-depth look at all of the various factors that you should pay attention to before buying any bottle of bourbon whiskey. Make sure that you read this entire guide in full to ensure that you select the perfect bottle of bourbon whiskey to suit your particular needs.
We’ll cover all of the most important factors that you must consider so you’ll be able to confidently shop for the right bot.tle of bourbon whiskey. By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to shop for the perfect bottle of bourbon whiskey without a problem. In the following section, we’re going to look at some of the core ingredients and elements that go into making a premium bourbon whiskey selection so make sure that you read it in full.
Core Elements: What’s in Bourbon Whiskey?
Bourbon /40% ABV / Kentucky, United States
Jim Beam is the world's best-selling bourbon. From Tokyo to London to Louisville, Jim Beam sets the benchmark for what a bourbon should be, aged twice as long as required by law for a flavor that's unlike any other.
Every premium bourbon whiskey selection is made up of a few key ingredients, these ingredients may vary in specific type, color, effect, and more that is introduces to the bourbon however they all produce the same similar alcoholic fluid. All of the elements that are about to be described will have a huge impact on the resulting taste and flavor of the particular bourbon whiskey selection that you choose.
There are several different methods used in the production of whiskey varieties all of which have an impact on the overall taste and flavor profile that you receive from any given whiskey selection. If you’re new to the world of whiskey, there are a lot of terms and slang phrases that you’ll want to get familiar with if you plan on becoming an expert at picking out premium bourbon selections.
The varying ingredients in every whiskey selection are what makes them separate from one another which is why bourbon whiskey is such as popular drink with so many people. Whiskey comes in various different forms all of which center around the basic way that it is created, fermented, and stored.
Depending on the type of whiskey variety that you purchase, below, we’re going to go through a list of some of the most commonly used terms when in reference to whiskey so that you know what to look for and what certain terminology means when you begin shopping for premium whiskey varieties.
Let’s begin looking at some of the core elements that make up any bourbon whiskey selection out on the market.
Rye is one of the most important ingredients in any bourbon whiskey selection that you choose. Rye usually makes up about 10% of any bourbon selection and it adds the essential flavors needed for any bourbon whiskey variety to pop. The rye used in any particular bourbon whiskey mix is typically harvested from local area farms and other sources near the distillery facility.
Depending on the type of bourbon whiskey selection that you buy, each rye type will add a different flavor to the drink overall. Some bourbon whiskey producers even up the percentage of rye that is in any particular bourbon whiskey by increasing the base percentage from 10% to about 30, 50%.
Wheat is also another very important ingredient in bourbon whiskey and it plays a major role in the fermentation process of the liquid which ultimately produced the alcohol we consume. Without wheat, no bourbon whiskey is complete so it’s important that you understand and know the wheat content of any selection that you choose.
Some bourbon whiskey distillers even go as far as using wheat as the secondary ingredient in their overall bourbon mash so that it gives the resulting bottle of bourbon a more spicy and floral taste. Bourbon whiskey selections that use whiskey as the primary secondary ingredient also tend to have more of a nutty and delicate hint on the tongue.
Corn is one of the other most important factors when it comes to determining the overall quality and taste of a particular bourbon whiskey. Corn is used to making bourbon, quite literally, this is because in order for any bourbon whiskey selection to be legally considered “bourbon” it must contain at least 51% corn within the given mixture.
Corn also adds a very pleasant sweet taste to the overall flavor profile of the end bourbon whiskey option that you decide to drink. By paying attention to the core contents of your selected bourbon whiskey option.
Now that you know a little bit more about the various ingredients used in the production of bourbon whiskey, it’s time to look at some of the various types of bourbon whiskey options that are out on the market.
We’re going to go into detail about these various bourbon whiskey types so that you can make the right decision about which one is right for you. Take some time to review these following sections in full so that you know exactly what to look for when shopping for a bourbon whiskey that is perfect for you.
Different types of Bourbon Whiskey Selections
There are a lot of different ways that bourbon whiskey is distilled all of which provide a distinct flavor and taste to the final whiskey product that you consume. All of these various types of distillation methods which are used to create all of the bourbon whiskey options out on the market create a certain type of flavor profile and taste that you’ll notice as soon as you open and take a drink of your whiskey.
Make sure that you read this entire following section in full to fully comprehend how you should go about choosing a bourbon whiskey selection that is perfect for you.
When you hear the term single barrel in reference to bourbon whiskey, it refers to the distillation process used in a particular bottle of whiskey. Single bottle bourbon whiskey options are only distilled in one barrel which adds a bold and unique flavor special to the specific type of barrel used in the fermentation and production process of the whiskey in question.
The size of the wood chunks in the barrels used during the creation process of a particular whiskey variety, the conditions in which the barrels are stored, and a lot of other factors will impact the overall flavor profile of your selected bourbon whiskey option.
There are various types of barrels used in the production of bourbon whiskey all varying in size and material. The varying materials used in the process of making bourbon whiskey will have an impact on the final flavor and taste profile of your selected bourbon whiskey option. That’s why it’s so important for you to pay attention to these elements before making a decision on which bourbon whiskey variety is best for you.
Bourbon whiskey varieties are known across the world for their flavorful combination of different natural elements and their unique distillation process. The cask strength of your particular bourbon whiskey selection will ultimately determine its overall alcohol content so this is a very important element to look at.
Before any bottle of whiskey makes it to the shelf, it has to be diluted with water in order to reduce the typical 125 proof content that many whiskey options contain. The higher the cask strength that a particular bourbon whiskey option has, the more powerful it will be overall. Cask strength plays a very large role in the overall taste and flavor profile of your intended bourbon whiskey selection.
Straight Bourbon Whiskey
In order for a whiskey product to qualify as straight bourbon whiskey, it must be stored in new charred oak barrels for at least two years or more. Straight bourbon whiskey can contain two or more mixtures of straight bourbon whiskey varieties which can add to the overall flavor profile and taste of the whiskey.
All of the whiskey varieties used in the production of straight bourbon whiskey must be distilled and produced by distillers that are located in the same state. Once a whiskey goes through all of these processes, it can be legally considered a straight bourbon whiskey.
In order for a whiskey to qualify as a bourbon whiskey, it must be produced in the United States and not exceed a total alcohol volume of at least 80 percent which is 160 proof. The whiskey must also be fermented from a mash that uses at least 51% corn; the whiskey must also be stored at 62.5 percent alcohol content in new charred oak barrels.
Sour mash is a term used in whiskey production that references the used of pre-fermented mash that comes from a previously distilling season which is then used in the fermentation and production of a new whiskey batch. The process is very beneficial in the fermentation and production of whiskey because it helps to prevent the growth of wild yeast in the new batch of whiskey, it also helps reduce the odds of infection inside of the new whiskey batch.
Now it’s time to get to the really good stuff about bourbon whiskey, how it’s made. In the following section, we’re going to break down the entire process involved with creating, producing, and bottling every type of whiskey that you see on store shelves. We’ll cover every single aspect of the process from start to finish so that you can begin to develop a better understanding of what whiskey is and how it is produced.
How It’s made: Bourbon Whiskey
Bourbon whiskey is produced through a very delicate process of refining and restraining. It all begins with the bourbon whiskey being scouted for the right type of grains which should be used in the mash bill of the entire whiskey option. Bourbon whiskey also goes through many other processes and a lot of other ingredients are added before the bourbon is officially ready to be bottled and sold.
By the end of this section, you’re going to know a lot more about how bourbon whiskey is made and how each distillery adds certain elements to the overall flavor profile of your drink selection.
To start making bourbon whiskey, you must first harvest grains, corn, wheat, rye, and a lot more. All of these natural grains and plants vary in terms of flavor and taste due to the various regions and locations in which they are grown.
Bourbon whiskey must contain at least 51% corn before it can be legally sold as whiskey however many distillers use contents of up to 70% corn in some of their mash bill for whiskey. Once the mixture is of wheat, corn, and rye is gathered, it’s time to add water to the overall mash in order to begin producing the beginning stages of what is known as bourbon whiskey.
Water from local rivers and other water sources near the distillery location are used and combined to the overall wheat mixture so that it can be cooked at a later date. Natural spring water is typically added to the overall mash bill mixture of the bourbon whiskey in question and then it is processed in cooking.
Step 2 of making bourbon whiskey involved combining water and the mash bill you’ve created into what is known as a grain cooker. Once the grain mash is put into the grain cooker, it will be cooked at approximately 30mins depending on the specific type of bourbon whiskey being made.
During the cooking process, all of the grains and wheat combinations added to the initial bourbon whiskey mix will begin to germinate creating sugar which will be a critical factor in the fermentation process later on in this article. The amount of time that a particular grain mash cooks will be determined by the distiller so it varies by the bottle, however, each grain mash is carefully watched in order to ensure that it is cooked to perfection.
There are various different types of yeast options available out on the market all of which add their own unique taste and overall flavor profile to whatever whiskey selection you’re consuming.
The specific type of yeast used in the production of the whiskey selection that you decide to drink will play a huge role in how the end resulting bourbon will taste. Yeast is such an important element to the bourbon whiskey making process that some distillers have gone as far as filing patents for their isolated yeast types. Once the yeast is ready, it’s time to begin the fermentation process of your selected bourbon whiskey option.
After the bourbon mash is cooked and heated up, it will then be cooled down to about 86 degrees Fahrenheit so that the fermentation process can begin. Before the fermentation process begins, stillage is then added to the bourbon whiskey mash for extra flavor.
Fermentation drums can vary in size from large to giant depending on the size of the whiskey batch being created. While the size of the fermenting batch can have an impact on its overall flavor, it won’t be very noticeable to the novice whiskey drinker. Once the fermentation process is complete, it’s time for the resulting fluid to be distilled.
Distillation stills and columns are used to purify the fermented liquid mentioned in the previous step. The specific temperature of the liquid being fermented will vary by distiller and the specific process by which the bourbon whiskey is being made.
The entire distillation process works to separate the alcohol contents from the rest of the fluids contained in the mixture so depending on the proof content and alcohol level that the distiller is aiming for, this process will and can vary in length. Most whiskey distillation stills are made using copper so the entire process works a lot smoother and is a lot more refined than other selections out on the market.
This is the step in which all of those wonderful flavors from the grains used will come out and really make themselves known in your selected bourbon whiskey option. Now that the distillation process is finished, it’s time for the mash to be turned into a sour mash.
Bourbon whiskey that is produced today typically goes through a process known as sour mash. This process takes the residual whiskey mash byproduct left from the distillation then adds it to the newly distilled mix. This process typically adds a little extra flavor and taste to the overall whiskey selection that you choose.
The pH balance within the natural spring water added to the mix gives is a refined and fresh taste. Once the entire fermentation and production process is finished, it’s time for the whiskey to be aged and placed in barrels.
The type of wood and other material used in the construction of the barrels that your whiskey selection will be placed in can vary depending on the distillery. Most distilleries use white oak for their bourbon whiskey barrels and before the bourbon whiskey solution is placed into the barrels, the barrels are first toast with fire.
This brings out the flavors buried within the wood material that the barrels are made out of. Once the bourbon whiskey is placed inside of the barrels, it will sit for a predetermined amount of time set by the distiller. This process is known as aging and it helps further infuse the natural oak, wheat, rye, corn, and yeast flavors used in the production stage into the final bourbon whiskey product.
Now that you know how bourbon whiskey is made, it’s time to give you some of our top recommended bourbon whiskey options available on the market for purchase today.
Top Bourbon Whiskey Recommendations
All of the various bourbon whiskey recommendations listed below will vary in terms of flavor and taste. Each bourbon whiskey selection listed below will be different so use all of the information included previously in this article to help you make the right decision about which bourbon whiskey selection is best for you. We’re going to cover each recommendation in full so make sure that you pay attention to all of the information.
70cl / 43%
The extra aged version of Evan Williams's solid sipping whiskey, one of the biggest sellers in the USA behind the similar looking Old No. 7.
Evan Williams Black Label bourbon whiskey is a finely crafted and selected bourbon whiskey option that is packed with tons of unique flavors. This whiskey contains hints of brown sugar and caramel which add nice sensual tones and notes to the whiskey. In addition, the whiskey also tastes of vanilla and nutmeg which add balance to the overall bold and powerful tone to the bottle itself.
Evan Williams Black Label is probably one of the most popular bourbon whiskey options out on the market right now and it comes at a very affordable price tag that people also love. If you’re in the market for a premium bourbon whiskey selection, this is the perfect option for you. Price: $11.99
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2. Heaven Hill 6yr Old Green Label
Heaven Hill 6yr Old Green Label bourbon whiskey comes packing an 80-proof label which is quite high so it’s perfect for those looking to get a little more than tipsy. This bourbon whiskey comes with notes of oak tannins and corn that add a nice branded fresh flavor profile to the overall whiskey.
Heaven Hill 6yr Old Green Label bourbon whiskey is also infused with vanilla and corn that add a nice branded and fresh taste to the overall mix. It also comes with brown sugar and caramel that adds a nice sweet flavor to the whiskey which is great for those who are looking for a well-rounded bourbon whiskey selection.
Heaven Hill 6yr Old Green Label is the perfect bourbon whiskey selection for those who want a nice and well-balanced whiskey selection that is rather cheap. Price: $9.99
Larceny Bourbon is an incredibly crafted bourbon whiskey selection that comes with a bold taste which is sweet yet subtle. Larceny Bourbon has a lot of hints of premium wheat and a lot of butterscotch in its mix so it has a nice sweet and tended taste that will hit your pallet perfectly.
This bourbon whiskey also contains hints of toffee so you’ll experience a full range of flavors when drinking it. Larceny Bourbon is the perfect rounded bourbon whiskey blend that comes complete with a great tasting flavor profile. Price: $20.99
Find here the best Bourdon Brands for old fashioned here.
Other brands and bottles to consider:
Find the best brands and bourbon comparisons here:
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FAQs About Bourbon
Yes it is. If you just started experimenting with whiskey and bourbon, you should know that whiskey has a strong and complex flavor, whereas bourbon is softer and has different flavorful composition.
Drinking bourbon in moderate amounts is very healthy for you, and instead of drinking beer which is high in calories, it’s best if you opt for bourbon which has no fats and is low in carbs.
Yes and no. If you mix it up with juices and other sugarish liqueurs, you can gain weight. On the contrary, if you drink it plain or with ice, you are going to be fine, as the alcohol gets processed and eliminated from the body
All of the information included in this article will help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing the perfect bourbon whiskey selection for your specific taste buds.
As long as you follow all of these tips and tricks, you should have no problem picking out the right bourbon whiskey selection that you’ll love regardless of how many options are in front of you. Now that you know everything you need to know about bourbon whiskey, you can purchase the perfect bottle for yourself today.