The Essence of Bourbon: An Intro
Ah, bourbon. Just the word can summon images of comfortable leather armchairs, crackling fireplaces, and the rich, deep aroma of aged spirit wafting in the air. This drink, originally alchemized in the heartland of America, has become a worldwide symbol for class, tradition, and the warm comfort of good company. So, what is bourbon exactly? How did it rise to iconic status, and what separates it from other types of alcoholic beverages? That is precisely our quest in today’s journey through America’s native spirit.
The Birth of Bourbon: A History
Contrary to popular belief, bourbon has no established birth date. Its origins trace back to the 18th century when Europe was rife with conflict, and whisky from Scotland and Ireland was scarce. This gave American settlers, mostly in Kentucky, an entrepreneurial idea – to distill their own whiskey. The whiskey was later named ‘bourbon’ to pay tribute to Bourbon County in Kentucky where it was primarily distilled.
What Makes A Drink Bourbon?
Bourbon, despite its rich and complex flavor, has surprisingly simple legal requirements: it must be produced in the United States, made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn, aged in new, charred oak containers, distilled to no more than 160 proof, and entered into the barrel for aging at no more than 125 proof.
Among the distinctive attributes of bourbon is the requirement that it must be aged for at least two years. If it’s under four years, the duration of aging must be specified on the label. However, most premium bourbons are aged from four to ten years.
Types of Bourbon
Just like wine, there are various types of bourbon you can enjoy based on your preference. These types are primarily based upon ageing, mash ingredients, and proof.
This is bourbon in its purest form. Straight bourbon has been aged at least two years in new charred oak barrels and has no added colors, flavors, or other spirits. If straight bourbon has been aged for less than four years, its label must indicate the duration.
If you’re craving for a variety of tastes, blended bourbon should be your go-to. This type of bourbon is a blend of straight bourbon and other spirits, creating a unique taste every time.
Bourbon Today: A Wide-Range Spirit
These days bourbon is celebrated and savored worldwide, and its value has only been on the steeper rise as time passes. Bourbon brands are never-ending, and the market is ever-evolving. From Wild Turkey, Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Four Roses to Buffalo Trace, the bourbon market offers a plethora of choices to its audience.
The Art of Savoring Bourbon
Enjoying bourbon is an art. Some prefer it neat, some on the rocks, and others as the base in a cocktail. Remember, there’s no wrong way to sip this divine drink. So, whether you plan to enjoy its richness sitting by a campfire under the starry night or in a high-end bar suited up, bourbon is always there for you, as it has been for centuries. Enjoy every drop of it, and always drink responsibly.