Bourbon is an American original—no wonder it has a special day in its honor. In 1964 Congress declared bourbon “American’s Native Spirit”, so for a distilled spirit to be labeled a bourbon, it has to be born in the U.S.A.
Most historians credit whiskey distiller Elijah Craig with creating the current flavor of bourbon. By charring the inside of a whiskey oak barrel to reuse it, he made the sweeter and smokier flavor that is popular today. Here are some bourbon basics:
- All bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon. At least 51% corn must be used before it’s bourbon.
- 95% of all bourbon is produced in Kentucky.
- Nothing can be added to bourbon in the distilling process except water. All the flavor comes from the charred oak barrels in which it ages.
- During the mandatory minimum two-year aging in the charred barrels, some bourbon is lost to evaporation and is known as “the angels’ share”.
- The bourbon that seeps into the barrel is “the devil’s share.”
- The charred oak barrels can only be used once for bourbon. Afterward, they are used to age Scotch and Irish whiskey, Canadian rye, tequila and even beer.
Whether you’re a bourbon beginner or an accomplished sipper, come in and let a Spec’s expert help you explore our bevy of bodacious bourbons!