IS BOURBON A TYPE OF WHISKEY?
IS BOURBON A TYPE OF WHISKEY?
Yes! Whiskey (or whisky, if you’re anywhere besides the United States and Ireland) is the generic term for any distilled spirit made from fermented grain and aged in oak barrels.
There are many, many different types of whiskey, including bourbon, rye whiskey, Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, Japanese whisky, Canadian whisky, and American single malt, to name just a few. Each variety has its own requirements, including the kind of grain it can be made from, where and how it’s distilled, and how long it must be aged.
Bourbon is perhaps the most famous type of American whiskey. It must be made in the United States from a mash bill of at least 51 percent corn. The remainder can be any grain, but in practice it’s usually malted barley and then either wheat or rye.
After fermentation, bourbon must be distilled to no higher than 160 proof. This ensures that the new make spirit retains some grain character. There are no rules about the kind of still bourbon makers can use: pot stills, column stills, and hybrid stills are all fair game.
What there are rules about is maturation. All bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels, and it must go into those barrels at 125 proof or less. There’s no time requirement for aging regular bourbon, but straight bourbon whiskey must be aged for a minimum of two years. Finally, all bourbon must be bottled at no lower than 80 proof, or 40% alcohol by volume.
WHAT BOURBON MEANS TO BARRELL
Barrell Craft Spirits is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, one of the nation’s bourbon epicenters. We obviously adore the stuff. While it’s not the only thing we blend and bottle, bourbon is the focus of our small batch program, and comprises the core of the blending stocks that go into our limited-edition releases.
Our philosophy is that drinking Barrell should be as close as you can get to tasting bourbon straight out of the cask. Everything we make is released at cask strength, without chill filtration, to preserve as much rich flavor as possible.
Ready to taste it for yourself? Here are a few ideas about where to start:
The latest release in our small batch series, Barrell Bourbon Batch 031 is made up of six, seven, 10, 15, and 16-year-old barrels from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. It’s bottled at 111.2 proof. Just right for sweater weather, it dishes up festive flavors of shortbread cookie, pumpkin pie, peppermint, and pine layered over sweet pomegranate and orange.
Inspired by our founders’ memories of vacations in the rural Northeast, Armida is all about the many dimensions of orchard fruits. It’s a blend of straight bourbon whiskeys finished separately in Jamaican rum, Sicilian amaro, and pear brandy casks. Layers of ripe fruit, resinous herbs, and rich molasses give Armida incredible depth.
Ready to take it to the next level? The latest Barrell Gray Label Bourbon is a blend of fifteen-year-old bourbons distilled and aged in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Bottled at a cask strength of just over 100 proof, it’s a remarkably dense bourbon with concentrated candied, savory, herbal, and spicy flavors and a long, dry finish.