What makes a Whisky Bourbon?
Bourbon whiskey must be made from a grain mixture which is 51% corn. The fermentation process for the mixture is usually started by mixing in some ‘sour mash’, which is a mash from an older or previous batch (this being made up of malted barley, rye or wheat).
Much like how Scotch must be made in Scotland, Bourbon can only be labelled as such if it is made in the United States.
A straight Bourbon mash must be distilled at 160 proof (80%) or less, put into the barrels at 125 proof (62.5%) or less, and it must not contain any additives. The distillate must be aged in a new charred oak barrel. Straight bourbon needs to be aged for no less than 2 years.
In the case of a blended Bourbon, it is allowed to contain colourants, flavouring and other spirits, as long as 51% of the mix is straight bourbon. The age on the bottle of blended bourbon must be the age of the youngest spirit in the mix.