What is Bourbon and why Kentucky?

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September 30th 2013
Published: January 18th 2014
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All Bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is Bourbon. A phrase that my father and I heard quite frequently in Kentucky. After our trip my father and I consider ourselves to be doctors of Bourbon, and we even have a diploma to prove it! So what are the legal requirements for a whiskey to be labeled a bourbon?
Courtesy of Wikipedia:

The Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits (<span>27 C.F.R. 5) state that bourbon made for U.S. consumption must be:

• Produced in the United States;
• made from a grain mixture that is at least 51%!<(MISSING)a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maize">corn;
• aged in new, charred-oak barrels;
distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80%!<(MISSING)a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_by_volume">alcohol by volume);
• entered into the barrel for aging at no more than 125 proof (62.5%!<(MISSING)a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_by_volume">alcohol by volume); and be
• bottled (like other whiskeys) at 80 proof or more (40%!<(MISSING)a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_by_volume">alcohol by volume).

There is no age requirement unless it is to be labeled as straight Bourbon which requires
2 year of aging. If the whiskey is blended and under 4 years the bottle must list the lowest aged whiskey used. Corn was the predominant grain in the United States, so many settlers who were used to distilling Scotch or Irish Whiskey in Europe substituted corn for barely. The result was a more sweeter whiskey flavor. Kentucky itself is a perfect location for distilling whiskey. It has plenty of springs, and limestone that naturally filters the water, to make it optimal for the distillation process. Also, the extreme temperature changes from summer to winter help draw that wood flavor out of the barrels, which gives bourbon its flavor and color. It truly is a magical place.


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