Bourbon is a widely-known spirit and is the most exported one in the United States. Drinking it is an experience shared by many people, and there is never a wrong time for it. You can drink it after a hard day’s work in the summer, or drink it to make the holidays more fun in the winter.
There are different tastes to it as there are different bourbon brands. Some taste grainy, and some taste like caramel. Others taste either like cinnamon or nutmeg. Does this pique your interest? Read on to understand the rich flavour and history of this drink.
Before going on to your favourite pub and ordering this beverage, it is best that you knew a little more about its history. There is a reason behind its distinctive flavours, and we are here to show you a bit more about them.
Bourbon is a type of American whiskey that is made primarily of corn. Note that it has to be at least 51% corn for it to be considered a bourbon. Furthermore, it is heavily associated with Kentucky and the American South.
The drink has an innate “American spirit” to it. How so? It was born from American corn that someone specifically distilled from Kentucky. Moreover, they can only be made in oak barrels, specifically new American White oak barrels, which are exclusively from America.
Also, it is declared by the 1964 Act of Congress as the official spirit of the United States. Most of the Bourbon around us (about 95%) is produced within Kentucky. Now, do you need more proof of why it is very American?
Now, we are moving on to its ingredients. As mentioned beforehand, Bourbon is mainly made from corn. However, it can also contain rye, wheat, or barley. These additional ingredients affect the taste of the Bourbon, and not at all in the wrong way.
For reference, the Four Roses Bourbon has the highest rye content among the different bourbon brands. Rye affects the taste as it produces a spicy bourbon with a unique finish. Bourbons that contain rye most likely have cinnamon notes in them as well.
Meanwhile, bourbons that have a savoury taste usually include barley. It gives a nutmeg-forward taste that is considered as a “mysterious note” by Bourbon experts.
Those bourbons that have wheat in them tend to be soft on the palate and have distinct caramel and vanilla notes. Most of the wheat bourbon brands have a short finish and are vanilla-forward, with a tannic oak taste towards the back.
- The Impact of Bourbon
Bourbon is the only spirit that is entirely made in the US. Before, it used to be a poor farmer’s drink, but because imported drinks (e.g., rum) were highly-taxed, making drinks from domestically grown grains became a good alternative.
Considering how it is a specific product of America, it has tight regulations and has special trade protection in the overseas markets. Furthermore, based on the Distilled Spirits Council’s data, American distillers earned $3.6 billion from Tennessee whiskey and bourbon in 2018 – which is their revenue from their sales efforts.
From a poor farmer’s drink to America’s Native Spirit, Bourbon has come a long way. Now, there are even bourbon distilleries you can tour while you’re in Kentucky.
Although it is not everyone’s favourite, bourbon has impacted society in more ways than you know. If you still haven’t tried this drink, don’t hesitate to get a glass of it in your local bar. You don’t know what you’re missing, and who knows, maybe it’ll be your new favourite spirit.