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Whisk(e)y

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What is bourbon… really? Breaking the myths While it is well-known how bourbon must be made, a few untruths or misunderstandings about bourbon still need to be cleared up. Before we get into those, let’s take a moment and review what we know. First of all, to be considered a bourbon, the mash-bill must comprise at least 51% corn and then can contain any other combination of cereal grains. While these cereal grains most commonly will be rye and malted barley or wheat and malted barley, we are starting to see more expressions consisting of all four grains. To be classified as a bourbon, it must also be aged in a new charred oak container, be a minimum of 80 proof, distilled at no more than 160 proof, and entry proof of no more than 125 proof. There are a couple of items that need to be called out here. First is that the container must be a new charred oak container. This oak can be American White Oak, French Oak, or any other type of oak. Also note that the regulation states that it’s a container, not a barrel, so essentially, the container could be a new charred oak bucket, as long as it is new and has gone through the charring process. The second item is that no minimum age must be considered a bourbon. While Scotch, Irish, and Japanese whisky all must be aged a minimum of three years, effectively, whiskey can be regarded as a bourbon as long as the mash bill is 51% corn minimum and it was stored in a new charred oak container while carrying it from the still to the bottle. What about Straight Bourbon Whiskey? According to Chapter 4 of the Alcohol Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau, Straight Bourbon Whiskey is…