Bourbon: what’s it all about?
Bourbon and whiskey, are they the same? Well, they are similar in many ways, but there are a few key differences between the two. In this blog you will learn all about the differences and more.
What is bourbon?
Bourbon is a type of American whiskey that is made primarily from corn and aged in oak barrels. It has a distinct flavor that is often described as sweet, with notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak. In order to be called bourbon, the whiskey must be made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn and aged in new, charred oak barrels. It must also be distilled to no more than 160 proof and bottled at no less than 80 proof.
The drink has a long and storied history in the United States, and it is known for its smooth, full-bodied flavor.
History of bourbon
Bourbon has a rich history that dates back to the late 18th century. It is named after Bourbon County, Kentucky, where it was first produced. Now it is made in other parts of the United States as well. The first known distillery in the county was established in 1789. By the early 19th century, it had become a popular drink in the United States.
Bourbon played a significant role in the history of the United States, particularly during the Civil War and Prohibition. During the Civil War, the beverage was a popular choice for soldiers on both sides, and it was used as a form of currency in some parts of the country.
Prohibition, which lasted from 1920 to 1933, had a significant impact on the industry. Many distilleries were forced to close. Those that remained open were only allowed to produce whiskey for medicinal purposes. After Prohibition was repealed, the industry began to recover. Today, it is once again a thriving and popular part of American culture.
Bourbon has also played a role in international relations, with U.S. presidents frequently gifting bottles of bourbon to foreign leaders. In 1964, Congress declared the drink to be a “distinctive product of the United States,” and today, it is enjoyed by people all over the world.
What does the production process of Bourbon looks like?
Bourbon is made from a mixture of grains, with corn being the primary ingredient. The exact grain mixture, or “mash bill,” can vary from distillery to distillery, but it must contain at least 51% corn. Other grains that are often used in the production include wheat, rye, and malted barley.
The production of bourbon involves several steps, including:
- Milling: The grains (such as corn, wheat, rye, and malted barley) are ground into a fine meal.
- Mashing: The ground grains are mixed with water to create a mash. The exact grain mixture, or “mash bill,” can vary from distillery to distillery, but it must contain at least 51% corn.
- Fermentation: Yeast is added to the mash to begin the fermentation process, which converts the sugars in the mash into alcohol. The resulting liquid, called “distiller’s beer,” is then collected.
- Distillation: The distiller’s beer is heated until the alcohol vaporizes, and then it is collected and cooled, allowing the alcohol to condense back into a liquid form. This liquid is called “low wine,” and it is then distilled again to create the final product.
- Aging: The distilled liquid is aged in new, charred oak barrels for at least two years. The aging process helps to give it its distinct flavor and amber color. Learn more about the art of barrel aging here!
- Bottling: Once the bourbon has finished aging, it is bottled at no less than 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume).
Types of bourbon
There are many different types of bourbon. Some of the most common types include:
- Straight bourbon: This type has been aged for at least two years and has not been blended with any other types of whiskey or spirits.
- Blended bourbon: This is bourbon that has been blended with other types of whiskey or spirits, such as rye or wheat whiskey.
- Single barrel bourbon: This type has been aged in a single oak barrel, rather than being blended with bourbon from multiple barrels. Single barrel bourbons tend to have a more distinct flavor, as they are not diluted with other bourbons.
- Small batch bourbon: This has been made from a small number of carefully selected barrels, rather than being produced on a large scale. Small batch bourbons tend to have a more complex flavor profile than other types of bourbon.
- Flavored bourbon: Some producers offer flavored variations, which are made by infusing the whiskey with additional flavors such as honey, maple, or cherry.
What’s the difference with whiskey?!
We are talking about Whiskey now, but did you know that you can also write it without an -e? Whisky or Whiskey? What’s the difference?, read all about it in our blog! The difference between Bourbon and whiskey are similar in many ways, but there are a few key differences between the two:
- Ingredient: Bourbon is made from a grain mixture that must contain at least 51% corn, while whiskey can be made from a variety of grains, including corn, wheat, rye, and barley.
- Production: Bourbon must be produced in the United States, while whiskey can be produced anywhere in the world.
- Aging: Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels, while whiskey can be aged in a variety of barrels, including used barrels.
- Flavor: Bourbon has a distinct, sweet flavor that is often described as having notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak. Whiskey can have a wide range of flavors, depending on the type of grains used and the aging process.
Moving Spirits: many brands of bourbon in stock as your supplier!
Now that you know more about this liquor, let us tell you more about our assortment. Are you looking for a supplier that can help you stock your alcohol store? In our Sales Portal, where you can see our current stock 24/7, you can filter by all the bourbons we have. We always have 2,000+ brands of liquors in stock.
Not only do we sell the most famous and popular bourbons, such as Jim Beam or Four Roses, but we also have many more bourbons and other liquors to choose from. You have come to the right place at Moving Spirits if you are looking for a B2B bourbon wholesale!
From well-known A-brands to unique and sustainable import brands, our large assortment of liquors will amaze you! Are you looking for a wholesale supplier? Check our Sales Portal!
Note: Moving Spirits is a liquors wholesaler that only delivers to business customers.