Bourbon Whiskey is that beautiful brown liquid that makes your worries disappear, or so says most bourbon enthusiasts. In reality, bourbon is a type of American whiskey that has a rich history and has been accompanied by various myths and misconceptions.

Here are the top bourbon myths:

  1. Bourbon must be made in Bourbon County, Kentucky: This is one of the most persistent myths. While Bourbon County, Kentucky, does have a significant role in the history of bourbon, it’s not a requirement for bourbon to be made there. Bourbon can legally be made anywhere in the United States.
  2. Bourbon must be made in small batches: While many high-quality bourbons are produced in small batches, there is no legal requirement for bourbon to be made in this way. The term “small batch” is more of a marketing term with no strict definition.
  3. Bourbon must be aged for a specific number of years: Bourbon must be aged in new charred oak barrels, but there is no minimum aging requirement to be legally called bourbon. However, to be labeled as “straight” bourbon, it must be aged for at least two years. Many excellent bourbons are aged for more extended periods, which can impart more complex flavors.
  4. The older the bourbon, the better: While aging can contribute to the flavor profile of bourbon, it doesn’t necessarily mean that more aged bourbon is always better. Some bourbons reach their peak flavor profile after a certain number of years, and excessive aging can sometimes result in an over-oaked or bitter taste.
  5. All bourbon is sweet: While bourbon often has notes of sweetness due to the corn content in its mash bill, not all bourbons are overly sweet. The flavor profile of bourbon can vary widely, ranging from sweet and caramel-like to spicy and smoky.
  6. Bourbon must be made using specific water from Kentucky: While the limestone-rich water in Kentucky has historically played a role in bourbon production, there is no legal requirement for bourbon to be made with water from Kentucky. Water quality is essential, but the specific source can be elsewhere in Kentucky.
  7. Bourbon is only for sipping straight: While sipping bourbon neat or on the rocks is a popular way to enjoy it, bourbon is also a versatile spirit that can be used in cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Mint Julep.
  8. Bourbon must contain a certain percentage of corn: While bourbon must have at least 51% corn in its mash bill, there’s no upper limit to the amount of corn that can be used. Many bourbons use more corn, but the remaining portion can comprise other grains like rye, barley, or wheat.
  9. The name “bourbon” comes from the Bourbon dynasty: There are several theories about the origin of the name “bourbon,” but it’s not directly named after the Bourbon dynasty of French royalty. Bourbon County, Kentucky, or the French Bourbon family, indirectly inspired the name.
  10. A specific recipe must make bourbon: While bourbon must adhere to specific legal requirements, there’s room for creativity in production. Different distilleries use various mash bills and production methods, leading to various flavor profiles within the bourbon category.

There you have it, bourbon myths busted. What are other bourbon myths that come to mind? Let us know at [email protected]

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The Bourbon Flight Staff | + posts