If you are brand new to bourbon, The Bourbon Flight has you covered. While whiskey may be made everywhere, bourbon was declared “America’s Native Spirit.” It must be produced in the United States.
On May 4, 1964, Congress adopted a resolution that made bourbon a distinctive product of the U.S. and bourbon is one of the most regulated spirits in the world. If you are still confused, check out Bourbon for Dummies: Explaining the types of bourbon.
The regulations are:
- It must be made in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to be made in Kentucky.
- Aging must take place in a new, charred-oak barrel. Whiskey can be aged in used barrels and often is. The bourbon must be aged for at least two years to be considered a straight bourbon.
- The mash must be at least 51% corn.
- The whiskey cannot enter the barrel at higher than 125 proof. It cannot enter the bottle at a proof less than 80.
- Nothing can be added but water and only to lessen the proof when necessary. Other whiskeys can add color and flavor. Not bourbon. It must be au naturel.
Being a bourbon drinker means having an opinion on every bourbon made, even if you have never tried it before. Forget every other person’s opinion and stick to your own. What you enjoy may not be for everyone and that is fine, just as long as you enjoy the bourbon.
On a side note, if a certain bourbon is too hot for you, add a couple drops of water. It will release flavor and tone down the heat.
Here are The Bourbon Flight’s Top 10 bourbons for beginners. The criteria are that it must be under $50, taste good and be readily available.
- Four Roses Single Barrel $49
- Woodford Reserve Double Oaked $49
- Russell’s Reserve 10-Year-Old $35
- Basil Hayden $40
- Evan Williams Single Barrel $30
- Wild Turkey Longbranch $40
- Elijah Craig Small Batch $33
- Bulleit Bourbon $35
- Larceny Small Batch $29
- Michter’s US-1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon $45