Whiskey History: What Is Straight Bourbon
Angels Envy® is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon thats finished in port wine barrels, and while we spend a lot of time talking about the aged in port wine barrels part , we tend to gloss right over Kentucky Straight. So what exactly is a straight bourbon ?
When the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed in 1906, one of the many things it covered was whiskey. In an effort to protect American distilleries from foreign businesses flooding the market with cheap substitutes, the U.S. government determined that whiskey could only be labeled and sold as whiskey if met the guidelines to qualify it as straight.
Straight whiskey was and is largely a matter of aging and proof assurance. The Pure Food and Drug Act does stipulate that whiskey must be created by distilling a fermented cereal grain mash, but beyond that, its all age and proof. Once distilled, the whiskey may not exceed 80% ABV, and it must be aged for a minimum of two years, otherwise it cant qualify as straight. At the point of barreling, it must be 62.5% ABV or lower, and only water may be added to dilute it at this point.
What Is The Difference Between Sour Mash And Straight Bourbon
Two years in charred oak barrels is a minimum age requirement for a bourbon made with double distillation. As with the starter in sourdough bread, sour mash whiskey begins the mash with leftover ingredients from a prior batch, much as in bourbon. In the sour mash process, the final product is sweeter and has a deeper flavor.
Trader Joes Kentucky Bourbon Straight Whiskey
- DISTILLER: Undisclosed, but evidence points to Buffalo Trace’s Barton 1792 Distillery as the source
- MASH BILL: Undisclosed
- AGE: No formal age statement, but as a “straight whiskey” it is at least two years old.
- YEAR: 2016
NOSETASTE: FINISH:WORTH THE PRICEBOTTLE, BAR OR BUST:Bourbon & BanterOVERALL:Read more of Jeff’s reviews…Straight Whiskey. Priced Right.Trader Joe’s Kentucky Bourbon Straight WhiskeyBourbonTrader Joes Kentucky Bourbon Straight Whiskey$14.99
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What Defines Kentucky Bourbon
During the distillation process, grain, yeast, and water are fermented to make Bourbon. There must be a minimum 51% corn in the mash bill. About 70% of most bourbons are made with corn. Brand new barrels made from white oak and charred on the inside are the only type of barrels to be used to age Bourbon.
Best For Mint Juleps: Eagle Rare
Courtesy of ReserveBar
ABV: 45% | Tasting Notes: Citrus, Cola, Leather, Hint of mint
The unofficial Kentucky state cocktail, the Mint Julep simply must be made with Kentucky bourbon. And Eagle Rare is the way to go. The citrusy aroma pulls you in, then upon sipping, you get a hit of sweet grass, cola, leather, a zesty finishand just a hint of mint. Those tongue-tingling flavors are wonderful on their own, but particularly in a sweet and frosty Mint Julep.
Considering its quality and age , this bourbon is quite affordable. If youre not the Mint Julep type, try pairing a shot with a pale or amber ale for a superlative Boilermaker.
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Whiskey Basics: Explaining Straight Whiskey
How much importance can a single word have on your bottle of whiskey? Quite a lot, actually. Thats the case when it comes to the application of the word straight when found on the label of an American whiskey. Most people tend to think of it as a good indicator of potential quality and it is, or at least it sets a floor in terms of certain minimum qualifications. But its worth knowing what its actually saying.
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey From New Riff
New Riff is independently owned by one family. Our independence has allowed us to make an unprecedented declaration for quality: Bottled in Bond Without Chill Filtration, the worlds highest quality standard.
We are inspired by the great Bourbon makers of the past and the wider tradition in Kentuckybut we will play our own riff, on the Sour Mash Kentucky Regimen, both with our standard of Bottled in Bond Without Chill Filtration, and through applying that production regimen to wholly new styles of Kentucky whiskey.
Follow New Riff for additional news and information on our Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
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What Does Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Mean
It is particularly common to label straight whiskey produced in Kentucky from a mash at least 51% corn grain as Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. A whiskeys corny name comes from having a mash that contains at least 80% corn and aged in barrels that are used or not charred.
Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: Whats The Difference Between Straight Bourbon Blended Bourbon And Sour Mash Bourbon
There are federal laws regarding the definition of bourbon. Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is made in a particular fashion. Bourbon can be made anywhere in the country, but it is most often associated with its origin site in Kentucky. The mash that the liquor is fermented from must be at least 51% corn and must be distilled to no higher than 80% alcohol. The liquor then must enter the new oak barrel for aging at no more than 62.5% alcohol and bottled with at least 40% alcohol to be considered Kentucky bourbon whiskey.
The description above fits straight Kentucky bourbon whiskey to a tee. Kentucky bourbon whiskey is made from a single batch and aged in a new oak barrel. The liquid that comes out of the barrel is all that youll find in the bottle you buy. It is not mixed or blended with any other alcohols. It is, essentially, straight from the barrel.
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Bourbon Is Always Aged In New Charred Oak Barrels
Bourbon also must be aged in new charred oak barrels, and cannot include any additives or colorings. Other whiskeys can be aged in barrels previously used to age other spirits, and they don’t necessarily need to be whiskey barrelsport, sherry, and rum casks are used in the aging process for non-bourbon whiskeys. To be designated “straight bourbon whiskey,” bourbon has to have been aged in new charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years.
Exceptions To The Rule
Theres even an acronym for harmless coloring, flavoring, or blending materials HCFBM. Hopefully its not an acronym youre coming across too often though, and its worth noting that what does or does not qualify is made on a case-by-case basis.
Suffice to say, for now, that if an American whiskey is over two years of age and was matured in new, charred oak and is not labeled as straight, it contains some form of additives. Theres no other reason to avoid the term or to be disqualified from it.
Want one more head-scratching exception? The category of blended straight whiskeys technically allows for HCFBM to be thrown back in! The TTB defines the category as a mixture of straight whiskeys produced in different states or as a mixture of straight whiskeys from the same state with those pesky HFCBMs. That exception essentially ends up undoing all of the hard definitions we just strove to define. But, ha ha, nobody would take advantage of that loophole, right?
Straight whiskey, in most cases, refers to an additive-free American whiskey aged for two or more years in new, charred oak. As weve seen though, theres an exception to every rule, and a rule for every exception.
Ready to try some straight whiskey yourself?
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Is Kentucky Bourbon Or Whiskey
Were all Americans when it comes to bourbon. Although whiskey is made wherever there is a water supply, in 1964 Congress declared bourbon the native spirit of the U.S. For bourbon to be called such, it must be produced in the United States. The truth is that 95 percent of the worlds bourbon comes from Kentucky, where 95 percent of the worlds bourbon is made.
Best Bottled In Bond: Henry Mckenna Single Barrel
Courtesy of Drizly
ABV: 50% | Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, Toffee, Vanilla, Dried fruit
If you see bottled-in-bond on a label, it means the spirit was made by one distiller at one United States distillery within one distillation season, has been aged for at least four years in a federally bonded warehouse, and was bottled at 100 proof.
Made at Heaven Hill Distillery , Henry McKennas bottled-in-bond offering blows past those four years, aging for ten years. While it has bourbons signature vanilla notes, it also packs a wallop. Tame the fire with an ice cube or two. Its strong enough to handle it and still show its spiced, toffee flavors.
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Bottled In Bond Without Chill Filtration High Rye Mash Bill
Appearance: Extra rich, unfiltered deep amber color.
Nose: Butterscotch rounding into fresh oak, with hints of vanilla and rye spice.
Taste: Broad, fulsome mouthfeel, leading to a sweeter vanilla accent, before a gathering of rye spices into the finish.
Finish: Long, rye-led finish, with brambly red-black fruits amid white pepper and clove.
Reviews: Check out what people are saying about New Riff
What Does It Mean To Drink Bourbon Straight
It is important to consume a beverage neat that is, without ice and without any added ingredients if it is served at room temperature. You will then be able to appreciate the liquors pure flavor better since there arent any additional factors interfering with it. A few drops of water may be included in some bourbon bars.
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Best Cask Strength: Makers Mark Cask Strength
Courtesy of ReserveBar
ABV: 54.5% | Tasting Notes: Burnt caramel, Brown sugar, Roasted corn
If youre looking for smooth but strong, turn your attention to the hand-dipped wax seal of Makers Marks amped-up brother: Makers Mark Cask Strength. Like the flagship bottling, its still full-bodied and packed with caramel and brown sugar flavors. It just happens to be bottled at barrel proof108 to 114 proof depending on the barrels.
Dont let the heat stop you from sipping this powerful whiskey straight. But do take advantage of its alcohol levels by mixing it into some cocktails. Try it paired with lemon and honey in a Gold Rush or enjoy it in a frosty, far-too-drinkable Mint Julep. Its friendly enough for even cask strength neophytes to handle it.
Defining Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
At the end of the day, a Kentucky straight bourbon is nothing but a straight bourbon whiskey with at least 51% of corn grain in a mash and one that is produced in the state of Kentucky.
Some of the resonating and must-try Kentucky Straight Bourbons are produced from brands that have permeated our everyday lives. A few prominent ones are:
- Makers Mark
- Woodford Reserve
It should be noted that although bourbons are usually associated with being produced in Kentucky, any region in the United States can participate in such an enjoyable activity. However, in general, bourbons can only be made in the U.S.
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Best For Sipping: Four Roses Small Batch
Courtesy of ReserveBar
ABV: 45% | Tasting Notes: Stone fruit, Baking spices, Sweet oak, Caramel
Bourbon nerds, get your hands on one of Four Roses Small Batch offerings. Each bottle features a code that reveals the blend of bourbons that went into the bottle, along with not only the mash bill within each specific bourbon but also the yeast strains that were used and the minimum age. The hitch? You just have to know how to read it. We wont go through it all now, but if youre interested, do look it up. Once you start decoding the recipe, you start feeling like a bourbon spy. But the bottle is worth picking up even if you arent a complete bourbon geek. Its a delicious blend of spice and fruit that languishes on your tongue. Baker calls it full-bodied and semi-sweet, adding that its so rich that a touch of my usual maple syrup would put them over the top. Lengthen out the notes of stone fruit with a splash of soda water or sip it straight for dessert.
The Age Of Refinement
These early bourbons were rough and ready distilled, decanted into cask, shipped, sold and consumed with a minimum of fuss. But a few individuals began to refine the process. Colourful minister Rev Elijah Craig started using charred barrels Dr James Crow brought scientific rigour and sour-mashing.
From these 19th-century beginnings have evolved the rules of bourbon production. You must use 51-80% corn distil no higher than 80% abv put into new charred white-oak casks no higher than 62.5% abv add nothing else except water.
It sounds strict, but theres considerable leeway: what other grains will you use and in what quantities? How bigs your cask and what kind of oak is it? What strength will you distil to, and at what strength will you put into barrel? Where will you put your casks in the warehouse? As for the type of yeast usedlots of scope for experimentation.
Woodford Reserve is the only bourbon producer to triple-distil its spirit
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What Is The Difference Between Straight Bourbon & Bourbon Whiskey
Drinking whiskey has been popular in the United States since colonial times. Yet Bourbon, while often referred to as Americas native spirit, has become even more popular of late. All Bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is a bourbon. Confused yet? Dont worry, the experts at New Riff Distilling have developed a comprehensive guide to a few basic definitions for the most common words seen on bourbon labels. Today, we focus on the difference between Bourbon whiskey and straight bourbon whiskey.
What Makes Kentucky Bourbon Different
Additionally, bourbon differs from whiskey in other ways: It does not exceed 80% alcohol by volume when it leaves the still. A bourbon is aged in wood casks that have been charred with white oak flames no higher than 62 degrees Fahrenheit. 5% abv. A minimum of 40% alcohol by volume is specified for the bourbon.
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Best Budget: Buffalo Trace
ABV: 45% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Dried orange peel, Spice
Whether youre looking for a reliable bourbon to order at a dive bar or a go-to house bourbon to stock your own home bar, Buffalo Trace is the way to go. Its a classic Kentucky bourbon, with notes of vanilla and dried orange peel upfront and a dark, spiced finish. Its full-bodied and goes down smooth, making it perfect for sipping solo , with a beer back, or in a cocktail like an Old Fashioned. Plus, the price and wide availability cant be beat for the complexity of the spirits flavor.
ABV: 50% | Tasting Notes: Oak, Caramel, Toffee, Brown sugar, Cherry
One of the newer labels on the block, Town Branch launched in Lexington, KY in 2012. It was the first new distillery to open downtown since Prohibition. The brand focuses on small batch production and emphasizes human touch, eschewing automation in favor of manually hand-filling barrels and bottles. The bourbon is low on the rye, giving it a mellow, smooth, and sweet character.
Its medium-bodied with a subtle dry finish, says Anthony Baker of hospitality studio Cocktail Professor. It leaves just enough room for a bar spoon of maple syrup.
Its surprisingly affordable, so you dont have to feel bad about experimenting with a spoonful of maple syrup like Baker, or pouring it over a few ice cubes on a hot day.
Charity Auction In Support Of Western Kentucky Tornado Relief
At the brands launch event on February 10, 2022, an auction will be held to raise money for those affected by the devastating tornadoes in Western Kentucky. World-renowned artist Aaron Kizer, the distillerys artistic director, has hand-painted 10 barrels filled with Green River bourbon for auction.
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What Is The Difference In Bourbon And Whiskey
vs Whiskey Ingredients Bourbon and whiskey are distinguished mainly by their fermentation processes. As a general rule, whiskey is aged in wooden barrels after it has been distilled from grains like barley, corn, rye, and wheat. Bourbon is aged in new barrels while charred oak barrels are used for whiskey.
Bourbon Has To Hit Certain Abv Marks
When bourbon is barreled, it also has to hit a certain proof, or alcohol content in the spirit. The mash must be distilled at 160 proof or less, and aged in barrels until it is no more than 125 proof or less. Before bottling, bourbon is filtered and diluted down to no less than 80 proof . Other whiskeys have different ABV standards for barreling and distilling. The minimum bottling strength for Scotch whiskey, for example, is also 80 proof or 40 percent ABV, but there is no maximum or minimum ABV for the distillate.
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Best In Cocktails: Pinhook Bohemian
Courtesy of Total Wine
ABV: 47.5% | Tasting Notes: Toasted oak, Orange zest, Cocoa, Almonds
At 95 proof, this robust bourbon is packed with warm, oaky flavors and notes of orange zest. Its cozy but fruit-forward enough to work in a range of cocktails, from a classic Old Fashioned to a tangy Whiskey Sour to something more exotic like this take on a Pina Colada. If you like this bottle, be sure to stock up on it. The distillery offers new vintages of bourbon and rye every year.
Pinhook takes a winemaker’s approach to whiskey, says founder Sean Josephs, who has experience as a sommelier and also was the former owner of celebrated NYC whiskey bars, Char No 4 and Maysville. We embrace what nature has given us and make the best whiskey we can as a celebration of the year’s harvest. We don’t have a set target flavor profile or predetermined proof for any of our whiskeys, so each vintage is an opportunity to create a unique whiskey that will never be made again.