The Bourbon Whiskey is a whiskey that originated in the United States, specifically in Bourbon Kentucky, that is made from corn. A whiskey is called a bourbon whiskey if it is distilled in the Kentucky areas. This whiskey is known to be the U.S counterpart of the Scotch whiskey from Scotland.
The History and Origin of Bourbon
There are actually a lot of stories related to the history and origin of the bourbon whiskey but one thing is a fact: the bourbon whiskey originated in Bourbon County, Kentucky which is why it got its name. One most popular story about the history of the bourbon whiskey is the Elijah Craig history wherein it is said that Elijah Craig, who was Baptist minister, was the first person to ever apply the idea of bourbon distillation in oak barrels.
But another history tells that the bourbon whiskey was truly given its name when Scottish settlers landed on Kentucky. Since they came from the place of Scotch whiskey, they also started distilling whiskeys in Bourbon Kentucky but instead of calling the drink scotch whiskey, they named it bourbon whiskey since it was distilled in Bourbon County.
Still, even if there are a number of origins associated with the bourbon whiskey, one thing is for sure; since bourbon whiskey came from Bourbon Kentucky, it deserves its name no matter who first distilled it or who named it that way. This is the reason why even if there are a lot of bourbon distilleries in the U.S, the ones that are distilled in Bourbon Kentucky are the ones called straight bourbon whiskey.
How Bourbon Whiskey is made
The bourbon whiskey does not only have a flavorful history but also a flavorful process of distillation. The main ingredient used to make the bourbon whiskey is corn or the mash bill. The first process of distilling or making the bourbon whiskey is the grinding process wherein the grain, or the corn, is being ground and water is mixed to it. Then the next process is the mixing. This refers to adding yeast to the ground mixture so that fermentation can take place. The next process is the distillation wherein alcohol is mixed to the mixture and the alcohol mixture is said to be from 65 percent to 80 percent.
Then, after that, the aging process is applied wherein this is done by placing the spirit inside new oak barrels charred on the inside. This process lasts for a very long time. The final process is the maturation wherein when the bourbon matures; it is now placed inside bottles. The main ingredient, the newly charred oak barrels as well the aging and maturation processes all contribute to giving the bourbon whiskey its flavorful taste.
How is the Bourbon whiskey related to the Scotch whisky?
First, according to history and origin, the scotch whiskey was distilled in Scotland and according to history as well, the bourbon whiskey is distilled in Bourbon Kentucky by Scottish settlers. With this, both whiskies have Scottish traces and the only difference is that they are distilled or created from different places.
Second, both whiskies come from grains so they are pretty much the same in effects and taste and the only difference is the type of grain used. The scotch whiskey was made from malt barley while the bourbon whiskey is made from corn or the mash bill.
Lastly, both the Scotch whisky and the bourbon whiskey are aged in oak barrels so they both have that oak barrel effect and taste. The only difference is the type of oak barrel used. The scotch whiskey is aged in used oak barrels while the bourbon whiskey is aged in new oak barrels.
Still, because of the nearly similar process and taste, their relationship is said to be that of the apple and the pear.
What Makes the Bourbon Whiskey Popular?
Nowadays, among other types of whiskies in the United States, the bourbon whiskey is the most popular and here are some reasons why it is popular:
• Aged in new oak barrels. The fact that the bourbon whiskey is aged in new oak barrels makes it a very flavorful whiskey. It is now known to have sweeter flavor but very excellent oak taste and so, because of its flavor and taste, the bourbon whiskey is rising in popularity.
• The numerous brands of bourbon nowadays. Bourbon whiskey is popular nowadays because of the many brands of bourbon already. These brands vary in taste so you’ll have lots to choose from.
• It is related to the scotch whiskey. Bourbon whiskey is popular because if you are craving for scotch whiskey and it is unavailable, you can simply try the bourbon whiskey to satisfy your cravings for scotch whiskey.
3 Popular brands of bourbon
1. Blantons. This brand of bourbon whiskey originated before the civil war because that is the time when the Blanton family made this spirit. It just started being market and getting popular in 1984.
2. Jim Beam. This popular brand of bourbon whiskey was made by seven generation of Beams. It was created 200 years ago already from Jacob Beam to Fred Noe. Like other established brands of Bourbon, Jim Beam also went through the great depression, the civil war and whiskey distillation prohibitions. Obviously, the brand got its name from the Beam family.
3. Wild Turkey. This popular brand of bourbon whiskey originated when the Ripy brothers brought a sample of their distilled spirit during a wild turkey hunting trip. The spirit has no brand name yet but because their friends were looking for the spirit during the wild turkey hunting, the brothers thought about giving that name to their bourbon whiskey brand.
Considering the very colorful history of the bourbon whiskey in the United States as well as the process by which it was made, it’s really not a surprise why this type of whiskey is making a name in the whiskey industry already and it is also not a surprise why a lot of bourbon whiskey brands are slowly increasing their numbers.