Interesting Facts about Bourbon

It is famously said, “all bourbons are whiskey but not all whiskeys are BOURBON”. That’s the kind of unrivalled distinction bourbon is acclaimed of.

As, it is important to know what’s in your glass, it is wise to know how it got into your glass. Wicked Spoon Confessions takes a sneak peek into some lesser known facts about bourbon.



The history of bourbon is not known to be a glorious one as it’s sketchy with prohibitions and war. There’s an unending debate on, how bourbon was named so. Apart from the bourbon county in Kentucky, and Bourbon Street in New Orleans making claims, some say it derived its name from the Bourbon dynasty of France.

This thorough–bred all-American spirit was declared “America’s Native Spirit” in the year 1964. Contradictory, to the general perception that a bourbon is made only in Kentucky, mind you folks, a bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States, only as per the strict guidelines laid down by the US Government. This is not it, whole of September is celebrated as the National bourbon Heritage Month in the US.

Kentucky or New Orleans, we ardent bourbon fans across would say, "a bourbon is a bourbon is a bourbon".



Did you know that the sweet tender corn is main grain, behind the smooth bourbon taste, which is at least 51% along with others components like wheat/rye etc.? So, the more the Corn the sweeter the bourbon. Its distillation proof is around 125-160 and it must be bottled at no less than 80 proof. Needless to say, aging does add its sweetness to any spirit—“Old is Gold”, we swear by this adage.

Mostly all whiskeys are barrel-aged but a bourbon whiskey is necessarily a white-oak (new-unused) barrel-aged distilled spirit, which has to sit in for minimum two years. In fact, this is a prime requirement by federal law of United States of America, for it to be called a Straight Bourbon Whiskey.



The insides of these barrels are torched and charred to seal in its charry, woody natural flavour and colour. Bourbon fanatics and aficionados would sing in unison and rave about the purity of this drink. This spirit boasts of purity as gold, for only water is added when it is emptied from a barrel—it contains no flavouring or colours.

Though blended bourbons are rare, and connoisseurs may not endorse the same. Some blended whiskeys may contain some bourbon. Blending enhances the texture and flavor and is definitely a money making and money saving alternative for distilleries.

Despite huge overheads for the distilleries, as a tradition and by the US law, a barrel once used to age bourbon cannot be reused for the same. These used barrels are shipped away to Scotland and other parts to age Scotch whisky or beer and at times maple syrup (can you believe that!).

Jim Beam, Hogs3 Bourbon, Four Roses, Bulleit frontier, 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Kentucky straight bourbon, Eagle Rare single barrel bourbon, Clementine are a few brands to tuck in your bar to flaunt.


Image Courtesy - Flickr Creative Commons


So, the next time you are visiting a bar with friends and place an order for this exquisite drink, you know how it got there in your glass! Go on, boast about your knowledge about bourbon and impress your friends with some of these facts mentioned here.

Tip to enjoy your bourbon: Pour some bourbon over ice, ideally  in a wide rimmed/mouth  glass, let the spirit settle down a bit, then hold the glass close to your mouth, sniff and breathe in the aroma and sip along. Let it roll on your tongue to feel the charry taste. Mmmmmm, ladies and gentlemen, you just tasted one beast of a drink. Happy binging.


Alcohol consumption is injurious to health, drink responsibly, don't drink and drive

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