Happy National Bourbon Day!
Now, a couple of years ago that would not be something I would pay attention to. Because until a couple of years ago I didn't drink whisky of any kind. But now I am a bourbon fan. And you should be too.
So what make bourbon bourbon as opposed to any other whisky.
1. It has to be made in the U.S.A.
2. The mash it is made from has to be at least 51% corn
3. The aging has to be done in new, charred oak barrels. (For at least 2 years to be called straight.)
4. It can not enter the barrels at more than 125 proof and it can not enter the bottle at less than 80 proof.
5. Nothing can be added except water.
I like bourbon. But I do not have a great deal of experience with it. I have tasted over 40 different bourbons and that is barely scratching the surface. I can't say I have any particular knowledge or expertise on the subject. But, as they say, I know what I like. Here are some of the highlights of my bourbon journey so far.
Bulleit - (Kentucky Straight Bourbon 90 proof) My love of bourbon started with Bulleit Bourbon. My husband (who usually drinks scotch) let the bartender choose his whisky. He was given Bulleit Bourbon. As was my custom, I took a sip and discovered that I was a bourbon lover. Bulleit is a smoky bourbon and has a lot of warm spice notes. It reminds me of all those fall flavors like cinnamon and allspice and such. And it makes a good old fashioned. I will always have a soft spot for Bulleit.
Evan Williams - (Kentucky Straight Bourbon 86 proof) Evan Williams is probably the bourbon I have had the most of. It is a good, affordable staple bourbon. I don't know that I would want to sit around sipping on it a lot but it has a nice flavor, makes a decent old fashioned and it great if you are into shooting bourbon. Which sometimes I like to do. It's nice to have around as an everyday bourbon.
Hudson Baby Bourbon - (New York Straight Bourbon 92 proof) Hudson Whisky has since changed the name and the recipe for this bourbon and I have not tasted the new version yet. So keep that in mind. I knew that bourbon did not have to be made in Kentucky. But almost all of the bourbon I saw was. This was the first non Kentucky bourbon I tried. It's nice and smooth. It has a lot of caramel and nuttiness. This is (or at least was) one I liked to sit and sip on.
Willett - (Kentucky Straight Bourbon 94 proof) My husband got me this as a gift because he knew I couldn't resist a really cool bottle and this one looks like if you rub it a genie might pop out. It has a sweet crisp flavor. The flavor is assertive enough that it is not lost in an old fashioned which I like. More expensive than the others I've mentioned but a nice treat once in a while. Savor it and sip it nice and slow.
Angel's Envy - (Kentucky Straight Bourbon 86.6 proof) This one is finished in port wine barrels and you can taste it in the bourbon. It is smooth and kind of mellow and has a beautiful flavor. If you are just starting in bourbon you might want to start here because it lacks the harsh edge many bourbons (and all whiskey) have.
Rabbit Hole - (Kentucky Straight Bourbon 95 proof) My favorite at the moment but I have said that about several bourbons so far. It has a complex flavor, citrus in the front, mint and spices in the middle with a vanilla finish. High proof so it packs a punch so drink responsibly.
I could go on forever but I will leave it at that. Go out there and find your bourbon. Or your bourbons. There is a world of bourbons out there for you to try.