Bourbon

Bourbon is the unquestioned king of American whiskey, its production dating back to the 1700s. While bourbon is invariably associated with Kentucky, where 95 percent of all bourbon is produced today, in reality it can be produced anywhere in the U.S. (though only Kentucky Bourbon can include the name of the state on the label). By U.S. law, bourbon must be made from a mash of at least 51% corn; be aged in new, charred oak containers; distilled to no more than 160 proof, entered into barrel at no more than 125 proof, and bottled at a minimum of 80 proof. Contrary to popular opinion, there’s no minimum aging requirement for bourbon, although straight bourbon must be aged for at least two years and cannot have added coloring. One of the most popular spirits in today’s drinking world, bourbon prices have been on the rise as stocks have dwindled — although massive investments in the industry promise to ease those supply pressures in coming years.

Top Bourbon Posts:

Tips, Tricks, and Advice on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Top 10 Bourbons Under $20
Buffalo Trace’s Single Oak Project

Review: Four Roses Mariage Collection Bourbon 2009 Edition

By Christopher Null | August 27, 2009 |

Has it really been a year since Four Roses put out its first Mariage Collection bourbon? I was a huge fan of the 2008 edition, Four Roses again blends two batches of whiskey together to create a sophisticated blended bourbon. The two whiskeys this time out are a rye-heavy 10-year-old bourbon and an ancient 19-year-old…

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Review: Maker’s Mark Bourbon

By Christopher Null | June 19, 2009 |

I’ve written a lot about Maker’s Mark — hell, I spent like half a day with one of the “Makers,” Rob Samuels — but somehow I never got around to actually writing about the bourbon they make. I’m not going to rehash the distillery’s history, but I will talk a bit about this phenomenally popular…

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Review: Four Roses 2009 Single Barrel Limited Edition Bourbon

By Christopher Null | May 28, 2009 |

The bourbon wizards at Four Roses are at it again, with yet another solid expression. Four Roses updates its portfolio with this limited edition single-barrel release, vintage dated 2009 and limited to just 1,800 bottles — at most. Made using the OESQ recipe and aged 11 years, it was selected from 10 recipes lingering around…

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Talking Whisky with Maker’s Mark’s Rob Samuels

By Christopher Null | April 22, 2009 |

Rob Samuels has bourbon in his blood. He better: He’s an eighth-generation whiskeymaker and the heir to the Maker’s Mark throne, where is father Bill Samuels Jr. serves as President and where Rob spends his days criss-crossing the country, spreading the gospel of Maker’s Mark. Samuels gave me the full court press about his company’s…

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Review: Red Stag by Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon

By Christopher Null | March 15, 2009 |

I don’t know what deer have to do with cherries, but you try coming up with a name for you black cherry-infused whiskey, OK? Red Stag — which is Jim Beam bourbon “infused with natural flavors” (predominantly black cherry, one would assume) — is as good a name as any for what Beam has come…

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Review: Fighting Cock Bourbon

By Christopher Null | February 26, 2009 |

One approaches a spirit called “Fighting Cock” with tempered expectations. The name does not suggest smoothness or elegance, but rather an old-school saloon bourbon that will probably encourage you to get into a situation in which you end up bleeding before the night is out. Fighting Cock is not as scary as it sounds —…

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Review: Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon 1999 Vintage

By Christopher Null | February 13, 2009 |

While Evan Williams may be best known for it’s $9.49 black label bourbon, the fact is the company makes a wide range of whiskeys spanning a range of price levels. While not its most expensive concoction, this vintage-dated, single-barrel bourbon is near the top for the company, though at just $30 a bottle (sometimes less),…

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Review: Evan Williams Black Label Bourbon

By Christopher Null | February 2, 2009 |

I’ve written about Evan Williams a few times now after seeing the brand rank highly in taste-tests of inexpensive booze. Widely regarded as the best “cheap bourbon” on the market, I figured I’d pick up a bottle and try it myself, tasting it as seriously as I would a $300 Scotch. The price of this…

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Review: Kentucky Vintage Bourbon

By Christopher Null | January 29, 2009 |

The name “Kentucky Vintage” immediately leads one to snicker a bit. Vintage? Bourbon? Really? In reality, this is the fourth (and final) bourbon from the Kentucky Bourbon Distillers’ Small Batch Collection — the entire line has been reviewed here now — and it is arguably the least impressive of the series. At just 90 proof,…

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Review: Noah’s Mill Bourbon

By Christopher Null | January 19, 2009 |

Another entry from the Kentucky Bourbon Distillers consortium, Noah’s Mil is a standout from this bottling group. Produced in small batches, it arrives in the bottle at a downright sweltering 114.3 proof, and sipping without water makes one positively sweat. Add a touch of water to the amazingly dark, toffee-brown bourbon and you get something…

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