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: Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon

By Christopher Null | January 11, 2009 |

With its big, fat bottle and giant picture of Kentucky on the label, Pure Kentucky doesn’t look from a distance like anything you’d slap an “XO” label on, even as a joke. But this is real, serious bourbon, a whiskey that sweet tooths will love and other bourbon fans can also enjoy. Aged 10 years…

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Review: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select (2009)

By Christopher Null | January 2, 2009 |

Your excitement about getting a bottle of this “single barrel” whiskey may dim somewhat when you read the lengthy alphanumeric code identifying the barrel from which it came. In my case, I’m sampling barrel number 7-4229 from rick number L-35 (warehousing information). So, yes, it’s from a single barrel… but we’re talking about thousands of…

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Review: Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 15 Years Old

By Christopher Null | January 2, 2009 |

After enjoying — thoroughly — Pappy Van Winkle’s 20 and 23-year-old bourbons at WhiskyFest, I got ahold of some 15-year-old bourbon from the company. This is an older bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle — bottle number A5909 (not the exact one seen below, but the same style/branding) — and the brand has been repackaged…

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Review: Rowan’s Creek Bourbon

By Christopher Null | December 23, 2008 |

Happened upon this bottle of Rowan’s Creek Bourbon at my local liquor store and was intrigued by the almost scrawled logo on the label and hand-numbered coding. Some thoughts on what’s inside. At 100.1 proof, it’s a hot whiskey and needs a bit of water to bring out anything other than heavy alcoholic characteristics. With…

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Drinkhacker’s 2008 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 28, 2008 |

What better gift is there than a bottle of booze? Not only will your giftee think you’re incredibly sophisticated, chances are he’ll let you drink a good amount of it before he realizes his terrible mistake. What’s the best booze to put under the tree this Christmas season? Of course you want to offer something…

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Review: Russell’s Reserve Bourbon (2008)

By Christopher Null | November 16, 2008 |

Bourbon, by law, has to be at least 51 percent distilled from corn. In the case of Russell’s Reserve Bourbon, it seems like the other 49 percent is rye. This is a striking doppelganger to Russell’s appealing Reserve Rye, and the similarities are uncanny. And yet I found myself wishing this was a more straightforward…

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Review: Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2008 Edition

By Christopher Null | October 20, 2008 |

Each year the distilling masters at Buffalo Trace release limited-release whiskeys that connoisseurs will want to seek out. This year’s five whiskeys, rarities that may not see store shelves come 2009, are all worth exploring in depth. Some notes on each of the five (all officially 2008 releases) follow. (They are pictured in the order…

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Review: Charter 101 Bourbon

By Christopher Null | October 15, 2008 |

Here’s a new kid on the block from the good whiskey folks at Buffalo Trace: Charter (aka Old Charter) Bourbon, bottled at 101 proof and retro top to bottom in its gold-trmmed, angular-designed bottle. No age statement on the label, which is the norm for a $24 bottle of whiskey. In the glass, it’s very…

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Review: Old Forester Repeal Bourbon

By Christopher Null | October 4, 2008 |

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition (officially ratified on December 5, 1933), so to celebrate, Old Forester is releasing a one-time-only, limited expression of its storied Bourbon whiskey. The whiskey will be sold in a 375ml bottle with a medicine-flash appearance and a replica version of a label from the…

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Review: Four Roses Mariage Collection Bourbon 2008 Edition

By Christopher Null | September 22, 2008 |

Ahhh now here’s something special. I’m on record as being a big fan of Four Roses bourbon already. Now the distillery is launching a limited-edition blended bourbon, at cask strength, no less: A heady 112.4 proof (though my barrel sample was “just” 111.4 proof), which will burn off your eyebrows if you’re not careful. Yeah,…

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