What is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey?

USA Legal Statute Requirements for Whiskey to be called Bourbon

i)          Must be made from a mash containing a minimum of 51% and a maximum of 79% corn.

–        Other grains commonly used include rye, barley and wheat.

–        The varying amounts used of these other grains is part of the reason different brands vary in flavour.

            ii)          Must be distilled at less than 80% alc/vol

iii)         Must be stored in charred, new, white oak barrels at no higher than 62.5 alc/vol for a minimum of 2 years.

iv)        To be called Kentucky Bourbon the Whiskey must have been produced and aged in Kentucky.

vi)                To be called a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey all of the Whiskey in the bottle must have the above characteristics i.e. not blended with other Whiskey’s.

vii)               Other Whiskeys

a)      American Whiskey

–    Not aged or bottled in Kentucky, or does not meet other Bourbon requirements.

b)      Kentucky Whiskey

–    Not aged in new charred oak barrels as Bourbon requires, but is aged in Kentucky, or does not meet other Bourbon requirements.

c)      Rye Whiskey

   –    Mash containing at least 51% rye grain (Canadian Whiskey is rye based)

d)      Tennessee Whiskey

–        Made in Tennessee not Kentucky

–        Does not use Kentucky limestone water

–        Different filtration process  

–        Otherwise similar process

e)      Blends (any)

–        Bourbon Whiskey blended with non Bourbon Whiskey or spirit, may contain other additives (colour etc.) also.

–        For example Brands labeled  “ Distillery Blend” or similar.



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Last modified: April 20, 2017