Whiskey is a distilled beverage, as are beer and cider. These beverages are produced through the distilling process, which involves the fermentation of vegetables, fruit, or grains to produce ethanol. Whiskey is produced from grain mash, and is referred to as hard liquor because it is distilled, as opposed to other alcoholic beverages that are not produced from distillation.
The product used for fermentation has an effect on the product flavouring, as do the additives used, the type of container the whisky is stored in, and whether or not the whiskey is chill filtered to remove fatty acids. All these factors can affect whisky ratings. After being produced, whiskey is left to age in barrels; those that are made of charred white oak can add distinctive flavors from the wood.
The types of grain used to make whiskey include barley, corn, malted barley (which is called malt whiskey), malted rye, and wheat (which is called grain whiskey). Then, there are further classifications depending on how different grains and malts have been used. Single malt whiskey is created from one type of grain. Blended malt whiskey is a combination of several single malts from more than one distillery. If it’s called malt or pure malt, it is most likely to still be a blended variety. Blended whiskey is created from a blend of several malts and grains. Cask strength whiskey is one that is either undiluted or only very mildly diluted. Whiskey that is created from distilled corn is called bourbon whiskey.
There are different types of whiskeys from different countries: American whiskey, Australian whiskey, Canadian whiskey, Danish whiskey, English whiskey, Finnish whiskey, German whiskey, Indian whiskey, Irish whiskey, Japanese whiskey, Scotch whiskey, Swedish whiskey, Welsh whiskey, and more. American whiskeys can be produced from wheat, rye, malt, or corn mash. Of the corn variety, there are two kinds: corn whiskey, which has a minimum of 80% corn, and bourbon whiskey, which has a minimum of 51% corn.
So how did bourbon whiskey come to be called bourbon? It started during the American Revolutionary War, during which America received help from the French government. In order to show our appreciation to the French, many American counties were given French names, such as Bourbon County, Kentucky. The name Bourbon is from the House of Bourbon, French royalty. Bourbon County was later broken up into smaller counties, but people in the region continued to call the general geographic area Old Bourbon. American whiskey was developed in this region, hence the name.
What is your favorite bourbon? Leave it in the comments!