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You know how people would wait outside the apple store all night to get their hands on the newest fruit?
Well, chairs are now being set up outside Bourbon distilleries where people spend their Friday nights waiting for the newest juice. And it’s not just about the iconic Pappy Van Winkle anymore.
Bourbon’s booming across the entire state. And it has been for a while. Growth has been incredible since the 1990s and it’s not expected to stop anytime soon. So, don’t fight it, ride the scorching hot Bourbon fever and taste what’s new on the Bourbon Block. No overnight camping needed.
It seems everybody’s developed a taste for Bourbon. We’d say that’s a good and a bad thing at the same time. Let’s see why.
On the one hand, the number of new, smaller distilleries that get their breakthrough on the market is going up, there are more new and exciting releases coming out, and the community of Bourbon aficionados is seriously growing. On the other hand, the juice can sometimes run out, and occasionally, you have to camp overnight outside a distillery to get a taste of the new limited-edition gem everybody’s after. But I guess that’s part of the fun, too?
Before we start tasting, let’s go over the Bourbon basics together again, shall we. Surely you’ve heard that all Bourbons are Whiskey, but not all Whiskey is Bourbon. What exactly does that mean?
It means there’s a strict set of rules that apply exclusively to Bourbon but not other Whiskey.
- Firstly, Bourbon must be crafted from a mash bill that’s at least 51% corn. This makes our juice sweeter than your typical Scotch.
- Then, the juice must be distilled to no more than 80% ABV and put into the barrel for aging at no more than 62.5% ABV.
- The aging must take place in new and charred oak barrels.
- Since we’re on the topic of aging, it’s worth pointing out Bourbon ages faster than for example Scotch due to the high temperatures in the warehouses. Know that if the bottle doesn’t tell you its age, then it’s at least 4 years old.
- If a bottle has been aged for at least 2 years and there’s no added coloring or flavoring, you can call it a straight Bourbon.
- The age of the youngest Whiskey in the bottle is also the age you’ll see on the label.
- Finally, Bourbon needs to be bottled at 40% ABV or more.
And finally, let’s touch upon what’s the deal with Bourbon and Kentucky. No, Bourbon doesn’t have to be made in Kentucky. Fine Bourbon can come from anywhere in the USA. However, it’s true that most of it does come from the Bluegrass State. And when we say most, we mean a whopping 95%. It’s also where the juice got its name after an area today called Bourbon County, Kentucky.
That’s it, we think you’ve got the Bourbon basics down and you’re ready for tasting the newest, finest juice on the block. But if you’re still thirsty for more funky facts, do read on.
1) Due to its high corn content, Bourbon’s going to be sweeter than other Whiskeys. Don’t be surprised if you taste plenty of flavors of vanilla, caramel, custard, butterscotch, marzipan, maple, honey, or chocolate among others.
2) Oak barrels contain a lot of vanillins, which is why there are a lot of vanilla flavors in the juice. Fun fact: Bourbon barrels can only be used once.
3) Fistful of Bourbon doesn’t get its name from spaghetti westerns. The name actually refers to the number of different Whiskeys that went into the blend with each finger representing a different Whiskey.
4) Coming from Ohio, Noble Oak plants one tree somewhere in the USA for every bottle they sell. Now, if that’s not noble.
5) Do you have a favorite Bourbon cocktail already? If not, the list of options is long with the most popular being Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Bourbon Sour, Boulevardier, Bourbon Sidecar, and Kentucky Mule. Mix it up!
6) Lexington Brewery & Distillery Co., where Town Branch Bourbon comes from, is the first Booze-making establishment in Lexington, KY, in over a century. It’s also the only brewery and distillery combination on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
7) Barrels of Bourbon outnumber people in Kentucky. Yep, that’s how much juice they produce there.
Speaking of breeding winner horses, two of Pinhook’s co-founders have horseracing in their DNA. Jamie Hill and Mike McMahon continue the tradition of their families as third-generation horsemen, owning a bloodstock agency and a thoroughbred racing company. Applying that knowledge to Whiskey just made sense.
Pinhooking means purchasing and rearing a foal based on its pedigree and either selling it or turning it into a champ racing horse. The same idea is behind Pinhook Bourbon: they source young Whiskey to mature and blend it into a blue-ribbon sipping Bourbon.