Bourbon Glossary

Bottled in bond whiskey — or bonded whiskey — must be produced in a single distillation season by a single distillery, matured in a U.S. bonded warehouse for at least four years, and be bottled at 50% ABV, or 100 proof. Bottled in Bond

ABV Proof is defined as twice the alcohol content by volume. Bourbon is bottled at a minimum of 80 proof, which is 40% ABV. Alcohol by volume

Angels’ Share

The share of bourbon that evaporates from the barrel during the aging process and is taken “into the heavens.” It varies according to factors like heat and humidity, but averages about four to five percent of the total volume per year.

Age Statement

Bourbon must only carry an age statement if it’s older than two years but younger than four. Bourbon has no minimum aging period, with the exception of straight bourbon, which has additional legal requirements, including a minimum aging of two years.

A set of rules that require whiskey to

Bottled-In-Bond Act of 1897

High-proof, unfiltered and uncut bourbon straight from the barrel or cask. Barrel Proof

be aged and bottled according to a set of legal regulations to ensure the quality of any spirit labeled “whiskey.”

Bourbon legally has to be aged in new white oak barrels, and those barrels need to be burned and blackened. The char level affects the bourbon’s flavor. Char Level

A technique used in the production Lincoln County Process Liquid is filtered through sugar

The longer a bourbon stays in the barrel, the

So why does age matter?

more the barrel’s influence comes through in the flavor of the final product. The upper limit for bourbon is typically 10 years because of the climate conditions in KY.

of Tennessee whiskeys like Jack Daniel’s.

maple charcoal before going into the barrel for aging.

a bourbon’s list of ingredients, or its recipe

Mash Bill

Just what it sounds like — bourbon distilled in limited quantities.

Small Batch

Single Barrel

sometimes referred to as single cask

Bourbon must, by law, contain at least 51% corn, but the other grains in the mash bill are up to the distiller.

Most bourbon that’s put in a bottle is the product of blending multiple barrels together. Single barrel bourbon comes from an individual aging barrel. Famous single barrel bourbons include the original, Blanton’s, which is produced at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.

This is the process of using leftover mash from a previous batch to start the fermentation of a new batch, a method similar to using a sourdough starter for bread. Sour Mash

The warehouse or building where barrels full of bourbon are stored for aging. Rackhouse or Rickhouse


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