What's in a Name? All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey — or whisky, depending on where you’re from — is bourbon. By federal law, bourbon must be made in the United States, whereas whiskey can be distilled anywhere in the world. Scotch is technically whisky that has been distilled and matured in Scotland; Irish whiskey is made in Ireland. Canadian whisky is made get the picture. Bourbon must be made with a fermented mash of at least 51% corn. That high corn mash bill gives bourbon a distinctive sweetness not found in most whiskeys. Other flavoring grains such as rye, wheat and malted barley are added for flavor complexity. Conversely, Scotch and Irish whiskey are made mostly from malted barley. If they are made from a single distillery — and with malted barley and water — they are referred to as single malt. In bourbon mash, all the grains are fermented together. In Canada, each grain is usually fermented, distilled and aged separately before being combined in the finished mature whisky product. As with bourbon, corn is usually the primary grain. And while American rye whiskey requires a minimum of 51% rye in the mash bill, there’s no legal requirement for any rye percentage in Canadian whisky. Bourbon must be distilled at no more than 160 proof, while other whiskies must be distilled to no more than 190 proof. Moreover, bourbon must be stored in new, charred oak barrels, which impart that distinct brown color and mellow taste. Though standard whiskey barrels must be oak, they need not be new or charred. Not to confuse you even more…straight bourbon must be aged for a minimum of two years, while the cheaper stuff can be distilled, bottled and sold in as little as three months. Scotch and Irish whisky, however, must be aged for at least three years. Unlike other whiskeys and whiskys — Irish, Canadian, Scotch — bourbon cannot contain any added flavors or coloring. What you get from the barrel is what you get in the bottle. Water is added exclusively to bring down the proof, though you can find rare “barrel proof” bourbons with little to no added water. But be forewarned: You’ll really feel it the next day. BOURBON TIP: The best way to think about flavored whiskeys like Fireball, Crown Royal Regal Apple and others is not like a shot of whiskey, but more like a well-made bourbon cocktail. There are also flavored whiskey liqueurs, like Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and Evan Williams Honey, and the original, Wild Turkey American Honey, which begin with a whiskey base that is then sweetened or flavored with honey, vanilla, apple, ginger or herbs. Don't confuse liqueurs with liquors, which are often best sipped straight. Liqueurs are best mixed into cocktails.

BOUR BON TIP: I have more than 90 open bottles in my whiskey room. I want them to keep, so I’m smart about storage. Two things will change the flavor of your liquor over time: sunlight and oxygen. The first one’s easy — just keep your bottles out of direct sunlight. But avoiding oxygen is almost impossible. You’ve experienced oxidation before. Remember the last time you opened a bottle of wine and didn’t finish it? It tasted like vinegar a couple of days later. That’s oxidation at work. Rum, whiskey and other liquors don’t oxidize as quickly; it takes many months and sometimes even years. Over time, the flavors will turn a little flat and lose some of the robustness from when you first opened the bottle. One more thing — always store your liquor upright. Storing a bottle of liquor on its side might corrode the cork after a while, which causes — you guessed it — oxygen to get inside. — BOBBY CHILDS, ADVENTURESINWHISKEY.COM BOURBON TIP: If you like bourbon, try a whisky that has matured in old bourbon casks (barrels that have previously aged bourbon). Glenmorangie Original fits the bill; this single malt Scotch has aged for 10 years in ex-bourbon barrels. You’ll pick up familiar bourbon notes like vanilla and coconut. The Glenlivet 12-year-old is another single malt Scotch option that features a balanced flavor profile of creamy vanilla and pineapple notes, courtesy of its time spent maturing in American oak barrels. And Irish whiskies like Jameson and Tullamore D.E.W. carry over those caramel, vanilla and light fruit notes found in bourbons like Bulleit or Four Roses. But don’t expect these whiskies to be as bold as bourbon. Their aromas and flavors are bit more subdued, which can be a good thing. — BOBBY CHILDS, ADVENTURESINWHISKEY.COM

BULLEIT (pronounced bullet) is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey based on a family recipe created by founder Tom Bulleit’s great-great-grandfather. Bulleit 10’s mash bill of 68% corn, 28% rye and 4% malted barley is the same as regular Bulleit, though it has a slightly higher proof (91.2 vs. 90 proof of regular Bulleit). Bulleit was made at the Four Rose Distillery until its first dedicated distillery, a 300-acre facility in Shelbyville, Kentucky, opened in 2017.

Formerly known as Yellow Label, FOUR ROSES ORIGINAL is a blend of Four Roses’ 10 bourbon recipes, which are made from five different strains of yeast and two different mash bills. The distillery is based in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

BARREL PROOF Winemakers use oak for fermenting, aging or both. But bourbon barrel-aging — finishing in new, heavily toasted American oak — can help boost wines’ flavor and richness. We recommend Stave & Steel Cabernet, Cooper and Thief Red Blend, The Federalist Barrel Aged Zinfandel or Beringer Bros. Bourbon Barrel Aged Chardonnay.

BARREL PROOF We sell whiskey from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Japan and, of course, from right here in the United States —more than 421,000 bottles a year. Crown Royal, with its iconic purple bag, is our number one seller.


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