Tuesday, March 14, 2017
What Makes Whiskey a Bourbon?
Before becoming the principal at Peerless Real Estate Investments in Chicago, Derek Sulo graduated from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, with a bachelor’s in exercise science. In his spare time, Derek Sulo enjoys tasting new bourbons.
Declared by the United States Congress in 1964 to be “America’s Native Spirit,” bourbon has a long and rich tradition in the nation’s history. For a whiskey to be called bourbon, it must meet a number of specifications laid out in the Federal Standards of Identity:
- The mash (mixture of grains) to be distilled must be at least 51 percent corn (the remainder usually consists of malted barley and wheat or rye)
- The mash shall be distilled at no higher than 160 proof.
- The distilled mash shall be less than 125 proof when put into the barrel for aging.
- The distilled mash shall contain no additives.
- The distillate shall be aged in new charred oak barrels (any oak will do, but most barrels are made of white oak).
For a bourbon to earn the title of straight bourbon, it must age for at least two years. Furthermore, if the bourbon is less than four years old, the label must state its age.