What’s In A Name?

Bourbon is a type of Whiskey but not all Whiskey is Bourbon.

There is only one way to make  Bourbon - well two:

  1. It must be made in the United States to be called Bourbon.
  2. It must be made with at least 51% corn.

Of course, water and oak barrels come into play too but without the first two, you’ve just got whiskey. There is so much to know about what goes into your favorite sip of Bourbon and no better way to take it all in than to join us at this year's Bourbon Classic.

A co-producer of the Bourbon Classic and one of the publishers of The Bourbon Review, Seth Thompson, breaks down to the very basics, the ABC’s of Bourbon:

Those rules MUST be followed to call your brown booze Bourbon. But it wasn’t always this regulated. In fact, no one can confirm, unequivocally, who made the first Bourbon. What we do know is the historical path to the Bourbon we drink today is a long road that eventually leads to Kentucky.






Kentucky is so deeply entrenched in the making of Bourbon, it runs through the rock and the soil and shines from the sun. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? We think so and our Bourbon Classic organizers pulled together the best way to enjoy the Bourbon Classic sharing our host hotel and local haunts you shouldn’t miss. When you venture out, you’ll hear a lot of talk about Kentucky being integral to the making of Bourbon. Lux Row Distillers in Bardstown, Kentucky explains the process beautifully:

The Bourbon Capital of the World: Rock, Water, Soil, Weather.

Kentucky sits on a bed of blue limestone. When water flows through the rock, it picks up minerals that not only add flavor but also act as a filter, eliminating bitter elements such as iron.

Kentucky has hard water with a high pH and a high proportion of minerals, including calcium and magnesium. The yeast in bourbon thrives with these minerals as they aid in the fermentation process and create the distinctive, crisp taste of Kentucky Bourbon.

Kentucky has the perfect soil for growing the major ingredient in bourbon: corn. Corn has been grown in Kentucky since the 1700s. In fact, corn is grown in every county in Kentucky.

Hot in the summer, cold in the winter: the kind of weather that works well for making Bourbon. The shifts in temperature impact the wooden barrels causing them to expand and contract as they age. As the barrel expands, the whiskey seeps in, absorbing the properties of the charred wood. As the barrel contracts, the whiskey flows back out, leaving a taste of the barrel and giving the golden amber color.

Why the Barrels Matter?

Bourbon, by law, must be aged in a brand-new, charred white oak barrel and a barrel can only be used once for bourbon. These requirements promise better aging and coloring because, by law, no artificial colorings or flavorings can be added.

Now you know just enough about Bourbon to be dangerous. Consider rounding out your education this November at the Bourbon Classic. We promise you’ll meet many others who share your passion and we will continue your education with one-of-a-kind experiences.

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