For a whiskey to be called a bourbon, the mash must contain at least 51% corn. The mash must be distilled at 80% ABV or less and the distillate must be stored in charred new oak barrels at 125 proof or less and may not contain any additives.
Kentucky produces 95% of the world’s bourbon, however, bourbon can be produced anywhere in the United States- this includes Buffalo Trace bourbon.
The federal standards governing the identity of bourbon dictate that is a “distinctive product of the United States” and the word “bourbon” may only be used for whiskey-based distilled spirits produced in the United States.
The name bourbon comes from the House of Bourbon, a European royal house of French Origin. There is also Bourbon County in Kentucky and Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
A bourbon that has been aged for less than four years must have an age statement on its label. Straight bourbon must be aged for at least 2 years. For it to be recognized by the EU as a whiskey, it must be aged for at least three years.
Bourbon has a diverse flavor. It is typically characterized by oak, vanilla, caramel, and spice.
Bourbon is used in a variety of cocktails such as Manhattan, Whiskey Smash & Melon Splash. The name bourbon was first used in 1850 and has been distilled since the 18th century.
Bourbon account for about 66% of all United States export of distilled liquor.
Different types of Bourbon
- Standard Bourbon
- Kentucky Bourbon – The distillery must be located within Kentucky, however, the grain may be sourced elsewhere. The limestone-rich soil makes the water in this area unique resulting in a bourbon that is rich in flavor.
- Tennessee Whiskey – This whiskey has a unique filtering technique called the “Lincoln County Process”. The distillate is filtered through charcoal chips often produced from maple wood.
- Straight Bourbon – Straight bourbon may be mixed with another straight bourbon if it is produced in the same state. Straight bourbon may not contain any flavoring or coloring.
- Small-Batch and Single barrel Bourbon – These are premium types of Bourbon. It produces a unique flavor and is usually produced using a single barrel.
- Sour Mash Bourbon – It consists of reserving a small amount of fermented mash for another batch the following year. The result is better consistency of flavor between each production year.
- Bottled in Bond Bourbon – These Bourbons must be aged for at least four years and must be during the same season in one distillery. The aging must take place in bonded warehouses where it may be supervised by the US government. It must have an ABV of 50%.
- Blended Bourbon – This must contain at least 51% straight Bourbon
- High-Rye & Wheated Bourbon – The corn mash is complemented by an additional 20-35% rye. This adds to the bourbon’s spiciness and depth.
Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace Distillery is a distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. It has been known by several names such as George T Stagg Distillery and Old-Fashioned Copper distillery.
On the 11th of March 2013, it was named a National Historic Landmark. It got its name from an ancient buffalo crossing the banks of the Kentucky River.
The namesake bourbon brand, Buffalo Trace Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey was introduced in August 1999. It claims to be one of the oldest distilleries in the United States and is currently owned by The Sazerac Company.
Distillation started in 1775 by Hannock Lee and his brother Willis Lee. The first distillery was built in 1812 by Harrison Blanton. In 1870 Edmund H Taylor bought the distillery and named it the Old Fire Copper distillery.
Eight years later it was sold to George T Stagg. Stagg installed the first steam heating in storage warehouses in 1886. This was the first climate-controlled warehouse for aging bourbon.
During Prohibition, the distillery was allowed to produce whiskey for medicinal purposes. In 2016 Buffalo Trace Distillery announced plans to expand its operation with a $200 million investment.
Production capacity at Buffalo Trace distillery is estimated at about 2 650 000 gallons of Bourbon per year. Although it is known for its bourbon, it also produces other spirits such as Rye Whiskey and Vodka.
The following brands are produced by Buffalo Trace Distillery
- Buffalo Trace – straight bourbon
- E.H. Taylor – Small batch, single barrel, and barrel proof straight bourbon and rye.
- Eagle Rare – straight bourbon and 17-year antique collection
- George T Stagg – barrel proof straight bourbon
- Stagg Jr – barrel proof straight bourbon
- McAfee’s Benchmark – straight bourbon
- F.C – straight bourbon
- Old Charter – straight bourbon
- Old Charter Oak – straight bourbon
- Old Taylor – straight bourbon
- Peychaud’s Bitters
- Platinum 7X and Platinum 10X – vodka
- Sazerac – straight rye and Sazerac antique collection
- Thomas H Handy – barrel-proof straight rye
- L. Weller
- Wheatley – vodka
- Ancient Age – straight bourbon
- Blanton’s single-barrel – straight bourbon
- Hancock’s President’s Reserve – single barrel straight bourbon
- Elmer T. Lee – single barrel straight bourbon
- Rock Hill Farms – single barrel straight bourbon
- Old Rip Van Winkle – straight bourbon (wheated)
- Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve – straight bourbon (wheated)
- Van Winkle Special Reserve – straight bourbon (wheated)
- Van Winkle Family Reserve – straight rye.
The Buffalo Trace Range and Pricing
The Buffalo Trace range consists of 5 brands, The Straight bourbon, Experimental Collection, Single oak Project, White Dog, and Bourbon Cream.
- Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 750ml – $22.00
This deep amber bourbon has aromas of vanilla, mint & molasses. It is pleasantly sweet with notes of brown sugar and spice that give way to toffee, oak dark fruit, and anise. It has a long smooth finish. It is the winner of various international awards.
- Experimental Collection – Various pricing
There are more than 30 000 experimental barrels of bourbon. It is bottled and sold on a limited base. The taste of each barrel is unique depending on the mash bill, wood type, environment, and age.
- Single Oak Project – Various pricing
The taste profile is unique, depending on the recipe, barrel seasoning, char level, tree cut, and wood grain. The is the most extensive bourbon experiment ever.
- White dog – Various pricing
The distillate is clear and unaged. It has a sweet aroma with a slight burn. The corn coats the tongue with oil with vanilla. The range consists of Mash #1, Wheat mash, and Rye Mash.
- Bourbon Cream – 750ml – $24.00
The liquor is rich and sweet. The smooth taste of Buffalo Bourbon compliments the creamy vanilla flavor.
Competitors’ Products and Pricing
- Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 750ml – 43% ABV – $16.00
- Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 750ml – 45% ABV – $48.00
- Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 750ml – 40% ABV – $25.00
- Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky – 750ml 45% ABV – $32.00
- Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey – 750ml – 46.5% ABV – $25.00
- George Dickel Rye Whiskey – 750ml – 45% ABV – $28.00
- Old Forester Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey – 750ml – 50% ABV – $29.00
- Bulleit 95 Rye Whiskey – 750ml – 45% ABV – $33.00
- Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey – 750ml – 50% ABV – $37.00
- Redemption Wheated Bourbon – 750ml – 48% ABV – $45.00
- WL Weller Special Reserve – 750 ml – 45% ABV – $60.00
- 1792 Bourbon Sweet Wheat – 750ml – 45.6% ABV – $65.00
- Old Elk Straight Wheat Whiskey – 750ml – 50% ABV – $72.00
How to Make a Manhattan
- 2 ounces of bourbon
- 1 ounce of sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 1 dash of orange bitters
- Brandied cherry or lemon twist
Add the bourbon, sweet vermouth, and both bitters to a missing glass with ice. Stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe then garnish with Brandied cherry or a lemon twist