Vino is starting a bourbon club, slated for February, 2019.

On 4 May 1964, the United States Congress recognized Bourbon Whiskey as a “distinctive product of the United States.”   But what, exactly, is 'bourbon"?  I use the simple "ABC" of bourbon to help me remember:

A - American.  To carry the bourbon moniker, the whiskey must be made in America.
B - Barrels.  Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels.
C - Corn. Bourbon must be made of a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn.

Additional requirements for whiskey to be called bourbon:

Bourbon must be distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume).

Bourbon may not be introduced to the barrel at higher than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume).

Bourbon which meets the above requirements and has been aged for a minimum of two years, may (but is not required to) be called Straight Bourbon.

Bourbon aged for a period less than four years must be labeled with the duration of its aging.

If an age is stated on the label, it must be the age of the youngest whiskey in the bottle.


Interesting to note: because bourbon barrels can only be used once for bourbon, many scotch and now wine producers are utilizing the charged and used bourbon barrels in a final aging process for their wine, scotch or even rum.