“ Type: Whisky „
Me and my hubby are bourbon drinkers - straight over ice - can't be doin' with coke and spoiling a great drink.
Don't bother with Jacks, although it comes in that iconic bottle, unless it's Black Label or single barrel. At the moment we're nearly finished a bottle of Jim Beam Distillers Series which is 90% proof and it's absolutely lovely.
I think my favourite must be Four Roses (Guns'n'Roses to me!) but Knob Creek, Makers Mark, Woodford Special Reserve are all very good and too many others to recall. The charred oak barrels impart a varying level of vanilla to the liquor and the time spent ageing in the barrel has to be taken into account in the end product.
Bearing in mind the fact that Kentucky was divided by the American Civil War for about five years, which must have created huge problems for the various distilleries, you can imagine a lot might have closed down and their own distilling secrets perhaps lost forever. Maybe, I don't know - just a theory.
If you love you're bourbons try The Whisky Exchange they have a pretty impressive range.
Remember folks - drink sensibly and don't drive!!!
What is Bourbon?
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Not to be confused with the biscuit, the name 'Bourbon' refers to an American whisky which is made from a mixture or 'mash' which contains at least 51% corn.
Although most brands are manufactured in Kentucky, the popular whisky doesn't actually have to come from a specific region of the US to qualify as a Bourbon. It does however have to follow a certain set of requirements to achieve its classification. Apart from the corn content which we've already mentioned, the drink must not be more than 80% alchohol, and has to be aged in new charred oak barrels. It was named after Bourbon County, which is said to be the birthplace of the beverage.
The drink was most popular in the 1960's, but by the early 70's its appeal had begun to fade. Nowadays it's as popular as ever, and according to Wikipedia, "In 2007, United States spirits exports, virtually all of which are American whiskey, exceeded $1 billion for the first time".
Which Brands Make Bourbon?
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There are a variety of companies which manufacture Bourbon, many of which have a rich history. Some of the better known labels include; Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, Knob Creek, Old Fitzgerald, and Buffalo Trace.
Bourbon's are widely available in specialist shops and supermarkets, and prices generally start around the £14 mark for a half decent 70cl bottle. From Tesco, the Jim Beam 'White Label' Bourbon costs £13.28, and is a light introduction to the whisky. This is actually a pretty good deal, as Sainsbury's currently sell the same bottle for £17.99.
In conclusion, Bourbon's are an interesting alternative to Scotch and Irish whiskies. Their taste can often be spicy and 'vanilla-ey' (not a word I know...!), and there are a world of flavours to explore.
I'm a bit of a whiskey drinker, Jim Beam, Canadian Club, J Walker Black label - problem is that if I'm buying a bottle at home, these can get a little pricey. So against my better judgement I bought an own brand bottle: Tesco's Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Perusing the alcohol aisle, my eyes were drawn in by the Tesco's own brand packaging, it is similar to another better know brand's ads and has an old man grinning inanely, captured in black and white. So I got home, poured myself a glass over ice and with some coke (yes, I know, sorry, just like my whiskey with coke - not too much though), and braced myself. I was pleasantly surprised, it is a smooth tasting and fairly mellow bourbon - definatly one which I'd recommend. Good packaging, good price (around 10 pounds?), good smell and lovely taste - what more can I say?
Bourbon Whiskey must contain a minimum of 51% corn, be produced in the United States, be distilled at less than 80% ABV (160 proof) and be aged for a minimum of two years in new charred barrels, although in practice virtually all straight whiskies are aged at least four years.