As clarified in a previous post, we are readily aware of the difference between Bourbon and Whiskey. But what does all this jargon on the bottle?
(Even Consultant Joe asked about different terms and I responded “ I don’t know”. Then I received my Father’s Day T-shirt from my daughter proudly stating “I DRINK BOURBON AND I KNOW THINGS” so I did some research,,photo of t-shirt to follow)
The issue of Whiskey Advocate provides a Bourbon decoding. By the way I can recommend a couple of distillery women if they include a whisky centerfold. (Yes, properly dressed)
“As true advocates of whiskey we are aware that bourbon must be produces in the U.S. (well, until trump figures out a way to ruin that too)
And made primarily of corn and aged a new charcoal oak barrel. With homage to Kentucky, the general rule true bourbon is distilled in Kentucky but we are passionate about Bourbon/Whiskey from throughout the country.
Straight Bourbon is aged a least two years in new charcoal oak, while
Bottled in Bond bourbon comes from one distillery, was made in one distilling season, is 100 proof , and was aged at least four years.
Since we are purists beware of words like “flavored with” “with natural flavors” and “blended”
The declaration of Age represents the youngest whiskey in the bottle . Bourbon under four years old must list it’s age. Look closely, years, months, and even hours are acceptable measures of age.
The State of Distillation must be listed if it differs from the producer’s state. This can reveal if a bourbon was sourced (not distilled) by the producer.
Usually at the bottom a Batch Number suggests that the flavor varies across batches. Likewise Single Barrel bourbon comes from one barrel, offering a unique flavor and a limited number of bottles. Unique bottle numbers do not describe the contents , but can help thwart counterfeits.
These terms are not regulated but can provide useful clues about your whiskey
Sour Mash is a fermentation technique used by most bourbon distillers in which leftover material from a previous distillation benefits the fermentation of the next batch.
Finished bourbon enters a secondary barrel following it’s initial maturation to add flavors.
Non-Chill Filtered bourbon means more flavor and this is a good thing.
Pot Distilled indicates bourbon made using a batch process. Pot stills tend to produce a more robust flavor.”
Small Batch and Hand Crafted are a bit ambiguous but they sound cool. Not held to a particular meaning. A distiller is welcomed to correct me on this well or on anything.
Thank you again for the information Whiskey Advocate Summer 2018