Mostly corn , grown in the fertile Kentucky prairies , accompanied by small percentages of rye, wheat, and barley. But perhaps the most distinctive factor of its quality, and a source of pride in the region, is the purity of its water, which is filtered naturally into the limestone rock soil. And because of this, the oldest and most prestigious spirit drink of the country, Bourbon, was declared in 1964, by the United States Congress, as the “American national beverage.”
Some are surprised that such a celebrated spiritist has only eight distilleries , which produce more than a hundred brands, and this is because many of them closed during the years of Prohibition of alcohol consumption in the US. UU. (1920-1933), and after this long decade of inactivity, most did not resume production. Only one of them did not close its doors, Buffalo Trace , located in Franklin, the state capital of Kentucky, which obtained special permission to make alcohol for medical use.
The region where the main distilleries are located runs between the beautiful places of Lexington and Loretto. The famous Bourbon Trail (route of the Bourbon) has as its main axis the Blue Grass Parkway , which is named after the blue blades of grass in spring, suitable for breeding the famous Thoroughbred racing horses.
Some Europeans regard Bourbon as a simple and warm distillate, direct and unsophisticated, a topic that also apply to Americans. Nothing is further from reality, as the dynamism of the Bourbon, with its diversity of styles and rich creativity, makes it an international category cup. Although the ignorance of this reality is due to its consumption is reduced to the simpler range, often associated with juvenile rounds of shots. Although there is a country, Japan , which has become a true devotee of Kentucky Bourbon http://thebourboner.com/events/, to the point of being a major consumer, and acquire some of its most emblematic distilleries: Four Roses .
In Spain Bourbon begins to be prestigious as a complex and sophisticated drink, and in recent years we can enjoy very special bottling like the Single Barrel (Bourbon that comes from a single barrel, and whose numbering appears on the label); The Small Batch (bottled of very select barrels); Or Barrel Strengh (from the barrel to the bottle, with its high alcohol content, making it the most authentic Bourbon).
Each distillery has a secret recipe for cereals, as well as its own yeast which give character to the distillate are of great importance. The corn represents from 70% to 80%, accompanied by rye (15% -20%) that adds complexity to the mixture with fine spicy notes, and a small percentage of malted barley to help transform the starch Cereal in sugars. But there is a distillery, Maker’s Mark, whose main hallmark is softness, because they replace the rye with the wheat .
Once the cereals are cooked the yeast is added and they ferment, obtaining a rustic beer, that is distilled in great distilleries of column, that later is redistilled in small stills of copper to concentrate the flavors and to gain in aromatic fineness. The beautiful Woodford Reserve distillery is characterized by distilling its brandy in three small copper stills, a tradition that dates back to the time before Prohibition.
The reverend Baptist Elijah Craig , considered the father of the Bourbon (name that comes from the French kings Bourbons), was who discovered the properties that bring the new wood burned inside, the result of an accident in the roasting of the staves of a barrel . Since then it is only allowed to mature the Bourbon in new white oak barrels , for a minimum of two years, from which it obtains its beautiful amber color, naturally. And after the full maturity of the Bourbon, the barrels are sold to Scotland, Ireland, to raise tequilas or aged rums, in a second life much more longeva.
When visiting the gigantic breeding ships of some of Kentucky’s three great distilleries: Buffalo Trace , Heaven Hill or Jim Beam , you will be amazed by the huge number of barrels ripening whiskey. The temperature difference between the lower and upper part of the ship can exceed 10º C in summer, while in winter the cold environment causes the whiskey to expand and contract continuously.
For information about Bourbon please visit : http://thebourboner.com/.
At Maker’s Mark , his master distiller Kevin D. Smith tells us about his peculiar Bourbon breeding system. When ascending to the top floor we have the sensation of having entered a sauna, and to our surprise comments: “perfect, this is what we are looking for”; A strong evaporation of the whiskey in the high parts of the ship, and a greater freshness in the low, so that in a continuous rotation of barrels, Bourbon is better aged. While in Woodford Reserve , the thick limestone walls of its maturing ship prevent these temperature changes, so they warm the ship in steam in winter, and immediately open the windows to encourage a sudden change in temperature.
Not only is Bourbon made in Kentucky; In the state of Tennessee , is born the famous Jack Daniel’s whiskey , elaborated and matured in a very similar way to its northern neighbors, but with the peculiarity that it is filtered before bottling with maple charcoal, which gives it a marked softness.
Bourbon has gained in recent years complexity and sophistication, becoming a genuine American spirit, which is seducing more and more fans.