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Jack Daniel's is not Bourbon.

It seems a little pompous on my part to say so, yes, but Jack Daniel's is not bourbon. We should protest calling it so based on the fact that it is a Tennessee whiskey.

They are two different entities, Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey.

As a bartender I cringe when I see Jack Daniel's listed under a Bourbon menu. Again, I know it sounds a little odd to be annoyed by that, but you wouldn't call Bushmills a scotch, would you?

I prefer George Dickel No. 12 (Tennessee) anyway...

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  1. I agree with you 100%. Part of what CH is all about is learning new things, have discussions, correct misinformation, etc. Oh, and have fun talking about the best subjects in the world. Food and Beverages.

    39 Replies
    1. re: JMF

      I did a little research and found out that JD is made like any Bourbon, BUT it is then charcoal filtered. This is called the Lincoln County Process, and is the only difference between a Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey and a Bourbon. Also basically all Bourbons are sour mash.

      1. re: JMF

        Evan Williams, definitely a Kentucky Bourbon, is charcoal-filtered. I've got a bottle of it right here and the lable says in big letters: "Every Ounce Charcoal Filtered"

        Bourbon is named after Bourbon County, Kentucky, and can be made anywhere in the US, but Kentucky is the only state allowed to put its name on the bottle. Jack Daniels is not a bourbon, in that it is not subject to the same regulations as bourbon, such as low level of distilling proof.

        1. re: mojoeater

          Tennessee Whiskey is filtered BEFORE it is barreled/aged --- Bourbon is filtered AFTER barreling/aging ....Except for for a few barrel proof, unfiltered expressions that some distilleries market......This is the distinction that prevents Tenn. whiskey from being a bourbon...It's a violation of bourbon regulations --

          1. re: Uncle Bob

            The filtration process does not legally prevent Tennessee whiskey from being labeled as bourbon. There is no regulation barring bourbon from being filtered before aging--it's simply not part of the usual process. The companies that produce Tennessee whiskey have added this step and consider their product to be distinct from bourbon. But the law does not.

            http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-b...

              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                There is a lot of chill filtering going on after barreling of bourbon and many other spirits

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  According to the North American Free Trade Agreement, annex 313, Tennessee Whiskey IS legally "straight bourbon whiskey". It is not, however, "Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey".

                  Regardless of how you feel about JD, it is legally a bourbon.

                  1. re: coolhandgatsby

                    No, in order to be called bourbon the mash must consist of between 51% and 74% corn. I believe Jack Daniels in 50% corn.

                    The only geographical limitation is that it is made in the USA. It does not have to be Kentucky.

                    1. re: jpc8015

                      There is no maximum percentage of corn in the regulations about bourbon. There are several 100% corn bourbons on the market. Can you provide a source for that information?

                      1. re: JMF

                        It appears that we are both right...this is from Subpart C 5.22(1)(ii) of the CFR:

                        (ii) “Corn whisky” is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 80 percent corn grain, and if stored in oak containers stored at not more than 125° proof in used or uncharred new oak containers and not subjected in any manner to treatment with charred wood; and also includes mixtures of such whisky.

                        So the way I read it, if a whiskey is distilled from equal to or more than 80% corn it is considered a "corn whisky". But, you are right, there is no maximum amount of corn allowed for bourbon. So I believe that this means that a corn whiskey can also be a bourbon if it is done properly.

                        1. re: jpc8015

                          I looked a little closer and I stand corrected. Corn whiskey is aged in new oak without any char whereas bourbon is always stored in charred oak. I guess that is the distinction. JMF is right, I guess there is no upp limit on the amount of corn.

                          I still stand by the fact that Jack Daniels is not bourbon though.

                          1. re: jpc8015

                            Can you cite a reference that says Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 (Black Label) Tennessee Whiskey is produced from only 50 percent corn?

                            1. re: zin1953

                              I can't find anything. I might have pulled it out of my ass.

                              1. re: jpc8015

                                According to the new definition of Tennessee Whiskey signed into law yesterday, Tennessee Whiskey also must be at least 51% corn. In fact, the definition is that exact same as the federal definition for bourbon except that it must be made in Tennessee and filtered through sugar maple charcoal.

                                http://www.recenteats.blogspot.com/20...

                                1. re: sku

                                  Remember that law is only one state, Tennessee, not federal law. So it only has weight in the actual state of Tennessee.

                                  1. re: JMF

                                    That's right, but it effectively applies to nearly every company making Tennessee Whiskey since they are almost all located in Tennessee.

                            2. re: jpc8015

                              The only reason JD could possibly not be a bourbon is because they don't say so on the label.

                              Almost all whiskey is charcoal filtered after aging, before bottling. The only difference is for JD and Dickel they filter before putting in the barrel, as well as after. It is bourbon because the filtering isn't adding anything. Only removing harsher fusel oils and congeners.

                                1. re: JMF

                                  I just want to add that Tennessee Whiskey is now officially a sub-set of Bourbon due to the Tennessee State ruling. According to the State Ruling, it is made exactly as bourbon is, with the addition it has to be made in Tennessee, and it has to have that one additional filtering (the Lincoln County process), before aging. But, one brand, Prichard's, can call itself a Tennessee Whiskey, without doing the pre-barrell filtering.

                            3. re: JMF

                              There is both a lowest and highest limit for a bourbon.

                              Bourbon must be made with a mash (grain mixture) containing at least 51% corn …
                              It must be aged for some period of time in new charred oak barrels …
                              It must be distilled at no higher than 160 proof, and be barreled at no higher than 125 proof …
                              And finally, it must be bottled at 80 proof or higher (but less than 160 proof) …

                              http://www.nonkentuckybourbon.com/

                              1. re: MichaelRowland

                                Incorrect, theres no upper limit. If it's over 80% and sold unaged or aged in used barrels it can be sold as corn whiskey, but if it's aged in new barrels it's bourbon. See http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2009...

                                1. re: oknazevad

                                  It always helps to quote real sources, rather than blogs . . .

                                  CODE of FEDERAL REGULATIONS

                                  Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms

                                  PART 5—LABELING AND ADVERTISING OF DISTILLED SPIRITS

                                  Subpart C—Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits

                                  §5.22 The standards of identity.

                                  Sub-¶(b) Class 2; whisky. “Whisky” is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash of grain produced at less than 190° proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to whisky, stored in oak containers (except that corn whisky need not be so stored), and bottled at not less than 80° proof, and also includes mixtures of such distillates for which no specific standards of identity are prescribed.

                                  (1)(i) “Bourbon whisky”, “rye whisky”, “wheat whisky”, “malt whisky”, or “rye malt whisky” is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored at not more than 125° proof in charred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of the same type.

                                  ----> 27CFR, Part 5, Sub C, §5.22(b)(1)(i)

                                  1. re: zin1953

                                    Why bother? How many 1st and only time posters on this thread...

                                    1. re: ac106

                                      I don't bother for the one-time poster. I "bother" for the rest of the people who read this and may be misled . . .

                                      1. re: zin1953

                                        I may be a 1st timer but so was everyone else at some point. Great source and glad you were able to validate the upper proof limits.

                                        1. re: MichaelRowland

                                          That's right, there's an upper proof limit for distillation proof (160 proof/80 % abv) and barrel entry proof (125 proof/62.5 % abv). But no upper limit on the percentage of corn in the mashbill (which is what the earlier conversation was about and what I thought you were referring to earlier today). That's a common misconception, as people misinterpret the minimum 80% corn mashbill needed for corn whiskey as putting a ceiling on bourbon, when the big difference is that corn whiskey is sold unaged or aged in uncharred or used barrels (new charred barrels would make it bourbon, even if the mashbill was over 80% corn).

                                          1. re: oknazevad

                                            Okay, looks like we are in full agreement. TY for the info.

                                  2. re: oknazevad

                                    Just going from the source I posted. Seems to be accurate from the info zin1953 gave.

                    2. re: mojoeater

                      You better go back to your liquor store. I've seen bottles that said 'Texas bourbon' & 'Virginia bourbon'.

                      1. re: ja9554

                        You do realize you're responding to a comment made seven years ago, don't you?

                    3. re: JMF

                      No lime stone water not a bourbon. Not made in bourbon county Kentucky not a bourbon. Filtered not a bourbon. Jack is filtered threw charcoal, made with city water, not made in Bourbon County Kentucky. Jack is not in anyway a Bourbon!

                       
                      1. re: bird223

                        I recommend you read the last dozen posts.

                        1. re: bird223

                          Far be it for me to "step" on Southern pride, but . . .

                          / / / / /
                          CFR 27 (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), Part 5 (Labeling and Advertising of Distilled Spirits), Section 22 (Standards of Identity) states, in the relevant part:

                          (b) Class 2; whisky. “Whisky” is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash of grain produced at less than 190° proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to whisky, stored in oak containers (except that corn whisky need not be so stored), and bottled at not less than 80° proof, and also includes mixtures of such distillates for which no specific standards of identity are prescribed.

                          (1)(i) “Bourbon whisky”, “rye whisky”, “wheat whisky”, “malt whisky”, or “rye malt whisky” is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored at not more than 125° proof in charred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of the same type.
                          / / / / /

                          See http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/...

                          Nothing in there about having to originate in Bourbon County. Is that where it started? Well, in the ORIGINAL Bourbon County, VIRGINIA -- yes. Is that how the spirit got its name? Sure. MUST it come from there? No.

                          a) Loreto, KY -- where Maker's Mark is produced -- is in Marion County.
                          b) Lawrenceburg, KY -- where Four Roses is distilled - is in Anderson County.
                          c) Bardstown, KY -- where who knows how many Bourbon distillers are located -- is in Nelson County.
                          d) Frankfort, KY -- where Buffalo Trace and related brands are distilled -- is in Franklin County.

                          1. re: zin1953

                            Not many are aware of the Catholic History of the US, but Bardstown and Bourbon are tied directly to it. The French King in exile, Louis Philippe d'Orléans of the Bourbon dynasty was a supporter of a second diocese in the US other than Baltimore. Bardstown became the second Catholic Diocese in the US. The church sent Trappist (Cistercian) Monks from France in the early 1800's to establish faith in the region. The trappist monks became permanently established around 150 years ago (http://www.monks.org/). Those leaving Pennsylvania after the Whiskey Rebellion of the Washington administration moved into Kentucky and Tennessee and assimilated with these communities. The proto-Cathedral in Bardstown has many items donated by the French Monarch and as he was considered important, the drink of choice was named for the dynasty, Bourbon, the last name of the French Kings. Louisville is another example of the French influence in Kentucky. The Trappist Monastery in Bardstown, called Gethsemni Abbey is the largest consumer of Bourbon Whiskey in the State of Kentucky today. They use it to produce Bourbon fudge, Bourbon cakes, etc which can be purchased on line at http://www.gethsemanifarms.org/fudge....

                            1. re: creamsherry

                              Interestingly, to spite all the information, links and references presented here in opposition to bird223's position, creamsherry pronounces bird223, 100% correct. That settles it!

                              1. re: Bacchus101

                                Actually, creamsherry said "100% INcorrect," but who cares? As near as I can tell, August 27, 2011 was the last time bird223 posted on this site, so it's rather a moot point, don't you think?

                                1. re: Bacchus101

                                  bird223 is NOT 100% incorrect. Jack Daniels is indeed not make in Kentucky. See -- I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy. ;)

                              2. re: bird223

                                I suggest you take a trip to Lynchburg Tn. That "City water" you refer to is a spring that was selected by Jack himself when he set up the distillery.

                                http://www.jackdaniels.com/TheDistill...
                                Pay particular attention to the part that says "Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is made with cool, pure, iron-free cave spring water from right here in the Hollow."

                                DT

                          2. Thank you, I agree. Here are some other common whisky-related mistakes that are pet peeves of mine.

                            Contrary to popular belief, Bourbon does not have to come from Kentucky (this discussion is going on right now on another thread).

                            There is very little (and sometimes no) rye in Canadian "Rye" whisky.

                            Spell it whisky for Japanese, Scotch and Canadian; whiskey for American and Irish.

                            Johnnie Walker Blue is not the be all and end all of anything (okay, this is opinion, but still).

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: sku

                              There is no rye grain in Canadian Whisky. Canadian Rye Whisky however is typically 100% Canadian rye grain spirit.

                              Crown Royal and Canadian Club are not rye based anymore. Haven't been for years.

                              There are several very good rye-based Canadian Whiskeys, with Alberta Premium, Alberta Springs, and Centennial by Highwood coming to mind.

                              The lesson is: Read Your Labels!

                              1. re: Scary Bill

                                Thanks for the correction Bill, I was referring more to the tendency to refer to any Canadian Whisky as Rye, regardless of it's content.

                                1. re: sku

                                  And don't the distillers just love that. Most Canadians, and I can say this because I am one, don't have a clue that they're not drinking rye. Branding has a much stronger influence than product content, since most people never look beyond the name on th label.

                                  1. re: Scary Bill

                                    Canadian Club has a website, and right on there they say there's "rye, rye malt, barley and corn" in their most popular whisky. And if you look carefully they used to spell it whiskey, too.

                                    It is the rye that gives Canadian whiskies more earthy tones than American ones. American whiskey used to be mostly rye whiskies, but prohibition closed the legit distilleries. That left the hillbilly stills and the bootlegging Canadians. Bourbon had momentum when prohibition was lifted, so American rye never really made a comeback. Canada never stopped making the stuff, so whiskey with rye became more Canadian than American in association.

                                    So the myth that there's no rye in Canadian whiskey is a myth.

                                    1. re: blair_houghton

                                      "So the myth that there's no rye in Canadian whiskey is a myth."

                                      Well, yes and no. As some of the other posters have mentioned, Canadian whiskies do not have to disclose how much rye content is used in their mash. There may be some rye in CC, but it's certainly not "rye-based." It may be less than 1% rye. Indeed, most commercial Canadians consist of over half grain neutral spirits, which is why they are so light in flavor.

                                      American "Straight Rye" whisky, on the other hand, must, by Federal law, consist of at least 51% rye, or else it cannot be labeled and sold as such.

                                      1. re: craigasaurus

                                        And I have heard say that there is no similar regulation in Canada - is this really true? There are some Canadian whiskies that are 100% rye that don't bother to call themselves Rye on the label (Alberta Premium), others that call themselves Rye but I have no way of knowing how much rye is actually in them (Centennial Rye), and others that don't label as such but are still referred to as "rye" in bars (Crown Royal, Wisers, etc.). I recently blew a native Canadian's mind when I told him that what he knows as "rye" has almost no rye in it. Seriously - jaw dropping, mind-blown, stunned goodness.

                                        If there are no labeling regulations, is there any other reliable way to find out the specific grain content of Canadian whiskies? I have made it a personal crusade ever since I moved up here and the provincial monopoly has played hell on my bourbon acquisition. I like rye a lot, but I'm really not crazy about whiskey-flavored vodka.

                                        American rye, on the other hand, is most definitely getting the comeback it may never have had post-Prohibition. A friend of mine who has been working in Iowa for the last two months was just bemoaning the fact that the sudden demand for Templeton has set back their next bottling such that it's impossible to find in her area, and she was planning on restocking before heading home to St. Louis in a week. It seems most people are blaming the sudden rye rush on the current trend for reviving truly classic cocktails - many of which call for rye and just aren't the same made with bourbon.

                                  2. re: sku

                                    ok thanx bill...I should have read a little more before replying just above.

                                2. re: sku

                                  Blue Label=too smooth...I want what I'm drinking to at least taste like whisky.

                                  1. re: sku

                                    I am hearing you on everything, but am not on the rye part. I believe they are required to have a minimum percentage to have that label. I might be wrong here, but since I have read some weird theories on this thread I had to throw that out there. lol. jack is not only legally a bourbon but also a straight bourbon whiskey. cheers

                                    1. re: creamsherry

                                      Canada does not seem to regulate how much rye has to be in whiskey to label it "rye."

                                      Canadians refer to Crown Royal, Canadian Club, Wiser's, etc. generically as "rye." At this point, most Canadian whiskies have very little rye left in them, as sku says. There are some Canadian ryes out there, but they really have no labeling requirements that help you find out the rye content without some research. Alberta Premium and Alberta Springs are true ryes, but don't have the word anywhere on their label. Centennial Rye is a blend, but has enough rye that you can actually taste it, unlike the major labels.

                                      ETA: And now I realize that I have basically just repeated myself from two years ago.

                                  2. Who has been calling JD "bourbon"? Certainly not a mistake I can imagine any of the folks I know making.

                                    P.S., agree on the Dickel. Good stuff, particularly for the money.

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: Woodside Al

                                      In my five years bartending the majority of people refer to Jack as bourbon. Sometimes, I'd correct them if I weren't busy.

                                      1. re: Woodside Al

                                        I hear it sometimes when I order a bourbon & coke, and the bartender includes JD in the list of what he has available. *eyeroll*. Needless to say if I wanted a Jack & coke that's what I'd be ordering! It is definitely not the same thing.

                                        1. re: sockii

                                          Perhaps the bartender figured that since you ordered a bourbon & coke, you couldn't tell the difference anyway.

                                            1. re: craigasaurus

                                              *eyeroll* Yes, I am well aware it is a much-mocked drink in these parts. I happen to like it and can very well taste the difference between one made with Jack and one made with bourbon, thank you very much. Is there a need to turn this discussion into low-brow/high-brow drinking contest?

                                              1. re: sockii

                                                if it is, i'm gonna pull out the bottle of germain-robin XO i bought at Total Wine yesterday and win

                                                jack & coke, like schlitz & football, has its place in the world of comfort and propriety

                                                of course, at the moment, i'm watching zimmern's show and quaffing a sam smith's apple cider, so it's not comfort-zone sunday

                                                1. re: sockii

                                                  "I happen to like it and can very well taste the difference between one made with Jack and one made with bourbon"

                                                  Could you please describe the difference?

                                                  Thanks

                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                    I'm not good at putting words to taste sensations. Pardon me if I don't have the perfect foodie vernacular.

                                                    I just know what I like and what I don't. I like the taste of bourbon. I don't like the taste of Jack. I drink bourbon straight when I have the good stuff (typically at home as I hate paying bar prices for premium spirits); in a bar when I just want to relax with a pleasant, easy drink I like the taste of bourbon & coke. And if I get a Jack & coke instead it never tastes as good to me nor the same as even a cheap well bourbon & coke.

                                                    1. re: sockii

                                                      Question: Could your preference for bourbon over jack in a bourbon & coke be psychological? Have you compared them blind?

                                                      Thanks

                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                        By the time you are blind, do you think you can tell the difference?

                                                    2. re: Chinon00

                                                      Jack has an almost astringent, when compared to something like Maker's Mark, taste. It has a charcoal smokey peppery sort of bite to it on top of the whiskey. Something like Maker's or better bourbons are smoother and missing these additional flavors. Jack and coke balance each other out. Something like Maker's and coke just seems a bit flat, you taste the coke and a slight hint of the bourbon. The sweet in the coke combined with the jack has a more complex set of flavors. People can turn up their nose at jack all they want as being too common or low brow, but it does work well in certain drinks where other better whiskeys or bourbons just wouldn't.

                                                      1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                        The sharpness or lack thereof is due to the mash bill, not Tennessee style vs bourbon style. Maker's is a wheat-flavored bourbon and so has a very smooth, sweet flavor, but that's not typical of many other bourbons. Knob Creek, Bulleit, Old Grand Dad, and other rye-flavored bourbons have a lot more flavor/punchiness and will stand out quite a bit more in the mix.

                                                        1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                          Jack was better before they diluted it down to 40%. Still nothing so wrong, just a basic American whiskey.

                                              2. Now, this thread has turned into something interesting. In the first place, everyone seems to agree that the distinction (i.e., between bourbon and Tennessee whiskey) is meaningful, although there seems to be some uncertainty, even now, as to precisely what qualities define the difference. Tennessee whiskey surely tastes different from bourbon; but, then again (as at least 2 posts here acknowledge), Dickel does not taste the same as JD; which raises the obvious, but nevetheless as yet unanswered question: do bourbons (and, for that matter, Tennessee whiskeys) taste more like each other than they do the whiskeys in the other category? If so, then what is the nature of the distinction that defines the category (according to taste, I mean, not according to method of production)? If not, then what--apart from marketing, of course--is the purpose of the distinction?

                                                Clearly, the only responsible way of approaching this problem is for all truly interested parties to arrange whiskey tastings to compare, contrast, and report back here.

                                                13 Replies
                                                1. re: olfashiond

                                                  I agree. The OP states that "you wouldn't call Bushmills a scotch, would you?
                                                  " No, but Irish and Scotch are clearly distinguished by the use of peat in Scotch. The one Irish which I've had which utilizes peat is Tyrconnell. I enjoy it but I wouldn't confuse it with Scotch. On the other hand I have enjoyed both Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon in say a Manhattan.
                                                  So on a whiskey list it probably would be technically more accurate to separate Bourbon from Tennessee. But a shared "Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey" listing would also be acceptable to me.

                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                    Not to put too fine a point on it, but a Manhattan should be made with Rye anyway. IMO, there's more of a breadth of difference among various bourbons than between the Tennessee Sours and many of the Bourbons I've tasted.

                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                      Irish is triple distilled. that is the difference(or one difference) and what makes irish whiskey unique. the triple distill is theirs

                                                      1. re: creamsherry

                                                        Uh, no. There is nothing in the legal requirements/regulations/definitions of the Irish Whiskey Act of 1980 that REQUIRES it to be "triple distilled." Bushmill's puts that on its label as a marketing point, but that's it.

                                                        The act itself is found here: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1980/e...

                                                        While it IS true that Bushmill's, and some other distilleries also, distill three times, that is NOT a requirement.

                                                        1. re: zin1953

                                                          I never said it was a legal requirement, but it is a known fact they do it to differentiate between scotch, canadian whisky, etc.

                                                          1. re: creamsherry

                                                            Not *every* distillery does it, btw, and Irish whiskey is differentiated from Scotch, Canadian, Bourbon, etc. by the mash bill.

                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                              very good point plus thanx Zin. you got 30something yrs expeience and the bottom line all four are different.

                                                    2. re: olfashiond

                                                      tennessee whiskeys are filtered through sugar maple charcoal. bourbons are not. i believe that originally, bourbons had to come from bourbon county, in the same sense that a french "syrah" would be labeled cote rote, or a pinot noir labeled morgon, and the fact that the county of bourbon more than likely took its name from a ruling family of france seem to suggest that there may have been an influence toward regionallity. however, at this point all a whiskey needs to be called a bourbon is a majority of corn mash with a little rye thrown in (minus the sugar maple filtering)...plus extra flavor, not just from the barrel...supposedly elijah craig {spelling?} discovered the process of charring barrels when his (dis)still(ery) burned to the ground, leaving the salvagable barrels charred, and in his effort to save money he re-used them...hence charred oak barrels, the final ingredient for bourbon...(tho im not sure how much credence to give to the elija craig story)
                                                      still...i love bourbon.

                                                      1. re: the capers

                                                        Actually, there are a number of requirements for a whiskey to be called a bourbon (From Wikipedia):

                                                        Bourbon is an American form of whiskey made from (pursuant to U.S. law) at least 51% corn, or maize — typically about 70% — with the remainder being wheat and/or rye, and malted barley. It is distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof, and aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years. The two years maturation process is not a legal requirement for a whiskey to be called "bourbon," but it is a legal requirement for "straight bourbon." However, in practice, most bourbon whiskeys are aged for at least four years.

                                                        Bourbon must be put into the barrels at no more than 125 U.S. proof. Generally, it is then adjusted to 80–100 proof and bottled. Some jurisdictions, mostly in the United States, do not allow alcoholic beverages with over 40% alcohol content to be sold. However, the recent trend among distillers has been to return to higher proofs, and even “cask strength” bottlings.

                                                        Bourbon can legally be made anywhere in the United States where it is legal to distill spirits. Legitimate production is not restricted to Kentucky, although currently all but a few brands are made there, and the drink is associated strongly with that state...The name is taken from Bourbon County, Kentucky.

                                                        1. re: mojoeater

                                                          TITLE 27--ALCOHOL, TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND FIREARMS

                                                          CHAPTER I--ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO TAX AND TRADE BUREAU, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

                                                          PART 5--LABELING AND ADVERTISING OF DISTILLED SPIRITS

                                                          Subpart C--Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits

                                                          Sec. 5.22 The standards of identity.

                                                          (1)(i) ``Bourbon whisky'', ``rye whisky'', ``wheat whisky'', ``malt
                                                          whisky'', or ``rye malt whisky'' is whisky produced at not exceeding
                                                          160 deg. proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn,
                                                          rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored
                                                          at not more than 125 deg. proof in charred new oak containers; and also
                                                          includes mixtures of such whiskies of the same type.
                                                          (ii) ``Corn whisky'' is whisky produced at not exceeding 160 deg.
                                                          proof from a fermented mash of not less than 80 percent corn grain, and
                                                          if stored in oak containers stored at not more than 125 deg. proof in
                                                          used or uncharred new oak containers and not subjected in any manner to
                                                          treatment with charred wood; and also includes mixtures of such whisky.
                                                          (iii) Whiskies conforming to the standards prescribed in paragraphs
                                                          (b)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section, which have been stored in the type
                                                          of oak containers prescribed, for a period of 2 years or more shall be
                                                          further designated as ``straight''; for example, ``straight bourbon
                                                          whisky'', ``straight corn whisky'', and whisky conforming to the
                                                          standards prescribed in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, except that
                                                          it was produced from a fermented mash of less than 51 percent of any one
                                                          type of grain, and stored for a period of 2 years or more in charred new
                                                          oak containers shall be designated merely as ``straight whisky''. No
                                                          other whiskies may be designated ``straight''. ``Straight whisky''
                                                          includes mixtures of straight whiskies of the same type produced in the
                                                          same State.

                                                          (2) ``Whisky distilled from bourbon (rye, wheat, malt, or rye malt)
                                                          mash'' is whisky produced in the United States at not exceeding 160 deg.
                                                          proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye,
                                                          wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored in
                                                          used oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of the
                                                          same type. Whisky conforming to the standard of identity for corn whisky
                                                          must be designated corn whisky.

                                                          (3) ``Light whisky'' is whisky produced in the United States at more
                                                          than 160 deg. proof, on or after January 26, 1968, and stored in used or
                                                          uncharred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such
                                                          whiskies. If ``light whisky'' is mixed with less than 20 percent of straight whisky on a proof gallon basis, the mixture shall be designated ``blended light
                                                          whisky'' (light whisky--a blend).

                                                          (4) ``Blended whisky'' (whisky--a blend) is a mixture which contains
                                                          straight whisky or a blend of straight whiskies at not less than 20
                                                          percent on a proof gallon basis, excluding alcohol derived from added
                                                          harmless coloring, flavoring or blending materials, and, separately, or
                                                          in combination, whisky or neutral spirits. A blended whisky containing
                                                          not less than 51 percent on a proof gallon basis of one of the types of
                                                          straight whisky shall be further designated by that specific type of
                                                          straight whisky; for example, ``blended rye whisky'' (rye whisky--a
                                                          blend).

                                                          (5)(i) ``A blend of straight whiskies'' (blended straight whiskies)
                                                          is a mixture of straight whiskies which does not conform to the standard
                                                          of identify for ``straight whisky.'' Products so designated may contain
                                                          harmless coloring, flavoring, or blending materials as set forth in 27
                                                          CFR 5.23(a).
                                                          (ii) ``A blend of straight whiskies'' (blended straight whiskies)
                                                          consisting entirely of one of the types of straight whisky, and not
                                                          conforming to the standard for straight whisky, shall be further
                                                          designated by that specific type of straight whisky; for example, ``a
                                                          blend of straight rye whiskies'' (blended straight rye whiskies). ``A
                                                          blend of straight whiskies'' consisting entirely of one of the types of
                                                          straight whisky shall include straight whisky of the same type which was
                                                          produced in the same State or by the same proprietor within the same
                                                          State, provided that such whisky contains harmless coloring, flavoring,
                                                          or blending materials as stated in 27 CFR 5.23(a).

                                                        2. re: the capers

                                                          *OFF SUBJECT!*

                                                          < or a pinot noir labeled morgon, >???????? Morgon, last time I looked, was a cru Beaujolais, made from Gamay grapes.

                                                          1. re: the capers

                                                            >>> in the same sense that a french "syrah" would be labeled cote rote, or a pinot noir labeled morgon <<<

                                                            ONLY if that Syrah was indeed grown within the appellation of Côte-Rôtie. Gorwn anywhere else and it would *never* be called that. Now would it have been called that prior to the creation of the regulations for appellation Côte-Rôtie contrôlée (which, BTW, can include up to 10 percent Viognier); Hermitage was a much more popular wine back then.

                                                            As for Morgon, as Chef June has quite rightly pointed out, being one of the 11 Crus de Beaujolais, it is produced from the grape variety Gamay noir au jus blanc, and not from Pinot Noir.

                                                            1. re: the capers

                                                              I'm going to need a pair of Pince-nez and a pointer here. Cote Rotie is made from several different grapes, Syrah among them. Morgon is made from Gamay grapes not Pinot Noir. As the poster above said, CH is about learning. there is no requirement that Bourbon whiskey needs any rye to be called bourbon. there are minimum requirements of corn, but no other specs on the mash. the whiskey needs to be distilled to a maximum alcohol concentration (80% I recall,) and aged a minimum of 2 years. It is then be diluted and bottled at anywhere from 35% to 62% alcohol. this is from memory so subject to correction(especially the percentages) but basically the req's.

                                                          2. It's pretty common in my experience (over many years and U.S. states) to see Jack Daniel's freely substituted without comment when you order bourbon, particularly in places where the bartenders' skills don't extend much beyond pouring beer or highballs (e.g., bars catering to young drinkers, airplanes), and/or the selection of liquors is limited (e.g., wedding and conference receptions).

                                                            The vast majority of American bartenders have no idea what rye whiskey is; many who think they know, don't, reaching for Canadian whisky. Most Candians are blends with little or no rye grain content; a bare handful actually meet the US definition of straight rye, but they are little seen here.

                                                            Rye is still a mystery at many high-end bars that are reasonably serious about cocktail craft, though the situation has improved a bit in the last year or so as rye makers have invested more in marketing and tried to take its image upmarket with fancier, longer-aged bottlings.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                              Amazing to think now that rye whiskey once WAS whiskey for several generations of Americans. It was certainly what my father or grandfather meant when they asked for "whiskey." Now it's seemingly become very obscure (although very slowly regaining recogniton) and almost no bartender seems to know how to make, say, a proper Manhattan, but instead reaches for bourbon, Canadian, or, weirdly, Jack Daniel's.

                                                              1. re: Woodside Al

                                                                Yep, rye was the king of whiskeys in America for generations: the Father of Our Country distilled it, and it was the original base for all the classic whiskey cocktails. Without Prohibition, bourbon might have been relegated to a historical footnote, a forgotten bit of moonshine only referred to in old cowboy movies as "corn liquor", cheap firewater for thirsty roughnecks. I'm glad to see rye making a slow comeback: it's a great bit of authentic Americana, like jazz and peanut butter.

                                                                (For the record: I like Scotch and Irish, love bourbon, only got to know real rye a couple of years ago, but have become a minor evangelist for it.)

                                                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                >>> The vast majority of American bartenders have no idea what rye whiskey is; many who think they know, don't, reaching for Canadian whisky. <<<

                                                                Actually most I've seen reach for Old Overholt.

                                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                                  I like Old Overholt a lot, just picked up a bottle recently ($11 for a 750ml!), think it's a tremendous value, admire it for being a Prohibition survivor. Speaking only for Greater Boston, though, there's not one bar in fifty around here that stocks a single bottle of real, American straight rye whiskey. The situation is improving but still pretty dismal.

                                                                  I was at a high-end restaurant bar the other night (very trendy, of-the-moment Italian place), where the barmen know their stuff reasonably well, though I wouldn't put them in the top flight of serious craft bartenders in Boston. I ordered rye, the bartender scratched his head for a moment, then rummaged around to find their sole bottle, Jim Beam rye (which ain't terrible, but not my favorite). The next night, I was at the bar at the old Ritz-Carlton (which just recently became a Taj): ordered rye, got Canadian. The working-man's bars around here have no idea about it, tending to carry Jack, a couple of bourbons (Turkey, Beam, maybe Old Grand-Dad), an Irish or two, and a few Scotches. (Of course, folks around here still think Southern Comfort is based on whiskey, too.)

                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                    At what liquor store(s) in Boston can you buy Old Overholt? I've glanced around after hearing good things, but haven't seen it.

                                                                    1. re: wontonton

                                                                      I found mine at the Martignetti's on Soldier Field Road in Brighton. Given their broad selection of whiskies, I'm betting you could find it at Gordon's on Main St in Waltham, too.