What Does Bourbon Taste Like? Flavors Of Bourbon, Bourbon Vs Whiskey

What Does Bourbon Taste Like

“America’s Native Spirit” – that is how Bourbon is shortly defined. 

So, what is this Bourbon? How different is it from Whisky or Whiskey? What does Bourbon taste like? Is it any different from other types of Whiskies? Let us find out!

Before we jump into the nuances of Bourbon, we must first understand the basics!

What is Bourbon?

By Law, a drink is called Bourbon if it complies with certain factors. So, what are they?

1. Mash Bill

The mash from which the Bourbon is made MUST contain at least 51% Corn. The remaining can be anything like barley, rye or wheat.

2. Location

Bourbon must be produced in the United States. Anything that is still produced with 51% Corn but outside the US is NOT a Bourbon. At least, by Law.

3. Maturing

Bourbon must be aged only in new, charred white oak barrels. Any other types of casks are not allowed.

4. Age Statement

Label must contain Age statement only if it is aged for less than two years old.

5. Proof

Bourbon must be distilled up to 160 proof, put up in barrels for aging up to 125 proof and bottled no less than 80 proof (or 40% ABV)

Coming to the actual question now.

What does Bourbon taste like?

One important thing about the Bourbon law states that No additives like Coloring or flavoring should be added while production. So, where do all these tastes and aromas come from, you must be wondering?

Just like how a Whiskey gets its flavors and aromas, Bourbon gets them from the Oak barrels where they are toasted, and aged.

The processing of aging in Oak barrels adds so many flavors left from the toasting and charring of oak barrels.

So what are some of the distinctive flavors of a Bourbon?

Flavors Of A Bourbon

Flavors Of Bourbon

Vanilla & Caramel notes

Corn mash, after distillation and during the aging process, goes through a transformation in the Oak barrels where the Corn flavors are slowly replaced by vanilla and caramel notes.

It is said that at least 4 years of aging is required to get a distinct Vanilla & Caramel flavor.

Caramel notes are higher in certain brands of Bourbon and these flavors come exclusively from the Charred barrels.

When the alcohol enters into the barrels, it reacts with the barrel wood and brings out the caramel flavors.

Bourbon with Vanilla & Caramel notes are particularly sweet and smooth and very good for drinking neat or in cocktails.

Maker’s Mark is a perfect example of Sweet Bourbon.

Cinnamon & Nutmeg notes

A perfect example of Cinnamon flavor dominating is from the high percentage of Rye next to Corn.

Bourbon made from higher Rye content next to Corn tends to show Cinnamon notes. Higher barley content gives a nutmeg flavor to the Bourbon.

These flavors are usually Spicy, in the sense they are not HOT but more of a Baking Spice flavors.

Buffalo Trace has a unique Spicy flavor that you can try out now.

Wooden notes

Wooden notes are generally characterized by the flavors of dried nuts like Almond, Walnut and Pecan. This flavor is characteristic to the aging process in the barrels.

The longer the aging, the more wooden notes the Bourbon gets. They tend to get notes of Tobacco when aged longer.

Elijah Criag is the perfect example of Wooden flavored Bourbon.

Floral notes

These notes are peculiar to the yeast being used for fermentation. You generally feel the notes of herbs and fruits like Orange, Mint, and Vanilla as a part of these floral notes.

Woodford Reserve can be tried out if you are a beginner for Bourbon.

Here comes an interesting question now. What is the difference between a Bourbon and a Whiskey?

Bourbon vs Whiskey:

Bourbon Vs Whiskey

Now that you know everything about a Bourbon, it is easier to understand what a Whiskey is.

It is basically distilled from Grain mash, particularly from Malted Barley. While Whiskey can be produced from any country in the world, Bourbon must come from America only.

On the other hand, Whiskey can be made from any fermented mash like barley, wheat, rye, etc and for Bourbon, you know the answer already – at least 51% corn.

When it comes to aging, Whiskey must be aged in Oak barrels, without any restrictions here whereas Bourbon must be aged in new, charred white oak barrels.

In short, all Bourbon are Whiskey, but not all Whiskey are Bourbon.

How many types of Bourbon are there?

There are different types based on a few characteristics like the Grains used for Mash, Aging and so on.

Based on Grains used, Wheated Bourbon contains higher Wheat content next to Corn and High Rye Bourbon, just as you guessed it right, has higher Rye content next to Corn.

Based on Aging, a Straight Bourbon must be aged for a minimum of 2 years. It is mandatory.

Based on Barrels, a Single-barrel bourbon must come from a single barrel only as opposed to Single-batch bourbon which can be a blend of several barrels stored at the same batch.

Based on Location, a Kentucky Bourbon must invariably be produced in the state of Kentucky. In fact, Bourbon originated from Kentucky, in a place called, well, BOURBON.

Ok, we have seen enough of Bourbon Whiskey and I am sure you must be tempted to ask – How should I drink Bourbon?

How should I drink Bourbon?

Well, there is no hard and fast rule to this question. In fact, for any drinks, you can taste them in several ways.

1. Neat

Just Bourbon and nothing else. No Ice, no Water, no nothing!

2. Straight

Add a little bit of ice cubes, shake or stir them and strain them onto a tumbler.

3. On the Rocks

A classic way of drinking whiskey, in general. Serve Bourbon in a Rocks Glass and add ice cubes, so they melt and slowly dilute your drink.

4. With Water

Yet another simple way of drinking. Little bit of water is known to bring our arena of flavors out. Chilled water is better.

5. Cocktails

Oh yeah! A plethora of Bourbon cocktails await you if you are to explore this segment.

Finally, hope you have had a taste of What Bourbon is, by now! It is never too late to taste a good bourbon. 

Have a safe drink!

Trending Now

More To Explore

Tags

whiskey v bourbonwhiskey and bourbon the same thingwhats the difference between whiskey and burbonwhiskey and bourbonwhiskey bourbon differenceirish whiskey old fashionedis bourbon the same thing as whiskeyis whisky bourbonwhat is the difference in bourbon and whiskeywhat makes a whiskey bourbonwhat is the difference between whisky and bourbonwhiskey vs bourbon whiskeyis bourbon a whiskeyis bourbon whiskey the same as bourbonwhats the difference between bourbon and whiskeywhat's difference between bourbon and whiskeykentucky whiskey vs bourbonis bourbon better than whiskeywhat are bourbonswhisky or bourbonwhiskey or bourbonwhat is the difference between a bourbon and a whiskeywhat is bourbon flavorwhat is bourbon vs whiskeythe difference between bourbon and whiskeyis bourbon sweetwhisky vs whiskey vs bourbonwhat's the difference between whisky and bourbonwhat is the difference between whiskey and bourbonis burbon whiskeyis bourbon the same as whiskeywhat type of alcohol is bourbonwhat's the difference between a bourbon and a whiskeyis there a difference between whiskey and bourbonwhats the difference between burbon and whiskeyis whiskey and bourbon the same thingwhiskey vs burbonis whiskey a bourbonwhat is the difference between bourbon and bourbon whiskeywhat makes bourbon different than whiskeyis bourbon different than whiskeywhat's difference between whiskey and bourbonis whiskey same as bourbonwhats the difference in whiskey and bourbonwhats bourbon made ofstraight whiskey vs bourbonwhat's the difference between whiskey and bourbon whiskeyis whiskey burbonwhat is smoother whiskey or bourbontaste of bourbonis bourbon and whiskey the samewhat is the difference between whiskey and bourbon whiskeywhat is the difference in whiskey and bourbontypes of bourbonwhiskey vs bourbonwhat's bourbon made out ofwhat type of liquor is bourbonwhat does bourbon taste likewhiskey versus bourbonwhats a bourbonwhisky vs bourbonhow should i drink bourbonwhat makes bourbon different from whiskeyis all whiskey bourbonwhat is the difference between burbon and whiskeyis whiskey bourbonis bourbon a type of whiskeywhat's the difference in bourbon and whiskeywhisky versus bourbonthe difference between whiskey and bourbonis there a difference between bourbon and whiskeyhow to drink bourbonwhat's bourbon made fromis bourbon same as whiskeyis whiskey the same thing as bourbonis bourbon a whiskywhat the difference between whiskey and bourbontaste difference between bourbon and whiskeyis whiskey bourbon the same thingwhisky v bourbonis bourbon whiskeywhat's the difference between whiskey and bourbonis bourbon whiskyis whiskey the same as bourbonis bourbon sweeter than whiskeywhat is the difference between bourbon and whiskywhat is the difference between bourbon and whiskeywhat does bourbon whiskey taste likeis bourbon and whiskey the same thingis whiskey and bourbon the samewhiskey vs bourbon tasteis bourbon a whiskey or brandywhat is the difference between a whiskey and a bourbonwhat's the difference between bourbon and whiskywhat is difference between whiskey and bourbonwhiskey and bourbon differenceis whisky the same as bourbonis bourbon and whisky the sameis whisky and bourbon the samewhat is difference between bourbon and whiskey

Related posts