Welcome to the Golden Age of Bourbon!
By far the most popular of American whiskeys, bourbon is distilled from fermented grain mash (corn, rye, barley, and wheat) and aged in oak barrels. Whiskey is made all over the world, but bourbon is made only in America.
“There is such a boom in bourbon right now, unlike any other time I’ve seen in my 18 years in this business,” explains Brian Lorusso, Bar Manager at Dogwood Southern Table & Bar. “The most popular way it is being ordered right now is on the rocks or in tasting flights. We are even seeing women ordering bourbon as well, and it’s great to see! We currently carry 50+ bourbons at Dogwood (actual bourbons, not just whiskeys).”
American whiskey needs to meet certain guidelines in order to be called bourbon. First of all, it must be produced in the United States. Second, it must be made from 51 percent corn. Third, bourbon can only be aged in new charred oak barrels. Fourth, bourbon must be distilled to no more than 160 proof and entered into the barrel at 125 proof. Fifth, it must be bottled at 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume) or higher. Lastly, bourbon must not contain any added flavoring, coloring, or other additives.
The quality of bourbon depends on barrel aging, blending, and bottling. Single barrel bourbon has been bottled from one barrel only. Small batch bourbon is made when a few barrels are aged together. Straight bourbon must be aged a minimum of two years.