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June 14, 2022

It's National Bourbon Day! A Cheers Guest Post by J.Waddell

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Happy National Bourbon Day current and future American Whiskey enthusiasts!

Today is our chance to celebrate this under-rated and under-distributed elixir – even more than we do most other days.

What is Bourbon you might ask?

Bourbon is a whiskey distilled in the United States of America (recognized as a distinct product of the USA – as passed by Congress in 1964).

In order for the American whiskey to be called Bourbon, it must have the following characteristics:

  • Made from a grain mixture (mash bill) that is at least 51% corn.
  • Aged in new, charred, American White Oak barrels (for initial aging…can be finished in other barrels).
  • Distilled to no more than 160 proof (80% ABV).
  • Entered the aging barrel at no more than 125 proof (62.5% ABV).
  • Bottled at 80 proof (40% or more).

What categories of Bourbon are there?

Traditional – Made up of at least 71% corn in the mash bill.

High Rye – Rye grain makes up between 20 and 35% of the mash bill.

Wheated (or Wheater) – A high component of Barley or wheat in the mash bill.

How should I drink Bourbon?

Start by drinking Bourbon the same way you currently consume any other whisky.  If you would normally pour a dram of Scotch either neat on over rocks, do that.  

If you mix your whisky with Coke, why do you do that?  Just joking…go ahead and do that…and seriously consider not doing that anymore.  

If you are drinking it neat (no mix, no ice) do not inhale while you sip.  The airborne alcohol will tamper with your tastebuds ability to find the flavours.  Sip a small bit and just swallow it, don’t analyze it, this prepares your palate for more discerned tasting.  Then, on your second pour (no inhaling while pouring), close your mouth and let the Bourbon roll over your tongue for a few seconds, then swallow.

You will find that Bourbon typically falls into the major taste profiles of:

  • Sweet
  • Spicy
  • Wood
  • Grain
  • Floral/Fruit

One of the exciting parts of the Bourbon journey is to learn what your preferred taste profile and categories are and then to explore different expressions that are within those families.

Today, I will celebrating National Bourbon Day with a pour of one of my very favourites, Blanton’s Gold.  This whiskey is one of the great pride’s of the Buffalo Trace Distillery.  Look for tastes of Vanilla, Honey, Toffee in the taste profile.

 

Not sure which Bourbon to start with?  

I have two suggestions for you…

If you think you would prefer sweet, try Buffalo Trace (available at Red Zone Liquor Store at the Travelodge Hotel Saskatoon for the lowest price in the city).

If you think you would like something with a bit more striking character, and you’re prepared for a slightly higher price start your journey with 1792 Small Batch (available in many of Saskatoon’s finest liquor stores). 

 

If you’re watching your pennies, start off with Evan Williams Black Label (widely available).

 

If you are celebrating with me, I raise a glass to you my friend.

“May you be all things but thirsty!”

 

Jaret Waddell
Founder – Saskatoon Bourbon Club

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