Bourbon is basically American whiskey, that is, a grain distillate that has been aged in charred barrels. As always, such definitions depend on trade agreements, and the degree that other countries respect such agreements.
U.S. regulations state that bourbon must be at least 51% corn. In the bottle, it must be at least 80 proof (40% alcohol). A straight, unblended bourbon must be aged for at least 2 years, and cannot have any coloring or flavoring agents. Bourbon’s flavor and color derive from the charred new oak barrel in which it is aged.
A number of small distillers have sprung up lately (and not so lately), producing the equivalents of single malts. Idiosyncratic differences are their charm.
Fun Fact: Distillers called the initial fermentation of the mash Distiller’s Beer. They call the first distillation of Distiller’s Beer Low Wine. They call the second distillation High Wine.
Baker Beam’s grand uncle is some gentleman named Jim. The style is smooth and silky, despite a hefty 107 proof. Utilizing a strain of yeast that has been in the family for 60 years, and aged for 7 years, this would be a welcome gift for a bourbon lover.
A considerable dose of rye along with the corn makes the difference here. It’s spicy, peppery flavor carries through at 80 proof.
The Beam family stands behind this bourbon as well. Made with rye and barley as well as corn, this is a full-bodied, dynamic bourbon. At 100 proof, and aged 9 years, it expresses its bourbon heritage appropriately.