Via thekitchn.com – If you walk into a liquor store and feel overwhelmed by the variety of bourbons on the shelf, it’s no surprise. It seems everybody’s getting on the bandwagon, and there’s a dizzying array. Equally dizzying are the terms on the label. What on earth is a Bottled-in-Bond, Single-Barrel, 10-Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, anyway?
Trust me — there’s a method to the mad libs. Here’s what you need to know.
Before we get into the lingo, let’s talk about bourbon. You may see more brands crowding the shelves as makers jump on the whiskey train, but you can’t just throw any brown liquor in a bottle and slap a bourbon label on it. An actual act of Congress (well, technically a concurrent resolution) defined this spirit, and there are a few hard-and-fast rules the drink must follow to be a legit bourbon.
Interestingly, there’s no time requirement for bourbon. Spend much time in the bourbon world and you’ll hear lots of lore — one of my favorites is a quote attributed to Jimmy Russell, Wild Turkey’s master distiller, who says you can fill a new, charred oak bucket and carry it to the bottling line and have bourbon. Of course then it wouldn’t be Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, and it would have to carry an age statement. (We’re getting to that.)