Beloved Bourbon & Rye
Bourbon whiskey is America's native spirit. It's a tightly regulated product that must be produced in the United States and has a few distinct characteristics. By far, bourbon is the most popular style of American whiskey and it's among the best-loved styles of whiskey worldwide.
The world of bourbon is complex and the brands are numerous. In order to fully appreciate bourbon, it's good to understand what defines this particular whiskey, what goes into distilling it, and how that relates to the whiskey in your glass.
Bourbon must be made with a minimum of 51 percent corn, which gives the whiskey a noticeable sweetness. Most bourbons, however, are made with over 70 percent corn. Grains like barley, wheat, and rye make up the rest of the mash bill (the mix of fermented grains that are distilled into whiskey). Rye provides a spicy note to bourbon whereas wheat provides a softer, sweeter note.
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George T. Stagg built the most dominant American distillery of the 19th century, during a time known…