So what is the difference between the three? Well, here it is…
Bourbon: There are six federal regulations in making bourbon:
1) Must be made in America
2) Must be aged in new, charred white oak barrels
3) The primary grain must be corn, 51% to 79%
4) Cannot be distilled over 160 proof
5) Cannot be entered into the barrel over 125 proof
6) No filtering or additives to change taste or color
And, regarding the aging process, it has to spend time in the new white oak barrel. The time can be as little as one second. Also, only distilled water can be added to adjust the proof, which must be at least 80 proof.
Kentucky Straight Bourbon: All the rules of bourbon apply plus two more: It must be distilled in Kentucky and then aged in the white oak barrel for at least two years.
So why isn’t Jack Daniels bourbon? This whiskey does follow all the rules of bourbon except one, the one that says no colorings or flavorings may be added. This regulation is violated when the whiskey is filtered through the maple charcoal. This is called the Lincoln County Process and is what gives Jack Daniels its distinctive taste.
Here is a question: If the whiskey cannot be entered into the barrel over 125 proof, how can they produce whiskey with a higher proof. Stay tuned for the answer.
No enjoy your whiskey of choice.