If you have not tried brown alcoholic liquor, you may not understand the difference between bourbon and whiskey. Remember, all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskeys are bourbon. The name bourbon comes from the state of Kentucky. Kentucky produces almost 95 percent of all bourbons.
Bourbon is a type of American whiskey that contains at least 51 percent corn. The corn imparts a sweet taste to the bourbon whiskey. Bourbon ages in such oak barrels, which are charred and completely new. The manufacturers do not add any extra contents or color while storing bourbon in oak barrels.
Most of the Bourbon is stored for at least two years. Another unique element of bourbon is when it is aged in barrels, it should not contain more than 62.5 percent alcohol by volume, and during the time of bottling, it should not have less than 40 percent alcohol by volume.
There is an extensive range of bourbon whiskeys available on the market. This article will discuss a list of the best sipping bourbon to help you select the best bourbon whiskey for you.
How Is Bourbon Made?
#1. Determine the Ingredients
The ingredients for bourbon whiskey include 51 percent corn. The remainder is comprised of grains like barley, wheat, and rye.
#2. Mix the Grains
The manufacturer mixes all the grains and heats them along with water.
The manufacturers store the heated mixture in a vat so that the fermentation process will carry out. The distillers add yeast to the mix. There will be a chemical reaction, and the compounds break down into ethyl alcohol.
Now bourbon makers will strain the mixture. By straining, they can discard the solid particles and use the liquid to prepare bourbon.
The liquid needs to undergo a distillation process, which purifies the liquid. Bourbon whiskey is distilled twice for better purification. This increases the alcoholic content of the liquid.
The bourbon makers will now age the liquid in a new oak barrel charred for at least two years. The burnt layers in the oak barrel will caramelize the sugars and add an aroma to the liquid.
The bourbon makers will now test the dilute liquid and may add water. If possible, they may filter the liquid to remove any unnecessary elements.
The final step is to bottle the liquid, which can now be called bourbon whiskey.
Best Sipping Bourbon 2021
#1. Maker’s Mark
Maker’s Mark is a bourbon whiskey distilled in Kentucky. It has 45 percent alcohol by volume. A distinct feature of Makers Mark whiskey is that it uses wheat to produce flavor instead of rye.
As a result, the taste of this bourbon whiskey is sweeter in comparison to others. You will taste butterscotch, cherry, and vanilla flavors in this whiskey. What is great is that the Maker’s Mark is very affordable and is one of the best bourbons under $30.
#2. Widow Jane 10 Year Old Bourbon
The Window Jane is manufactured in various USA states like Kentucky, Indiana, New York, and Tennessee. This bourbon whiskey is aged for ten years and has notes of cherry, vanilla, and a touch of chocolate.
The uniqueness of this bourbon lies in barrel batches. The distilleries use limestone mineral water from Rosendale mines which gives a unique taste to this bourbon whiskey. The Widow Jane has an ABV of 45.5 percent.
#3. Evan Williams Single Barrel
Kentucky produces Evan Williams Single Barrel. On the bottle, you will find the date on which this bourbon whiskey has entered the oak barrel as well as information about how the whiskey was stored. Evan Williams has an ABV of 43.3 percent and has notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and oak. The price is usually affordable, and it is a great bourbon whiskey to enjoy with your meal.
#4. Willett Noah’s Mill
The Willet Noah’s Mill is manufactured in Kentucky. It has an ABV of 57.15 percent, and you will get tasting notes of vanilla, coffee, and raisin in each sip. This honey brown-colored bourbon whiskey ages for twelve years in burnt oak barrels. You can get this fabulous whiskey for $100.
#5. Old Forester
The Old Forester bourbon whiskey is one of the oldest whiskeys. It was the earliest whiskey sold in the United States in a sealed bottle, having been on the market for 151 years. The Old Forester contains 70 percent corn. The high percentage of corn imparts a sweeter taste in this bourbon whiskey.
#6. Four Roses Single Barrel
Four Roses Single Barrel is one of the best sipping bourbons under $50. Like the Old Forester, this bourbon whiskey has been in the brewing market since the 1800s. It has an ABV of 50 percent, and you will get notes of cocoa, maple syrup, and stone fruit in each sip.
Four Roses is stored for ten years in the barrel and is composed of 75 percent corn, 20 percent rye, and 5 percent of malted barley. The high percentage of corn imparts more sweetness to this American bourbon whiskey.
#7. Pappy Van Winkle
Pappy Van Winkle bourbon is one of the finest and most expensive bourbons in the world. One bottle of the Pappy Van Winkle will cost you more than $2000, making it a luxury option for sure. The uniqueness of this bourbon lies in storage. They are stored for 15 years or more in an oak barrel. The Pappy Van Winkle bourbon contains 51 percent corn and a high percentage of wheat in comparison to other bourbons.
#8. Knob Creek
The Knob Creek bourbon produced in Kentucky is one of the best sipping bourbons for beginners. The knob creek has an ABV of 50 percent, and you will get notes of vanilla, corn, and fruit from each sip. Knob Creek has been in the distilled market for nine years.
#9. Eagle Rare
The Eagle Rare is also manufactured in Kentucky. It has an ABV of 45 percent. You will get extraordinary vanilla, orange, and honey tastes on each sip. The Eagle rare is stored in oak barrels for at least ten years. It may be a bit expensive, but the taste is certainly fantastic. If you are a beginner, the Eagle Rare is a good one to try.
#10. Henry Mckenna Single Barrel
The Henry Mckenna is aged in an oak barrel for ten years and imparts a caramel, honey, and vanilla taste while sipping. Its ABV is 50 percent and it is once again manufactured in Kentucky.
#11. Angel’s Envy
Angel’s Envy is a perfect bourbon whiskey for sharing with friends. It is one of the best smooth sipping bourbons. The Angel’s Envy comprises 72 percent corn, 18 percent rye, and 10 percent malted barley. Once you open the bottle, you will get an aroma of vanilla, resins, and caramel. It ages in an oak barrel for almost six years.
#12. Heaven’s Door
Tennessee produces Heaven’s door, which has an ABV of 45 percent. It ages for eight years in a charred oak barrel. Opening the bottle, you will get the aroma of pepper, cinnamon, and honey.
#13. Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch
Wyoming Whiskey consists of more wheat than rye. This bourbon whiskey is aged in oak barrels for five years and produces an aroma of vanilla and orange. You can have this whiskey along with beef or dessert.
#14. Redwood Empire Pipe Dream
The Redwood Empire Pipe Dream appears deep golden when it is bottled. It ages for 4 to 12 years in an oak barrel. When you open the bottle, you will get an aroma of maple, vanilla, and honey. It contains 75 percent corn, 21 percent raw rye, and 4 percent malted barley. This whiskey is named after the Pipe Dream, the fourteenth tallest tree in the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1. What is whiskey?
Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage that mainly consists of grains like wheat, malted barley, corn, and rye. The grains are present in varying proportions in different whiskeys. They are fermented and distilled. After distillation, the whiskey is stored in the barrel to add an aroma to the whiskey.
#2. What is the difference between bourbon and whiskey?
- Firstly, bourbon is a form of whiskey.
- Bourbon contains specifically 51 percent corn, but others whiskeys can have any percentage of corn.
- Bourbon ABV should not be less than 40 percent while storing in bottles, but other whiskeys sometimes go above or below 40 percent ABV.
- Bourbon is manufactured only in the United States, but other whiskeys are manufactured across the world.
- Bourbon is stored in a new barrel, whereas other whiskeys age in a new or used barrel.
#3. How do beginners drink bourbon?
If you are drinking bourbon for the first time, take your glass tumbler and add some ice cubes. Then add a finger of bourbon whiskey to your tumbler. Swirl it for a few seconds, and then take your first sip.
Bourbon is not only famous in the United States but all over the world because of its great aroma. Some bourbon brands can be expensive, but there are some bourbons that you can find within $30, like the excellent and recommended Maker’s Mark. I hope this article will help you in choosing the best sipping bourbon for yourself.
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