Bourbon 101 : Part Deux (A Ménage à trois of grains )

corn-wheat-barley

Corn

Corn is the Queen Bee to the Bourbon world because to be called Bourbon, the mash must contain at least 51% corn.. Our organic-, eco- vegan- tree-hugger friends can rest easy since most commercial distilleries produce for export and most of their international markets forbid GMO products, making non-GMO corn the star in these mashbills.

corn-glass

Barley and Rye

Now the amounts of either Barley and Rye vary from distiller to distiller and even further within each distillery. For example, Four Roses Single Barrel has only 2 mashbills (grain recipes) and they both have the same amount of corn but a different amount rye and barley in each recipe.  An increase in Rye can cause a bourbon to be spicier with notes of cinnamon or clove. On a recent tour of Willett, one taster said their rye bourbon had a pickle-like taste. I’m pretty sure she was picking up the spiciness of the rye and that’s the best description she had at the time.  Rye is the flavoring grain of a bourbon and can completely change the complete taste of a bourbon. Think of an orange. Rimming the edge of a glass gives you the smell of orange, some orange zest will give you a sight taste of orange on your tongue, the addition of Orange peel with the white pith still on it can impart a slight bitter taste, and the addition of Orange juice can make the entire thing taste like orange. Rye is like that orange and different types of rye in different amounts will give you completely different tastes.

grain-picnon_gmo

 

 

  • Keep your glass ready for the final installment of Bourbon 101

Leave a Reply