The ABC's of Bourbon


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The Flavors: Wood

Nutty, sometimes smoky flavors with an earthy background that are pronounced in Woodford Reserve during the fermentation and maturation processes. 

Almond

Understated, mellow sweetness and a buttery note when toasted.

Pecan

Very nutty, buttery tones, can ride on vanilla notes nicely.

Hazelnut

Sweet and nutty, balances out stronger or bitter notes.

Walnut

An earthier nut with a bittersweet aftertaste when raw.

Cedar

A fresh and light earthy note that opens in the nose.

Oak

Mild and round character of the wood barrels with a hint of smoke.

 

 
 

The Flavors: Spice

Lively and Bold flavors that add depth and complexity to the whiskey profile. Spice flavors can range from black pepper and clove to more savory flavors such as anise and spearmint. Rye is a robust 18% of the Woodford Reserve mashbill which adds to its complexity and balance.

Black Pepper

A sharper, penetrating aroma with elements of wood and pine in the flavor.

Clove

Intense and pungent, clove can be sweet with a minty spiciness.

Cinnamon

A sweet and woody fragrance with a hint of spiciness on the tongue.

Coffee

Pleasant and fragrant bitterness with a deep, strong character in the nose.

Tobacco

Rich, earthy flavor with strong and pleasant aromas of leather.

Nutmeg

Distinctive and earthy-sharp sweetness with an uplifting touch of a eucalyptus or menthol note.

Mint

Fresh and aromatic that brings a unique cooling sensation to the palate.

Anise

Bittersweet, fragrant notes of licorice.

Herbal

Herbal can range from sweet to savory, and brings and earth freshness.

 

The Flavors: Grain

These are understated but pervasive presence that provide structure for the subtler notes that come from our different ways of manipulating the Five Sources.

Malt

A deeper grain flavor with range and nuanced sweetness.

Rye

Crisp with a spicy character. A hallmark flavor of Woodford Reserve due to our high rye content.

The Flavors: Fruit and Floral

Floral flavors are aromatic with a wide range of fruit, earthy spice, and herbs. They can be fragrantly rich in the nose and add piquant tang to the palate. They can also bring a fresh, open quality that balances out the richness of other notes.

Rose Petal

Fragrant, lightly floral and a slight tang.

Honeysuckle

Subtle sweetness and a beautiful and fragrant aroma.

Cherry

The deeply sweet undertones of cherry are prevalent and detectable amongst an array of flavors in our craft bourbon.

Cognac

Earthy, rich, and deep fruit notes.

Apricot

Softly sweet and tangy notes with a light carmelization when cooked.

Peach

Juicy and fragrant, lush and round tanginess.

Green Grape

A bit more shy than their red cousins, with a mild sweet to slightly tart flavor.

Pear

Refreshing and ripe succulence. Sweet but not tart on the tongue.

Apple

A crisp, sparkling sweetness that can carry some earth and spice notes as well.

Cranberry

Tart and bitter, with an underlying herbal sweetness.

Blueberry

Sweet and sour with an open and subtle fragrance.

Blackberry

Deeper, tart fruit flavor with richness.

Lemon

Fresh, tart, tangy with a hint of herbal bitterness from the peel.

Orange

Sweet and juicy with a balanced and fresh tartness

The Flavors: Sweet Aromatics

Sweet aromatics are velvet to the tongue. They can range from intense richness to subtle aromas. Just the right amount rounds off harsher notes of flavor and ties everything together. The sweet aromatic notes are imparted by the maturation process.

Vanilla

With a perfumed aroma, Vanilla is a unique flavor that calls to mind smooth and sweet background richness.

Caramel

Sweet but with a slight tang of burnt sugar that adds a layer.

Maple Syrup

Lush with a background of earth and wood from the trees it comes from.

Butterscotch

A brighter, golden sweetness with a lingering richness.

Marzipan

Delicate, lighter sweetness of the almond with a wider, candy richness.

Honey

Floral and smooth notes that bring a sweet lift to the palate.

Chocolate

Robust and slightly bitter sweetness with a wonderful complexity.


Glossary of Bourbon & Whiskey Terms


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Angel’s share: The portion of Bourbon in an aging barrel that’s lost to evaporation.

Backset: The thin, watery part of a previously distilled batch of whiskey mash that is added ‒ or “set back” ‒ into the next batch. Also “sour mash, setback, stillage or spent beer.”

Barrel proof: Whiskey bottled at the desired proof while aging in the barrel. No water is added before bottling, so these Bourbons are higher proof than others.

Beer still: A giant apparatus in which the main component is a very tall metal column used to separate the alcohol from the water in the distiller’s beer by vaporizing the alcohol content. Also called a “continuous still.” The spirit produced is called “low wines.”

Bourbon (straight): A whiskey made from a mash containing at least 51 percent corn, distilled out at a maximum of 160° proof, aged at no more than 125° proof for a minimum of two years in new charred oak barrels. If the whiskey is aged for less than four years, its age must be stated on the bottle. No coloring or flavoring may be added to any straight whiskey.

Bung: The stopper used to seal a barrel.

Charring: The process that sets fire to the interior of barrels for less than one minute and creates a layer of charred wood. Distillers can choose from four levels of char.

Corn whiskey: A whiskey made from a mash containing a minimum of 80 percent corn and, if it is aged at all, must be aged in used or uncharred oak barrels.

Distiller’s beer: The thick, fermented mash of cooked grains, water and yeast that is transferred from the fermenter to the beer still for the first distillation.

Doubler: A large copper still used to accomplish the second distillation of American whiskey. It effectively removes impurities and concentrates the alcohol even further. “Low wines” go in; “high wines” come out.

Fermentation: The process by which yeast transforms sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Fermenter: A giant tub made of metal or cypress in which the mash of cooked grains and water meet the yeast. They mingle, the yeast begins to act on sugars in the grain, and fermentation occurs over a few days. This produces alcohol within the mash and turns it into distiller’s beer.

Heads: The first section of the high wines to exit the doubler or thumper; this spirit is high in impurities and sent back to the still for redistillation.

High wines: The final spirit produced by the secondary distillation, ready for aging.

Low wines: The name of the spirit after it has passed through the beer or continuous still for its first distillation.

Malted barley: Barley that has been partially germinated and then heated or roasted to stop the germination. Malted barley (or any malted grain) contains enzymes that convert starches into the fermentable sugars on which yeast feeds. These enzymes are not present in unmalted grains.

Mash: The mixture of cooked grains and water before the yeast is added to start fermentation.

Mashbill: The grain recipe used to make whiskey.

Mash tub: A large tub where the grains are combined with water and cooked to soften them and break down the starch into simple sugars before the resulting “mash” is transferred to the fermenter. Also called a “cooker.”

Nose: The aroma of a whiskey.

Proof: Measurement of beverage alcohol on a scale, in America, of 200. A 100° proof spirit contains 50 percent alcohol.

Rackhouse: The building in which whiskey is aged, sometimes referred to as the “warehouse.”

Ricks: The wooden structures on which barrels of whiskey rest during aging.

Rye whiskey (straight): A whiskey made from a mash containing at least 51 percent rye, distilled out at a maximum of 160° proof, aged at no more than 125° proof for a minimum of two years in new charred oak barrels. If the whiskey is aged for less than four years, its age must be stated on the bottle. No coloring or flavoring may be added to any straight whiskey.

Single barrel whiskey: Whiskey drawn from one barrel that has not been mingled with any other whiskeys.

Small batch whiskey: A product of mingling select barrels of whiskey that have matured into a specific style.

Tails: The last section of high wines to exit the doubler or thumper; this spirit is high in impurities and sent back to the still for redistillation.

Thief: A tubular instrument for removing a sample from a barrel.

Thumper: One of the types of stills used to accomplish the second distillation of American whiskey. It effectively removes impurities and concentrates the alcohol even further. “Low wines” go in; “high wines” come out. Thumpers differ from doublers in that the low wines enter a thumper as vapors that are bubbled through water, causing the stills to make a thumping sound; a doubler makes no distinctive noise since the low wines enter in condensed, liquid form.

Wheated bourbon: Bourbon made from a mashbill that contains wheat instead of rye grain.

Yeast: A living organism that feeds on fermentable sugars, transforming them to beverage alcohol, congeners, carbon dioxide, and heat.