Everything Bourbon or what?
Even if it appears on some drinks list: Not every American whiskey is a bourbon. Undoubtedly, the bourbon is today the most popular whiskey on the continent. It consists mainly of corn (at least 51 percent, but usually much more), which gives it a characteristic sweetness. In addition, the law provides that Straight Bourbon must be stored for at least two years in new barrels of American White Oak and must not contain any additives. In contrast, the origin and production technology are not exactly defined. For the production the tubular Coffey stills or also, as with the Scottish Malt Whiskey, the more traditional pot stills can be used. A bourbon does not have to come from Kentucky either - and certainly not from Bourbon County. A Tennessee-born whiskey like the Jack Daniel's formally meets all the requirements for a straight bourbon. Here, however, it is important to be a Tennessee whiskey. This differs from the conventional Bourbon by the special "charcoal mellowing" filter method.
But whether Bourbon or Tennessee, whether corn or even wheat: The original Whiskey in the US and Canada is the Rye Whiskey made from rye. Until Prohibition nearly 100 years ago, Rye was the predominant whiskey in North America. But the distilleries in the states on the northeast coast, such as Maryland or Pennsylvania, did not survive the time of Prohibition. In the US and Canada, traditional, spicy rye was increasingly replaced by sweeter corn. Only in recent years, the classic Straight Rye gains in importance again.
But beware: In Canada, a whiskey may be called "Rye Whiskey" even if it does not contain any rye. For the sake of tradition ...
An American feature
Like the Irish, the burners in the US and Canada usually write their spirit with an "E", meaning whiskey. A special feature of the Straight Bourbon is that the barrels may only be used once. These new barrels emit more flavor and taste than it would reused. A side effect: the whiskey matures faster.
That's how America tastes
By storing in new, charred barrels made of American Oak American whiskeys get distinct vanilla flavors, often adding notes of (coconut) nut and caramel. The corn-fired whiskeys - like the bourbon - also have a very pronounced sweetness. Rye Whiskey made from rye, on the other hand, is drier, tarter and spicier. Pronounced peat and smoke marks you look in the whiskeys from the US and Canada rather in vain. That's better left to colleagues in Scotland.
Tasting Tips: American Classics ...
Of course, when talking about North American whiskeys, one immediately thinks of some of the big names: Jim Beam, Maker's Mark or Wild Turkey from Kentucky, Jack Daniel's and George Dickel from Tennessee. Not to forget the elegant stars of Canadian whiskey like Canadian Club or Black Velvet. What some do not know: Even from the great distilleries are sometimes quite different whiskeys. For example, Jim Beam produces a Rye Whiskey as well as his popular Straight Bourbon. And even Jack Daniel's offers a wide range of special bottlings beyond the famous Old No.7, which perhaps not everyone knows.
... and our insider tip
The Port's pipe-mounted Dad's Hat is a wonderfully soft and multi-layered Rye Whiskey from Pennsylvania. A real rarity is the "Mc Carthy's Oregon Single Malt" from the Clear Creek Distillery, for which Scottish barley was used. Have fun discovering!