Say Cheers To Bourbon Whisky: 6 Brands To Have In Your Home Bar

Bourbon is clearly the liquor that can have a place in your hand all year round. Be it a refreshing mint julep on a hot summer day or an egg nog for cozy winter evenings, there is no bad time to have a bourbon cocktail, isn’t it? The name “bourbon” is commonly considered a nod to Bourbon County, Kentucky, where an estimated 95 per cent of all bourbon is produced. However, some legends suggest that it refers to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, named for The House of Bourbon.

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Thanks to the ‘Mad Men Effect’ in the 2010s, the rise of a global cocktail culture contributed to the soaring sales of Bourbon whisky. America’s most popular whiskey, Bourbon is made from a mix of fermented grains typically corn along with barley, and rye. The spirit must be aged in newly charred white oak barrels, making for a typically nutty flavour profile and a mellow, caramelized sweetness. This distilled spirit should not be more than 80 per cent alcohol and no more than 62.5 per cent when put in casks, as per a report.

It should not contain any artificial additives and nothing, but water can be added. The fermentation process blends this mixture with a mash from an older batch, a process that was later known as sour mash. The fermented mash is distilled into a clear spirit which is then diluted with water before it is bottled. For a long time, people have believed that the popular Jack Daniels is an American whiskey brand but it’s technically not a Bourbon. It’s a Tennessee whiskey that can be differentiated with its extra filtration process through charcoal.

Today, bourbon is produced not only in Kentucky but also in other states across the United States. It has gained international recognition for its unique flavour profile and craftsmanship. There are numerous distilleries, each with its own distinct style and offerings. If you too fantasize about this rich liquor, here are some bourbon whiskey brands that you should have in your home bar.

Maker’s Mark 

Quite popular for its signature red seal still dipped in the red wax at the distillery in Kentucky’s Loretto, Maker's Mark began with one family's quest to create a bourbon they enjoyed drinking. Made with soft red winter wheat, instead of the usual rye, this full-flavoured bourbon is smooth to drink. It is interesting to know that every barrel is rotated by hand and the bourbon is aged to taste and not time.

Jim Bean Black 

It is hands down, one of the most popular and loved bourbons across the globe, Jim Bean re-launched Black is known for its warm oak and smooth caramel notes. With several accolades including the ‘Best Bourbon Trophy’ at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2016, this bourbon is extra-aged and more premium with an enhanced level of elegance and refinement.

Elijah Craig Small Batch 

Elijah Craig, in 1789, became the first distiller to age his whiskey in new charred oak barrels. This signature small-batch whiskey is known for its distinctive warm spice & subtle smoke notes.

Jefferson’s Reserve 

The brainchild of Trey Zoeller and his father and famous bourbon historian Chet, Reserve is a perfect example of the artistry of blending with incredible nuance and complexity of flavours with its rich notes of toasted vanilla, caramel and honeyed fruit.

Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey 

The Woodford Reserve Distillery in Kentucky is a National Historical Landmark dating back to 1812. Made with malted barley, corn and rye, this bourbon has a hint of apple pie in the fruity flavours with sweet cinnamon dominating the spicy tones at its best.

Wild Turkey Bourbon

Originally crafted as Wild Turkey 81, this bourbon is aged in American White Oak barrels and comes with notes of sweet vanilla, pear and hints of spice. This bourbon finishes with a rich flavour that can be enjoyed straight or in Bourbon cocktails too.