Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

10 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Bourbon

6.jpg
2.jpg
9.jpg
8.jpg

"95 per cent of all the world's bourbon is made in Kentucky - the other five is counterfeit," quips Steve Beshear at the grand opening of Wild Turkey's state-of-the-art visitor centre, perched high in the rolling hillsides of Lawrenceburg.

But then he would say that - he's the governor of Kentucky, a state crammed with the finest makers of bourbon in the US, and where, well-delivered zingers aside, it does indeed bless the world with 95 per cent of the good stuff.

This was far from the only surprising thing we learnt on our trip into bourbon country. After all, we were given a tour by Wild Turkey’s legendary Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, a living legend who's been producing the excellent drink for 60 years now, and his son Eddie, the Associate Master Distiller who’s been on site for 30 of those years.

So it's fair to say the pair knew a bit. Here are some beguiling facts you may not know about the tasty liquor…

___________________________________________________________

1.

By law, straight bourbon must be aged in barrels for at least two years. Bourbon need only be placed in a new oak container for a few seconds to be called bourbon.

___________________________________________________________

2.

There are more barrels of bourbon (4.7m) in Kentucky than people (4.3m).

___________________________________________________________

3.

Many distilleries in Kentucky were used to produce penicillin during the Second World War, as penicillin is also a product of fermentation.

___________________________________________________________

4.

This came not long after the prohibition era, where most distilleries had been indefinitely closed down. Some, however, were allowed to stay open and make whisky for medicinal purposes.

___________________________________________________________

5.

Bourbon may be Kentucky's chief export but a close second is the disco ball, believe it or not. In fact, 90 per cent of the country's glittery globes are made here. Coincidence? We think not.

___________________________________________________________

6.

Be on your guard when discussing the origins of the name ‘bourbon’ around Kentucky, as some theories are keenly quarreled over. One of the most common guesses is that of the drink’s geographic association with Bourbon County, a small region established as part of Virginia in the late 18th century.

___________________________________________________________

7.

While many American whiskies advertise themselves as Sour mash – a type of distillation - all bourbons are technically sour mash. The reason Jack Daniels isn't is because it goes through a charcoal drip before hitting the barrel.

___________________________________________________________

8.

Most major bourbon companies will have official ‘blind’ tasters who will regularly check the product. There are five at Wild Turkey HQ. As perks of the job go, it's as good as being given permission to ride this handsome motorcycle.

___________________________________________________________

9.

Bourbon is the only product in the world which you cannot legally add colour or additives to. Only water, wheat, corn, rye, malt and the colourisation of the barrel are allowed to influence the consistency of the golden beverage.

___________________________________________________________

10.

US law states bourbon barrels can only be used once, which is why many are later shipped to whisky distilleries across the world. That next glass of Scotch might be closer to the US of A than you know...

___________________________________________________________

To commemorate Jimmy Russell's 60 years with Wild Turkey, Eddie Russell has hand selected some barrels and created a new special edition Diamond Anniversary Bourbon, available at the new visitor centre. In the meantime, seek a bottle of Wild Turkey 81 and 101 out at stores and bars in the UK; Facebook.com/wildturkeyuk

Related

champagne.jpg

Hotel serves champagne via drones

whiskeyhero1.jpg

Enormous Whisky Infographic

nycmain.jpg

Brilliant New York Drinking Map

spain1.jpg

Literary drinking spots you can actually visit

cocktailHERO.jpg

How To Make a Bourbon Vanilla Martini

beer1.jpg

The underground beer cooler

Comments

More

What does our love of fighting tell us about ourselves?

Why can't we stop watching people pummel each other?

02 Dec 2016

The story of an 89-year-old man's new job will defrost your cold heart

He feels like he’s “won a thousand bucks on the horses”

by Chris Sayer
02 Dec 2016

You can now hire the services of deadly cyber hackers

Rent an army of infected bots and cause untold online havoc

02 Dec 2016

Everything you need to know about Mad Dog, Trump’s new military chief

"It's quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people."

by Emily Badiozzaman
02 Dec 2016

The uprising is coming – robots can now walk over rough terrain

by Chris Sayer
02 Dec 2016

Barack Obama explains why Michelle Obama will never run for President

Will FLOTUS save us?

by Emily Badiozzaman
02 Dec 2016

This guy just blagged tickets to our JME gig in the best way

An inspiring tale of hard work, luck, and grime

by Chris Sayer
01 Dec 2016

The internet is being backed up in Canada to save it from Donald Trump

The president-elect has previously said he like to see the internet "closed up"

by Tom Fordy
01 Dec 2016

These Aussie students just outsmarted Martin Shkreli in the best way

Karma feels real good

by Chris Sayer
01 Dec 2016

The inventor of the Big Mac has died

But he lived to 98, if you need validation for your food choices

by Emily Badiozzaman
01 Dec 2016