American Whiskey

You all know American whiskey from the supermarket. But the whiskeys we would like to introduce to you here are as far removed from these supermarket whiskeys as Glenfarclas or Lagavulin are from blended Scotch. They are all something special and should be enjoyed neat (without cola, without ice) or with some still water. There are two regions on the North American continent where whiskey is traditionally distilled: The Saint Lawrence River area in Canada and the US states of Kentucky and Tennessee.
This article is about the different types of whiskey in America and what characterises them - also according to the law.

Table of content

Bourbon

Probably the best-known American Whiskey variety is Bourbon, which is named after Bourbon County in Kentucky. This county got its name in honour of the French royal family, as Louis XVI helped the Americans during the wars of independence against England. By law, Bourbon Whiskey must be made from at least 51% corn, which gives it its typically sweet taste. The remaining grains used are rye, which is very spicy, mild wheat and barley, which is essential for the fermentation process. American Whiskey is mainly distilled in column stills. According to American law, Bourbon must be matured in fresh, burnt-out oak barrels.
The alcohol content of Bourbon must not exceed 80% during distilling and must not exceed 62.5% at the beginning of maturation. Bourbon is bottled at a minimum of 40%, as spirits with a lower alcohol content may not be declared as Whisky or Whiskey. Theoretically, Bourbon can come from anywhere in the USA, but most Bourbon distilleries are located in the US state of Kentucky.

Straight Bourbon

In addition to the specifications for Bourbon Whiskey, straight bourbon also fulfils other requirements. It must also be matured for at least two years and may not be blended after barrel ageing.

If a Bourbon is produced in a single distillery during the production season, matures for at least four years in a bonded warehouse and is bottled at more than 100 proof (=50%), it may bear the quality designation Bottled in Bond.

Kentucky Straight Bourbon

As it says in the name of the Whiskey, this straight bourbon comes from Kentucky and must have matured there for at least one year. An excellent representative of this variety is the Woodford Reserve.

Learn about the individual production steps of  American Whiskey production with the help of the bourbon production.

A selection of Bourbon Whiskeys

Blanton's Gold
Blanton's Gold
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Stag - The Horizon /2021
Stag - The Horizon /2021
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Yellowstone Select Bourbon (B-goods)
Yellowstone Select Bourbon (B-goods)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Maker's Mark Wood Finishing /2020
Maker's Mark Wood Finishing /2020
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Rabbit Hole Dareringer Bourbon PX Cask Finished
Rabbit Hole Dareringer Bourbon PX Cask Finished
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Woodford Reserve MC Sonoma Triple Finish
Woodford Reserve MC Sonoma Triple Finish
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Wild Turkey Distillers Reserve 12 Years
Wild Turkey Distillers Reserve 12 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Daviess County Cabernet Sauvignon Finish
Daviess County Cabernet Sauvignon Finish
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Four Roses Single Barrel 100 Proof (B-Ware)
Four Roses Single Barrel 100 Proof (B-Ware)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Garrison Brothers Balmorhea /2023
Garrison Brothers Balmorhea /2023
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Basil Hayden's (B-Ware)
Basil Hayden's (B-Ware)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Michter's Bourbon (B-ware)
Michter's Bourbon (B-ware)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT

Tennessee Whiskey

Tennessee Whiskey is initially subject to the same requirements as bourbon Whiskey. Since 2013, legal regulations have been in force which, in addition to production in the US state of Tennessee, also prescribe the so-called Lincoln County Process. This means the filtration of the raw spirit through a layer of charcoal several metres high. The charcoal must be made from sugar maple, which is widespread in the USA. The filtering process makes the Whiskey very soft, i.e. 'mellow'. This is also called charcoal mellowing.

In addition, there is the sour mash process. Here, residues from the distilling process (stilling) are collected and added to the mash again before fermentation. This benefits the taste of the whiskey, but also the production process: Adding the stillage changes the pH of the mash. The mixture becomes more acidic so that the yeast can work optimally. In the meantime, this process is used by almost all distilleries in America. As a rule, most bourbons are also produced using this method.

So every Tennessee Whiskey is also a bourbon, but not every bourbon is also a Tennessee Whiskey.

A selection of Tennessee Whiskeys

Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select
Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select
1/ l · incl.  VAT
George Dickel No. 8
George Dickel No. 8
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Jack Daniel's Triple Mash
Jack Daniel's Triple Mash
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 McLaren Edition 2023
Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 McLaren Edition 2023
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Jack Daniel's Gentleman Jack
Jack Daniel's Gentleman Jack
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
George Dickel No. 12 (B-Ware)
George Dickel No. 12 (B-Ware)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 - Guitar case
Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 - Guitar case
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 - Metal Box (B-Ware)
Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 - Metal Box (B-Ware)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold (B-Ware)
Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold (B-Ware)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
George Dickel Handcrafted (B-Ware) 8 Years
George Dickel Handcrafted (B-Ware) 8 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Jack Daniel's Single Barrel - Barrel Strength /2023
Jack Daniel's Single Barrel - Barrel Strength /2023
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Jack Daniel's Single Barrel - Barrel Strength (B-Goods) /2023
Jack Daniel's Single Barrel - Barrel Strength (B-Goods) /2023
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT

Rye Whiskey

If at least 51 per cent rye is used in a Whiskey, it can be called rye whiskey. Rye Whiskey must also be matured in oak barrels. There used to be a wide range of rye whiskeys in America. They are characterised by an unusually spicy taste. However, people's tastes changed over the centuries, so that rye whiskey almost fell into oblivion. Because today 'mild and mellow' has become fashionable. US rye whiskeys are rarely found today, while in Canada, on the other hand, a lot of it is still produced, as Canadian rye whiskey is an important component of Canadian blended whiskies.

A selection of Rye Whiskeys

Gun Fighter Rye French Port Finish
Gun Fighter Rye French Port Finish
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Wild Turkey 101 Rye (B-Ware)
Wild Turkey 101 Rye (B-Ware)
1/ l · incl.  VAT
Wild Turkey 101 Rye
Wild Turkey 101 Rye
1/ l · incl.  VAT
Bulleit 95 Rye
Bulleit 95 Rye
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Pikesville Straight Rye 110 Proof
Pikesville Straight Rye 110 Proof
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Colonel E.H. Taylor Rye
Colonel E.H. Taylor Rye
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof (B-Ware)
Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof (B-Ware)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
F.E.W Rye
F.E.W Rye
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Jack Daniel's Rye
Jack Daniel's Rye
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Jack Daniel's Bonded Rye
Jack Daniel's Bonded Rye
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Thomas H. Handy Rye 6Y-2011/2017
Thomas H. Handy Rye 6Y-2011/2017
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Rabbit Hole Boxergrail Rye (B-Goods)
Rabbit Hole Boxergrail Rye (B-Goods)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT

American Single Malt

Watch out! Instead of at least 51 per cent corn for the bourbon or 51 per cent for the rye, it must be 100 per cent malted barley to be called American single malt. Furthermore, it must be from one distillery. It is distilled to a maximum of 80% vol. and bottled at a minimum of 40% vol. The oak barrel in which it is stored may hold a maximum of 700 litres. The whole thing is a US regulation, not a state requirement!

Corn Whiskey

Corn whiskey may even be the most original variety of American whiskey. The English word 'corn' means 'corn'!

It is very similar to bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, but is not subject to their regulations. The corn content must be at least 80 percent and its taste is neutral. This makes it well suited for blend production, into which it also flows for the most part. Barrel storage is not prescribed, or if stored in a barrel, this barrel must be a used one, or a new barrel must be burnt out beforehand.

Light Whiskey

After the tastes of US connoisseurs changed in the 1960s and imported whiskies as well as gin and vodka gained in importance, the government allowed another type of whiskey in 1968, in which over 80 per cent alcohol could be distilled and the barrels were no longer subject to the strict guidelines.

Maple Whiskey

A special taste! Maple whiskey combines two things that are very characteristic of American culture: Whiskey and maple syrup. This is because maple syrup is also often produced in barrels, or more precisely, bourbon barrels. Some particularly high-quality maple syrups are stored in bourbon barrels, and thus take on the typical bourbon flavours. The syrups are stored in bourbon barrels for up to three months and receive a 'finish', so to speak. Since the flavours of the two liquids harmonise so well with each other, the producers of American whiskey came up with the idea of turning the tables and filling the barrels from the maple syrup storage with whiskey in order to complement the whiskey with the maple syrup flavours. For example, there is Maple Whiskey with Hudson Rye Whiskey from the Tuthilltown Distillery, with Bourbon from the Taconic Distillery and with the Cask Proof Roundstone Rye from the Catoctin Creek Distillery.

A selection of other American Whiskeys

Woodford Reserve Malt
Woodford Reserve Malt
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Balcones Texas Single Malt
Balcones Texas Single Malt
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Woodford Reserve Wheat
Woodford Reserve Wheat
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Michter's American Whiskey
Michter's American Whiskey
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Seagrams 7 Crown (B-Ware)
Seagrams 7 Crown (B-Ware)
1/ l · incl.  VAT
Clyde May's
Clyde May's
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Virginia Black
Virginia Black
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Westland Solum Outpost Range
Westland Solum Outpost Range
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey
Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Yellow Rose Premium American
Yellow Rose Premium American
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Elvis Tiger Man Whiskey (B-Ware)
Elvis Tiger Man Whiskey (B-Ware)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Milam & Greene Triple Cask
Milam & Greene Triple Cask
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
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