How Bourbon Whiskey Is Made

An Illustrated Description of the Production of Bourbon

When you ask the master distiller of a bourbon distillery about the strongest influences in bourbon production, you get the following answer: the grain, the yeast strains, the new white oak barrels and their storage have the biggest influence on the taste of bourbon.

What's the reasoning behind this statement, which tells nothing about the particulars of the production process? The answer is as simple as it is convincing. The American distilleries usually have the same production equipment and the same climate. Therefore the distinguishing features of individual bourbon producers must be sought on another level.

An American New Make whiskey reciever
Maker's Mark - New make whiskey receiver

A word on Tennessee whiskey: Tennessee whiskey separated from Kentucky straight bourbon and the Bourbon Act for marketing reasons. However, the production process of these two whisky types is the same, except that Tennessee whiskey is charcoal-filtered before it is filled into barrels.

On the following pages the production process is described in its chronological order:

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Read about Distillation of Scotch Whisky. See Stillmen adjust temperature, pressure and the spirit safe to separate new make from foreshots and fusel...

Scotch - Distillation

Read an overview about how Scottish Single Malt whisky is distilled. Learn about the spirit and the wash still and how the process effects fusel oils...

Irish - Distillation

Irish Whiskey distillation Contents Irish Whiskey distillation 1. Pot...

Scotch - Fermentation

Read a quick overview about how Scottish Single Malt whisky is fermented in the washbacks. See how the sugar in the mash is turned into beer (wash).

Scotch - Bottling

Read an overview about how Scottish Single Malt whisky is bottled by the distillery or the independent bottlers. Learn about the different ABV levels...

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Buffalo Trace

The distillery was founded in 1858 and had many names over the time. It was called Leetown, Ancient Age and now Buffalo Trace.