What is WHISKEY?

The term whiskey means, simply, a distilled liquor made from the fermented mash of grains.  That encompasses all of these wonderful-in-their-own-way treats:  Bourbon Whiskey, Tennessee Whiskey, Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey, and Canadian Whisky.  Each type of whiskey has its own guidelines and distillation process that makes itIt is important to remember that they are all part of the same family...so when going to a liquor store to ask about a "good whiskey," you must first figure out which whiskey it is that you are needing.

Is all whiskey BOURBON?

No.  All bourbons are whiskey, but not all whiskies are bourbon.  Bourbon is one of the 5 major types of whiskey:  Bourbon, Irish, Scotch, Canadian, and Tennessee.  By law, to be called a straight bourbon whiskey, the mash bill must contain at least 51 percent corn, be distilled at no more than 160 proof and aged in new, charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years.

Is all BOURBON made in KENTUCKY?

No.  Although Kentucky boasts the largest volume of bourbon distillers, it is not a requirement that bourbon be made in the state of Kentucky.  However, it is the only state that can be listed on a label for bourbon.  For example, if a bourbon is distilled in my home state of Oregon, it can not say, "Oregon Straight Bourbon Whiskey."

What is SINGLE BARREL BOURBON?

Single barrel bourbon is exactly as the name states.  Whereas most mass-produced bourbon is aged in individual barrels and then blended together as a whole for bottling, single barrel bourbon is aged and bottled from one individual barrel, giving each bottling its own distinct colors, tones, and tastes.

What is the difference between BOURBON and WHISKEY?
What is the difference between SCOTCH and WHISKEY?

Check out our WHISKEY GLOSSARY page for the answer to this and other questions about terms.

Is SEAGRAM'S 7 bourbon?

No.  Although closely related, Seagram's 7 is one of many types of American blended whiskies.  Blended whiskey may only contain 20% of 100-proof whiskey...the rest of the blend can be other whiskey or neutral grain spirits.  Other American blended whiskey includes:  Kessler and Beam's 8-Star.

Is JACK DANIEL'S OLD NO. 7 bourbon?

No.  Technically, Jack Daniel's is a sour-mash (see below) Tennessee whiskey, which means it has been filtered through sugar/maple charcoal.  This is considered to be a flavoring process and, therefore, outside of the guidelines of bourbon.  Taste-wise, it is very similar to bourbon and can be used in drink/cooking recipes as such.

Is RYE WHISKEY bourbon?

No. Bourbon guidelines state that, at least, 51% of the mash utilized is corn.  As the name states, rye whiskey uses rye as the primary grain in its mash.

What are some of the BEST BOURBONS?

BlueKitchen.net has compiled a list of our favorite bourbons...but this should, by no means, be considered the gospel.  When it comes to whiskey, everyone's taste varies and you should try and try again until you find your favorite.

What does SOUR-MASH mean?

Sour Mash is a process developed by Dr. James C. Crow around 1835 to provide uniformity in bourbon production.  A portion of the previous day's mash is added to the new mash to ensure consistent quality and character.

What's a good COOKING BOURBON?  Click here to see our list

In my experience, most people that cook with bourbon (especially for the holidays, special events, etc.) are usually not bourbon drinkers, so they want to know what brand is safe to cook with.  Nothing to great...nothing too awful.  So, here is a list of bourbon brands that I think are good for cooking.

Does bourbon get better/smoother as it ages in an unopened bottle?

No.  The aging process of bourbon ceases once it is taken out of the barrel.  In an air-tight bottle, a bourbon will be frozen in time.  The bourbon will not improve nor get worse.  Its quality will stay the same as the day it was put in.