National Bourbon Heritage Month came about in 2007 as a way to celebrate the family heritage, tradition and deep-rooted legacy that the bourbon industry contributes to the United States. Kentucky is the birthplace of bourbon, dating back more than 200 years and 95% of the world’s bourbon is currently made there. Only Kentucky has the perfect natural mix of climate, conditions and pure limestone water necessary for producing the world’s best bourbon.
To be considered bourbon, it must be made with a minimum of 51% corn and aged in new oak barrels that have been charred. Because of this, it makes for a unique corn market in the state. Each year, Kentucky’s bourbon and alcohol distillers utilize about 15 million bushels of corn annually! You can learn more about Kentucky corn and bourbon by visiting the Kentucky Corn Growers Association.
Bourbon has a wide range of aromas and flavors… sweet aromatic (vanilla, caramel, honey and butterscotch), fruit and floral (apple, pear, fig, raisin, date, citrus and rose), spice (black pepper, tobacco leaf, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon), wood (oak, cedar, pine, almond and pecan) and grain (corn, malt and rye). No single bourbon features all of these flavors.
Now that you know a little bit more about bourbon, you might be wondering what the best way is to experience the complexities of it and how exactly you can celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month. Well, that’s easy, gather up some friends, a few bottles of Kentucky’s finest, and have yourself a tasting!