Beautifully oaked, spicy or sweet, classic American whiskey holds deep roots in the history of the whiskey tax and prohibition eras. From underground moonshine operations to the modern distilleries today, many famous crafters of American whiskey trace their origins back to colonial days.
AWAS Stocks the Best Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey
When you hear American whiskey, it is most commonly bourbon or Tennessee whiskey made with a minimum requirement of 51% corn mash. Still, many other options exist, such as rye, wheat, malted rye, or corn whiskey.
With so much American history ingrained in the various distilling processes, sampling the fantastic range of whiskeys the US offers will provide a complete experience of taste and culture.
Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Returning to pre-prohibition Bourbon, Knob Creek maintains a strict code for quality, producing only 100-proof whiskeys in charred oak barrels. The woody, maple-sugary flavour profile is ideal for sipping and a sure item in any American whiskey lover’s collection.
Nelson’s First 108 Tennessee Whiskey
A superb small-barrel aged Tennessee whiskey, Nelson’s First 108 is a spicy, bold treat. Proper sampling with water or ice reveals underlying cinnamon and butterscotch notes and expresses the excellent blend of wheat, corn, and malted barley mash that build the foundation.
Bourbon vs Tennessee and Other American Whiskey
From the wild west of whiskey distillation, the well-documented changes to the American style during prohibition define what we know as American whiskey today.
Most fine American whiskey is either Bourbon or Tennessee, but straight whiskey can be made of rye, rye malt, malt, or wheat with a 51% majority of single grain in the mash. Legally, Bourbon is region dependent and must be produced in the US with a majority corn mash and aged in charred oak barrels. Tennessee whiskey is only produced in the state of Tennessee and filtered using a Lincoln County Process to distinguish itself from Bourbon legally.
Many excellent Bourbons are enjoyed internationally due to the broad range of grains included in the mash providing its characteristic sweet flavours and compelling innovations.
Can bourbon be made in Australia?
Technically, no. While an Australian distillery can very well craft a bourbon-styled corn mash whiskey, much like champagne, bourbon is region-specific. Also, all bourbon is, by law, aged in charred virgin American oak barrels with no minimum ageing requirement; however, ‘straight bourbon’ requires a minimum of four years in the barrel.
What is the best American Whiskey?
Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey lovers are often steadfast in their loyalty to a single brand like Jim Beam or Jack Daniels. Still, there are plenty of excellent American whiskeys that have a claim to the title of “Best American Whiskey”.
New Riff distillery in Kentucky produces a number of quality bourbons, and Burnt Ends are well known for premium whiskeys.
How is whiskey different from Scotch?
Like bourbon, Scotch is region dependent and controlled by specific legal requirements. Typically, Scotch uses only malted barley distilled in a pot still and typically carries a complex, peated profile with slight variations in casks used, maturation periods, and inter-distillery blends.
American whiskey is styled after the traditional Irish processes and includes a wider variety of grains, and is distilled in a Coffey or column still. Most American whiskey, including bourbon, Tennessee, and other grain whiskeys, are sweeter, less mature, and include more variation in profile.