So, what exactly is Bourbon?


“Bourbon is the most heavily regulated product in the world. Our Federal Government tell you how you have to make bourbon.” – Eddie Russell

All bourbons are whiskey but not all whiskies are bourbon. Just like all thumbs are fingers but not every finger is your thumb. Listed below is a set of rules that make America’s only native spirit exactly that;

A – American Made! Despite popular belief that bourbon can only be made in Kentucky, if it is made anywhere in the USA this criterion is met.

B – Barrels! The spirit must be aged in a new charred oak barrel.

C – Corn! The mash must contain over 51% Corn.

D – Distillation proof. After the stripping run is complete the new make’s alcohol content cannot be higher than 160 proof (50ABV).

E – Entry Proof. When the new make enters the barrel it cannot have an alcohol volume above 125 proof (62.5 ABV).

F – Fill proof. When the bourbon enters the bottle (as is with all whisk(e)y’s world wide), it must be 80 proof (40% abv) or higher.

G – Genuine. The bourbon must be pure and contain no added color or flavor.

If all the above criteria are met, you have yourself a bottle of bourbon. Full stop. But some of you will be thinking, ‘But some bottles I have seen in Dam Murphy have “Bottled in Bond” written on them. I wonder what that means?’ Great question.

Bottled in Bond mean that the bottle of Bourbon hat that you are holding has been aged and bottled according to a set of legal regulations contained in the United States government’s Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, as originally laid out in the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. That was the year that Colonel Taylor led a crusade against sub standard or even unlawfully made Bourbon. The Bottled0in-Bond Act means that the bottle you are now holding MUST;

1 – Be a product of one distilling season, one Master Distiller & one distillery

2 – It must be aged in a Federally bonded warehouse under Government supervision for a minimum of 4 years

3 – It must be bottled in glass, and be at least 100 proof.

You are now an expert in the requirements of making bourbon. Spread the word.


  1. Love this step by step guide. Very similar information i got from the small batch sessions tasting i went to not long ago. Look him up. He’s a lovely little guy called Joe and he’s Melbourne based


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