It's no secret we are a huge fan of American whiskies here at Whisky Loot - this month, we feature three in our TRIPLE CROWN box! Here are some cool things you might not know about American Whisky:
1. American Whisky is so much more than just bourbon (despite popular belief)! There's Rye Whisky, Tennessee Whisky, Corn Whisky, and other more experimental whiskies. There are over 2000 distillieries in the USA - one of our favourites is the King County Distillery in Brooklyn. Their American Single Malt is phenomenal - and it's not just us that thinks so; they've won big at the World Spirit Awards for the past couple of years.
2. The production, sale and consumption of whisky in America has a fascinating history - as early as the 1700's (!) a tax was placed on whisky to help repay debt after the Revolutionary war. This led to a rebellion and eventual interception by President Washington. Then of course there was prohibition in the 20's, which banned the sale of liquor outright - during prohibition you could get whisky illegally (think gangs, speakeasies etc), or as prescription medication. The history is well worth a deep dive if you're a fan of American Whisky.
3. Ever wondered what makes a bourbon a bourbon? It has to be at least 51% corn, and aged in new barrels. USA bourbon can only use new American oak barrels, which are then on-sold to European distilleries as second-fill barrels. The bourbon style isn't exclusive to the USA - awesome Aussie distilleries like Upshot are replicating the bourbon style right here on our very own shores. We are a huge fan of the Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Straight Bourbon, a bonafide Kentucky bourbon that has won a pretty staggering amount of awards worldwide.
4. Though you may think there is stiff competition between the big producers - one of our absolute favourite whisky friendships is the long-time friendship between Jim Beam distiller Fred Noe, and legendary Wild Turkey distiller Jimmy Russell (dream dinner guests, anyone?). You can see their friendship in action here for Whisky Advocate.
5. European immigrants to America found that rye was easier to grow than barley - so for a while, Rye Whisky was the predominant whisky produced in America. Then prohibition happened - and people developed a taste for milder whiskies. Rye whiskies have recently been making a comeback - we love the 6-year-old Sazerac Straight Rye Whisky from the Buffalo Trace Stable. With a mash of approximately 51% rye, 39% corn and 10% malt, it's rather sweeter than many other rye whiskies.
6. Speaking of Buffalo Trace - it is the oldest distillery in the USA, and has been operating for over 200 years (!) - even during prohibition, where they were permitted to make whisky for 'medicinal purposes.' If you can't make it to Kentucky in person, they have a virtual tour on their website so you can see how it all works behind the scenes.
7. There are currently more barrels of bourbon maturing in Kentucky than there are people. Yup.
Need a hand finding a particular American Whisky? Got questions? Reach out to our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org or on live chat at www.whiskyloot.com between 9.30am and 2.30pm, Monday - Friday.