As a Kentuckian, you likely have heard mention of the state’s beloved bourbon whiskey. It has been produced and enjoyed in Kentucky since before its statehood was established.
No matter if you've been drinking it for years or are just now exploring this unique distilled spirit, learning about bourbon tasting is something everyone should experience!
First, the basics: what is bourbon?? Legally, Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is aged in new charred oak barrels and made with at least 51% corn.
Now before we start ordering bourbon flights and savoring the “Kentucky hug”, AKA that good warm burn you get while sipping bourbon, it might be beneficial to get a few pointers on how to properly taste the raw spirit.
The first step is the easiest! Notice the color. Color comes mostly from the barrel and age, so although it may look all the same at first glance, compare different bourbons from one another.
Some might appear slightly more straw color, while others are deep orange and dark amber in color. Typically, lighter colors are lighter in taste.
Second step is just as easy, sniffing the bourbon. Most proper bourbon glasses will be tapered toward the top to funnel the aromas.
Now don’t stick your nose deep into the glass or you risk burning your nose with the heavy alcohol vapors.
Instead, give a little distance between your nose and the glass and take a light whiff, leaving your mouth open as you breathe in.
And next we finally get to taste the dang thang! Take a small sip and swish it around your mouth without initially swallowing. Hit all the taste buds – this is what we call the Kentucky Chew