One of the highlights of the Whisky and Spirits Live festival at Sandton Convention Centre on 8-10 November 2017 is the opportunity to taste a variety of bourbons – a chance not to be missed.
What is bourbon, and how does it differ from whisky?
Whisky is made from fermented grain mash such as wheat, corn, rye and barley, and is aged in oak casks. This aging in oak influences the colour of the liquid. Scotch whisky is produced in Scotland and to be called “whisky” it needs to have aged in oak barrels for a period of 3 years or more.
Bourbon is American whisky, strongly associated with the southern USA, and particularly Kentucky, and it must be made from at least 51% corn. Bourbon is matured in new charred oak barrels which aging process contributes to its characteristic caramel sweetness. However, there is no minimum prescribed period for the aging and even bourbons which have only been aged for three months or so can be found on shelves. All bourbons are whisky but not all whisky is bourbon.
Amongst the bourbons to be tasted at Whisky and Spirits Live are :-
Sazerac Rye has a light amber/ burnt orange colour. The nose includes sundried peaches and spice with a hint of caramel and oak. Notes of rye grass, peaches and light caramel are not overwhelmed by a huge burst of cinnamon spice. A little oak wood at the end leaves a very clean palate.
Buffalo Trace is considered one of the world’s greatest whiskeys by Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible. This Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has an outstanding aroma that is kicked off by a spicy prickle. It is rich, complex, and smooth in taste. It has a satisfyingly deep, gentle vanilla with a spring of mint and rye that offers extra depth and a layer of bitterness.
Eagle Rare Single Barrel, 10 years is aged for no less than 10 years. It has early aromas that include gentle grain, toasted honey-wheat bread and tobacco leaf. The finish is long, corny sweet and moderately fiery.
Blanton’s Single Barrel and Gold Edition was named after Colonel Albert B. Blanton, who first bottled his private reserve Bourbon nearly a century ago. Each barrel was personally reserved and bottled for ambassadors, dignitaries, family and friends, becoming the world’s first single barrel Bourbon.
1792 Small Batch is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon is made from a signature high rye recipe. It has an expressive and elegant flavour profile. Unmistakable spice mingles with sweet caramel and vanilla to create a bourbon that is incomparably brash and bold, yet also smooth and balanced.
W L Weller is a 12 Year Old wheat bourbons. Bottled at 90 proof (known as Kentucky proof) this Bourbon has a soft flavour perfect for sipping. Sweet, with a presence of caramel, honey, butterscotch, and a soft woodiness, it has aromas of lanolin, almond, creamed corn and toasty vanilla, with a long oaky smooth finish.
Whisky and Spirits Live takes place at Sandton Convention Centre from 08-10 November 2017.