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When whiskey is distilled, the proof can be as high as 160 (80% ABV). The law forbids, however, a higher proof than 125 (62.5% ABV) from entering the barrels – so the manufacturers have to add some water, to lower the proof. Most manufacturers go for the maximum allowed 125 proof – but some go as low as 100 proof (50% ABV). It may even be lower, but 100 proof is the lowest I have come across. The alcohol level when the whiskey is added to the barrels for ageing is referred to as “barrel entry proof” and I will

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“Angel’s share” and “Devil’s Cut” are two fun terms that are being used a lot in the whiskey industry. You may have heard about Angel’s Share – but maybe Devil’s Cut is new to you. Both terms refer to loss of whiskey between entering and exiting the barrels – but have very different explanations. Angel’s Share When whiskey ages inside the barrels, there will be some evaporation. You would think that it is the alcohol evaporating, but in many cases, it is primarily water. This is counterintuitive, as alcohol has a lower boiling point than water – and thus should

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You may have come across the term “Non-chill filtered” (NCF) on the label of one of your whiskey bottles. The term does not really tell a lot, other than being something with filtration – and the “non-chill” part is confusing, at best. But, everything will become clear in a few moments, as you read on. During the distillation process, certain compounds are created in the whiskey, that has the potential to make the whiskey hazy when it is cold – or even when water is added to it. Those compounds include certain proteins and fatty acids esters (you do not

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If you have made it this far, you will know that almost all types of American whiskey products (more than 99%, based on volume) have been aged in wooden barrels. By law, the barrels must be made of oak. I am not sure that this rule applies to whiskey producers globally, but in the United States it is the rule. And why is that you may ask? As it turns out, oak has some amazing properties that make this sort of wood ideal for storing whiskey – and that is the reason why its use is governed by law. One

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Just like I mentioned in the previous lesson, I will only be able to scratch the surface on the topic of whiskey ageing in this specific lesson. I will however, cover some of the more technical details in the lessons that follow this one – such as “Barrel entry proof”, “Angel’s share”, “Devil’s cut” and many more. If you read the previous lesson, you will know that whiskey is technically whiskey, even before the ageing process has started. The whiskey is clear as water, at this point, since all the color is added to the whiskey by the oak barrels

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The lessons I make on this blog are meant to be consumed in 5-10 minutes. Given that whole books – and year-long training – is associated with the topic in this specific lesson, I have been a bit challenged on the above-mentioned constraints. I will therefore only be able to give you the very high-level details and there will be a ton of details I have left out. As a result, you will come across whiskey distilleries that do not follow the details below to the letter – but the method I am describing is close to what (pretty much)

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ABV and “Proof” are both measuring scales for alcohol content, and 1 ABV equals 2 Proof. So there you have it. At this point, you may think “This guy has lost his marbles. How can he write a post about something that can literally be explained in one sentence?”. I am with you, trust me, but I thought I would tell you a few little know things, that you may not have heard about before. Such as why the word “proof” was chosen and why bottles in the US often have both measurements on the bottles. Oh, yes, and then

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In this lesson, I will look into the matter of which grains you can use for making whiskey in the United States. You would think that this question would be relatively easy to figure out, as SURELY there must be some kind of list of approved grains somewhere on the TTB’s website (they are the authorities) and you would be all set. Right? Wrong. Depending on how you interpret the TTB rules and the mind-numbing Code of Federal Regulations, it is either just “grains” or maybe more specifically “cereal grains” (which would leave out pseudocereals). If you do not know

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In this second lesson, I will be looking into another classic question: Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let us take the god news first: We know exactly where the name Bourbon comes from. And the bad news: We are not sure how the name Bourbon got attached to our beloved whiskey. Confused? Read on – and all will be (sort of) clear. The name Bourbon comes from the “House of Bourbon”, which is the name of a part of the French royal dynasty – and to some extend the Spanish royal dynasty as well.

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This is the first of (hopefully) many “Bourbon 101” posts, where I will try to answer different questions, under the “American Whiskey” umbrella. And why not kick if off with one of the most fundamental questions: Bourbon is one of approximately 35 different types of American whiskeys that are officially recognized by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). It is also – by miles – the type of whiskey that is most popular and thus produced in the largest quantities. To be able to call your product Bourbon, you must adhere to a number of very strict

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