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Being the product of the distillation of a fermented grain mash, American Whiskey can be aged for a various amount or time, typically from a few seconds to 20+ years.
8 to 9 years tends to be the sweet spot & traditional time spent in cask after which the spirits is bottled and sold.
The American whiskey category is vast and diverse; a vast array of aromas and flavor profiles exist that might be a little tricky to navigate.

The factors coming into play into the elaboration of the final taste/aroma profile of this type of spirit are typically:
a- the type/composition of the grain mash bill used
b- the yeast that helped the ferment the grain mash into the beer that will be distilled
c- the distillation process itself
d- the type of cask the spirit has been aged in (type of charring, old or new wood)
e- amount of time spent in cask
f- the temperature/humidity in the rickhouse
g- the proof at which the whiskey has been bottled.

The type of grain, the yeast and distillation process impact the taste/aromas of the whiskey up to about 30%.
The cask, the amount of time in cask and the temperature can be grouped together under the term "ageing process" and represent at least 50% of what gives a bourbon/rye/etc... its specific profile.

Because taking into account all the above factors would be too complicated a classification to establish, in order to help our customers navigate easily those diverse spirits, we will be using the mash-bill composition as a good approximation of what the products will/should taste like.

When being classified as a bourbon the mash bill needs to be 51% corn minimum, by law however, they are usually about 75%. Traditionally it contains about 10% of barley malt, which has little to no effect on taste but helps the fermentation process.
The rest of the mash bill is a “flavor grain”: usually rye in the proportion of +/- 15% in general.  The more rye used, the spicier & somewhat drier the style of bourbon will be.
Sometimes it the flavor grain used is wheat -hence the term "wheated bourbon" or "wheater" bringing a creamier, rounder aspect to the spirit.

The basic rule of thumb for determining the flavor profile of an American Whiskey is listed below.  In addition there are some American Whiskeys that do not fit into any of these categories and thus create a category of their own.

1- Wheat "flavored" Bourbon - wheat "flavored" bourbon creamier, rounder
2- Traditional Bourbon - low to average rye % in the mash bill (i-e 15% rye and under): creamy, round with a hint of spice
3- Rye "flavored" BourbonWith a Higher than Avg Rye % in the mash bill (i-e above 15%): spiciness piercing through
4- Rye whiskey - drier, more grainy and spicy
5- Wacky stuff

Note:
The above classification is an approximation in order to make it easier to apprehend; some products will have a different profile than this would let expect.
Do not hesitate to contact any member of our staff should you have any question.

- Text Written by Nicolas Palazzi
www.pmspirits.com
Twitter: @CaptnCognac



A few Classic American Whiskey Recipes

The Manhattan

This cocktail was created in the 1870’s at New York City’s Manhattan Club for dinner organized by Lady Jenny Churchill, the Brooklyn resident who became Winston Churchill’s mother.

 

2 ˝ ounces Russell's Reserve Rye 6yr

˝ to 1 ˝ ounces Martelletti Vermouth Classico

3 dashes Hella Bitters Citrus

1 maraschino cherry

Chill a stemmed cocktail (martini) glass. Pour the Russel Rye, Vermouth and bitters into a mixing glass half-filled with ice cubes. Stir well to blend and chill. Strain the mixture into the cocktail glass. Garnish with the maraschino cherry.

 

The Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned was first made at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, KY, by the bartender for one of the old regular, a retired Civil War general, who didn’t care for the taste of straight whiskey!


˝ orange slice

1 maraschino cherry, stem removed

2 ˝ ounces Buffalo Trace Bourbon

3 dashes Hella Bitters Citrus

1 teaspoon water

˝ teaspoon superfine sugar

In an old-fashioned glass combine the orange slice, cherry, bitters, water and sugar.

Using the back of a teaspoon, muddle the ingredients, dissolving the sugar and mashing the fruit somewhat. Fill the glass with ice cubes, add the Bourbon and stir gently

 

The Sazerac

The Sazerac was invented in the mid-19th Century by Leon Lamothe, a bartender in New Orleans. The original recipe called for brandy as its base, however in time this changed to Bourbon.


2 teaspoons Osbello Absinthe Verte

˝ teaspoon superfine sugar

3 dashes Peychaud bitters

1 teaspoon water

1 cup finely crushed ice

2 ˝ ounces Evan Williams Bourbon, Single Barrel Vintage (2001)

1 lemon twist

 

1-Pour the absinthe into an old-fashioned glass and swirl it around to coat the glass. Pour out any excess

2-In another old-fashioned glass, muddle together the sugar, bitters and water with the back of a spoon until the sugar dissolves.

3-Fill the first glass with crushed ice

4-Add the bourbon to the muddled mixture and stir gently; pour into the ice-filled glass. Garnish with the lemon twist

 


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