If you have visited CRAFTED lately, it’s pretty evident that we love American Whiskey. We have an eclectic selection of the stuff; From Bourbon to Rye and everything in between. If you have ever wondered what the differences, rules, and regulations for whiskey production are… Wonder no more.
American Whiskey Classifications
There are several classifications of American whiskey, including straight, Bottled-in-Bond, and light whiskey:
Straight: This type is aged in white, charred oak barrels at 160 proof or less and aged at least two years. It is blended with water to no less than 80 proof and must be 51 percent grain by volume. About half of US consumption is straight whiskey.
Bottled-in-Bond: According to the Bottled Bond Act of 1894, American straight whiskey can be housed free of taxes while it ages, and is not taxed until it is removed from the warehouse to be sold.
It must be aged a minimum of 4 years, although most are aged longer. It is bottled at a minimum of 100 proof, and placed in a “bonded warehouse,” completely under the direct supervision of the Internal Revenue Service. Taxes are paid when the whiskey is released from the holding warehouse.
Light: This type is stored in standard or uncharred new oak containers and is between 161 and 189 proof. Blended light whiskey is mixed with less than twenty percent straight whiskey, and is made of corn. This classification is the newest, established in 1972.
What about Bourbon?
Born in America, Bourbon is a variety of whiskey made with the addition of at least 51 percent of corn and must be aged in charred white oak barrels. Contrary to popular belief, Bourbon does not need to be aged for a minimum of two years (“Straight Bourbon” does.) So technically, a whiskey could be aged for one day and be called Bourbon. Here are the simple rules:
- Made in America
- Mash bill made up of at least 51% corn
- Distilled to no higher than 160 proof
- Barreled at no higher than 125 proof
- Aged in new charred oak container
- bottled at no less than 80 proof
What does liquor “proof” mean?
“Proof” in the United States, is exactly twice the level of pure alcohol by content.
If a liquor is labeled 100 proof, it is 50 percent alcohol. Aging of all whiskeys is done in the barrels prior to bottling, not after. The longer it is aged, the smoother the whiskey.
Come into CRAFTED to browse our ever-changing Whiskey selection.
Tequila. For some people the name conjures up images of lost weekends in Tijuana, wild nights at college parties, or self-medicating visits to dingy bars when life got too much to bear.
That was then, this is now. The market for the one-time outlaw alcohol continues to expand, with the 100 percent pure blue agave leading the pack. Tequila has gone mainstream and upscale in a big way.
Tequila has its unique points. For one, there are no vintage years because tequila is made year-round from a plant that takes eight to 12 years to mature and its ripeness doesn't depend on the climate of one particular year. However, the weather obviously plays a major role year after year on the quality of the blue agave plants.
Once the best plants are selected, workers cut off the outer layers to reveal the pina, the pineapple-like heart of the plant, roasting it, with a clay oven -- the most traditional and the best way to heighten flavor.
Just as true champagne can only be made in Champagne, France, true tequila can only be produced in the Tequila region of Mexico and must meet stringent government regulations. It is made in two general categories:
•Tequila 100 percent Agave: Must be made only with the juice of the blue agave plant and must be bottled at the distillery in Mexico. It may be Blanco, Reposado, Añejo or Extra Añejo.
• Tequila: Must be made with at least 51 percent blue agave juices. It may be exported in bulk to be bottled in other countries following the NOM standard. It may be Gold, Blanco, Reposado, or Añejo.
NOM, the official Mexican product safety requirements, defines four types of tequila:
• Oro, or Gold: Modified by adding colorings and flavorings, caramel the most common. Widely preferred for frozen Margaritas.
• Blanco, or Silver: The traditional tequila. Clear, transparent, fresh from the still. Must be bottled immediately after the distillation process.
• Reposado, or Rested: Kept in previously used white oak casks for two to 11 months. Much mellower than blanco. It's pale in color with a gentle bouquet.
• Añejo, or Aged: Matured in white oak casks for a year or more. Maximum capacity of the casks should not exceed 159 gallons. Amber color, oak notes.
• Extra Añejo or Extra Aged: Similar to Añejo but matured for a minimum of three years. The flavors of this tequila a reminiscent of a good whiskey or cognac with mellow agave flavors coming through.
At CRAFTED we only carry 100% Agave Tequila.
We get this question all the time and it's a fair question with a long answer, but here's the short version.
Whisky or whiskey, refers to a broad category of alcoholic beverages that are distilled from fermented grain mash and aged in wooden casks (generally oak).
Different grains are used for different varieties, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and maize (corn).
As a rule, WHISKY is used when referring to Scotch and WHISKEY for everything else.
Whisk(e)ys are made in many parts of the world but the following are some of the most popular:
Scotch whiskies are generally distilled twice, though some are distilled a third time. International laws require anything bearing the label "Scotch" to be distilled in Scotland and matured for a minimum of three years in oak casks
American whiskeys include both straights and blends. To be called "straight" the whiskey must be one of the "named types" listed in the federal regulations and aged in oak casks for at least two years. The most common of the "named types" are Bourbon, which must be between 51% and 79% (inclusive) corn (maize) and Rye, which must be at least 51% rye.
We hope this answers that question and whether you enjoy Whisky or Whiskey, we have a great selection of both at Crafted.
We love tequila, its history, and production process. This distinct Mexican spirit born out of a clash of cultures has come a long way since its fiery beginnings. There is much contention when it comes to modern tequila production techniques (but that’s the subject for another post) instead, we wanted to share this amazing article by Joseph V Micallef, a contributor over at the Huffington Post on the history of one of the oldest tequila brands in Mexico.
It’s a great, informative read.