Confused by the Bourbon lingo (single barrel, proof, NDP, etc.) ?
Here are some of the more common Bourbon questions answered. Feel free to add any other FAQ’s
What does Single Barrel mean?
– The Bourbon has been aged in a single barrel and only Bourbon (and water) from that barrel has been put in to the bottle.
What is Small Batch Bourbon?
-Small Batch Bourbon is when the distillery or bottler selects a small amount of barrels and mixes them together. This allows the distiller to balance flavors by adding different years and recipes to the batch as well as produce a more consistent product. The number of barrels to be considered small batch isn’t regulated but it is usually somewhere between 10-50.
What is barrel proof Bourbon?
-Barrel proof Bourbon is bourbon that was bottled without the addition of water. Barrel proof bottles will usually say uncut.
What is an NDP?
-NDP’s are Non Distiller Producers. These are brands that select barrels from other distilleries but do not do any distilling themselves. A few examples of NDP’s would be Michters, Angels Envy and Willet (although they are now distilling their own now it is just not ready for release yet.).
What does NAS mean?
– No Age Statement. When a distiller bottles a bourbon without an age statement (8 year, 15 year, etc.) this is what NAS is referring to. There are several reasons why a distiller may do this. Most of the time it is because the ages vary by batch so this gives them some freedom to create a consistent product based on taste and not on years.
– Mash is the mixture of grains (at lest 51% for Bourbon) and water. This Mash is cooked to extract the sugar from the grain and then yeast is added. After the Mash is fermented the Distilling begins.
-Instead of using new yeast distillers use a previous mash to get the fermentation process started. This helps the distiller keep a consistent PH balance with the mash. While some Bourbons advertise “Sour Mash” on the bottle a majority of Bourbons are made this way.
What does (Charcoal) filtered mean?
-Charcoal filtering, also referred to as the Lincoln County Process, is a process in which the Whiskey/Bourbon is filtered through or soaked in charcoal. This is usually done by Tennessee Whiskies after distillation but before it is barreled. Some Bourbons do this after the Bourbon has aged in the barrels but before it is bottles. It will extract the fatty acids in the Bourbon so that the Bourbon remains clear when water or ice is added.
Does this affect the taste? Probably not. However, there are some Whiskey die-hards that will vehemently disagree. It reminds me Anheuser-Busch claiming that adding beechwood to their aging vessels creates a smoother taste.
What’s the difference between Bourbon and Whiskey?
If you have any other questions please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Or, if there are some other FAQ’s you think should be on this list leave those as well.