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Distillery Journey

Making Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

"Making Bourbon whiskey is a combination of art and science," says Wild Turkey Distillery.

Alcohol and water boil at different temperatures; water at 100C and Alcohol at 78.3C. Thus when heating a fermented mixture, the vapour is released first to be cooled and condensed into a spirit at a highter strength. Alcohol contains a wide range of chemical compounds including ethyl alcohol, aldehydes, amyl alcohol, esters, acids and methanol, which all are resulted by a combination of the raw material and fermentation.

Master Distillers
Master distillers are involved in different steps of the whiskey making process, from inspecting the ingredients, selecting barrels, monitoring temperatures and determing when the Bourbon can be bottled out of barrels.

Julian Van Winkle, Independent Bottler of Old Rip Vin Winkle Bourbon says, "My grandfather always used wheat instead of rye in his Bourbon formula. This makes for a smoother and mellower flavor that most other Bourbons. The wheat also ages more gracefully than rye based Bourbon."

On the other hand, Wild Turkey says that they are proud to produce their whiskey with more rye than other distilleries. Each distiller makes their whiskey based on their tradition and beliefs, and the consumer judges the taste by their personal preference.

Bill Samuels of Maker's Mark says, "Not so many people really know about Bourbon, but people keep buying our product because they have emotional attachment to the brand."

Four Roses distillery had one of the engineers to create an original software to oversee the entire distilling process at their distillery. On the other hand, Maker's Mark distillery, located about 45 minutes away from Four Roses distillery, claims that the every step of their production is handcrafted from selecting the ingredients to sealing the bottle with the famous red wax that arrives from India.

Master Distiller of Four Roses, Jim Rutledge explains, "Bourbon can be made anywhere within the border of the United States." Today over 90% of Bourbons are produced in the state of Kentucky. Bardstown Kentucky is officially recognized as the Bourbon Capitol of the World. The town once held more than 20 distilleries. Toay Bourdstown hosts the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival to help promote the Bourbon industry.

Many distilleries are located around Bardstown. Distillery tours are available to public. During the tour, visitors are taken to inside the distillery to see their operation. Taking a distillery tour is the best way to learn the Bourbon whiskey process.

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