Kentucky Bourbon No Backwoods Booze

Sophisticated stuff sees popularity spike
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 30, 2009 8:02 AM CDT
In this photo taken on Wednesday, April 8, 2009, guide Dave Salyers describes the bourbon making process to a group touring the Woodford Reserve distillery in Versailles, Ky.   (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)
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(Newser) – Bourbon is sweet, but that’s no reason to call it unsophisticated, as one lover of the stuff learned on a trip to Kentucky. Making the whiskey is a process so complex and nuanced that master distillers are few—and the job often stays within families, writes spirits expert and food blogger Jason Wilson in the Washington Post. “We're not about bib overalls anymore. This is a city boy's drink,” says one.

The rules for making bourbon are many, but they “leave a lot of room for individual style,” Wilson writes. Yeast strains vary. Water, which depends on a distillery’s location, affects flavor. Opinion differs widely on how long to age the whiskey. But America seems to have found a new appreciation for the drink: Sales of super premium bourbon and Tennessee whiskey have doubled in the past 5 years.