Congratulations, you’ve decided to take the leap and give “America’s Native Spirit,” a try. Enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or mixed in cocktails, you won’t be disappointed. With a dizzying selection of bottles on liquor store shelves, it can be intimidating to choose between the many brands and styles. But before you make your first bourbon purchase, there are some details to consider when hunting for the storied spirit.
In order for a whiskey to be classified as bourbon, corn must be the majority grain. A distiller can add rye, wheat, or malted barley, just as long as corn constitutes 51 percent of the mash bill. Because corn imparts sweet notes, the more corn in the mash bill, the sweeter and richer the bourbon. For comparison’s sake, our signature mash bill includes 64 percent corn, 24 percent rye, and 12 percent barley.
While the spirit can technically be made anywhere in the United States, the heart and soul of bourbon belongs to Kentucky. Bourbon aficionados thank the Bluegrass State’s unique limestone-filtered water and climate for creating a superior product that no other location can match. To capture that authentic flavor, Hand Barrel Bourbon is proudly distilled, aged and bottled at Kentucky’s Bardstown Bourbon Company.
When it comes to aging, there is no specified duration for how long the bourbon must spend in wood, but distillers are required to use charred new oak containers. One exception is “Straight Bourbon,” like Hand Barrel, which has an aging requirement of at least two years before being bottled. Our bourbon ages in American oak that has been charred to Level #4, known as the alligator char, that adds an extra layer of spice and complexity. While our 105 proof is higher than a typical bourbon, the elevated alcohol helps to balance Hand Barrel’s robust profile.