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September 21, 2020
For a spirit with such a nuanced and complex flavor profile, Bourbon is made from decidedly few ingredients. All of those deep caramels, lingering baking spices, subtle fruit, and smoke notes emerge from a simple-but-exacting combination of grain, yeast, charred oak… and, of course, water.
In Kentucky’s Bourbon Country, our local water is held in the same regard for producing quality Bourbon as the abundant corn that grows here, or the barrels that age it. Since Bourbon can be as much as 60% water, using the right kind of water at the right step in the production process is a major contributor to both the final flavor and quality. Typically referred to as Kentucky Limestone Water, this special ingredient brings a sense of local provenance and regional terroir that showcases the best of our rich landscape.
It all starts with a natural filtering process that occurs deep underground. Aquifers are filled via subterranean rivers and natural springs, and then the water slowly trickles through ancient sedimentary rock shelves, which transforms it in two ways. First, the limestone imbues the water with important minerals that are consumed by the yeast during the fermentation process. Second, it filters the water and removes iron, which will interact with the components in the oak barrel and discolor the Bourbon.
But water doesn’t only affect whiskey at the beginning of the process. It continues to play a role throughout aging, batching, bottling, and even enjoyment in the glass. To discover how water flows throughout the lifetime of America’s Native Spirit, we invite you to check out our latest feature.
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