Bourbon whiskey gets its name from Bourbon County, Kentucky, where is was first made in the late 18th century. It is distilled from fermented mash, containing at least 51% corn, in addition to rye and malted barley. Sour mash bourbon uses a portion of the mash from the previous batch as a starter to help ferment the new batch to ensure consistent character and quality. Bourbon whiskey must be aged in new charred oak barrels, and bottled at no less than 80 proof.
Bonded Bourbon Whiskey: Bourbon whiskey that has been aged and bottled according to the requirements of the Bottled and Bond Act of 1897. It is Straight Bourbon Whiskey, made at one time and in one location, that has been aged in government-supervised warehouses for at least 4 years, than bottled at 100 proof.
In 1964, Congress decreed bourbon to be America's "native spirit".
In 2000, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown was recognized as the official Bourbon Festival of Kentucky.
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