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The difference between Bourbon

美國波本的差異

In the process of understanding and learning whisky, Bourbon whiskey from the US is easy to identify with its gorgeous aromas and sweet palate. All these come from not only the ingredients constitute to the mash bill and the distillation approach, but also the use of the new American oak barrel, which is in fact a key factor in determining the final flavor profile.

 

From the viewpoint of an amateur drinker, however, it is hard to differentiate between various Bourbon whiskies as it does in Scotch whisky. The insignificant differences between Bourbons is mainly due to regulation that only new oak barrels are allowed in ageing the spirits

 

Due to the dominance of new oak aromas, and the difference between them is only determined by the degree of charring, it becomes hard for beginners to distinguish the subtle variant between each whiskey.

 

As we have learned the problem caused by new oak barrels, we can tackle it by  extending the time we nose. By doing so, the oak-dominating bouquet is allowed to oxidize and violate. Following the fades of the oak impact, the characteristics of various whiskies will emerge gradually.

 

In addition to extending nosing time, we can find hints by studying the mash bill of various Bourbon whiskies. What are the aromas associated with those grains? What does oak barrel bring to the aroma profile? Make a summary about the linkage between the sensory and those elements, it will be much easier to make progress.

 

A reminder to beginners is stick to those well-known whiskey brands that have their own distilleries. In the United States, many Bourbon brands are just responsible for the bottling and marketing, which simply buy the spirits from others and undergoes the ageing independently. These may lead to confusion to those who want to learn from tasting. The relevant information is also less transparent.

 

After all, it is important that information are transparent and accessible in building up your knowledge foundation. It will leads to confusion if the accessed information is wrong. Finally, practice makes perfect. Do ask more and don’t hesitate to discuss with the others.

 

在了解與學習各國威士忌的過程中,美國波本威士忌的風味是相當鮮明且容易辨認,而香氣可以說是較為濃郁以及香甜中又相當的華麗,這所有的一切除了美國波本威士忌的穀物配方以及蒸餾方式外,使用全新的美國橡木桶是佔有非常重要的影響。

 

但站在初階品飲者的角度來看,一開始接觸美國波本威士忌的香氣會讓人覺得都十分的相似外,也較難感受到不同酒廠間的特色是什麼,不像蘇格蘭威士忌會有明顯的差異感受,當然這一切比較主要的原因莫過於美國波本威士忌因為法規問題,只能使用全新的橡木桶。

 

因為全新的橡木桶活性十足,橡木桶的差異又只有烤桶的輕重程度不同,再加上各家酒廠也都只能使用全新橡木桶的情況下,自然而然對於還未能細分香氣的初階品飲者而言,所有波本嚐起來都非常相似。

 

雖然如此,但我們已經了解主要的原因是全新橡木桶所造成問題的情況下,我們還是可以借由先不喝,而將嗅聞的時間拉長,把一開始因橡木桶所釋放出來的厚重香氣利用時間拉長去氧化揮發,當橡木桶所賦予的厚重香氣影響降低後,各家酒廠的特色自然就會浮現,也比較容易的感受到,而不再是一直讓人覺得聞起來都是相似的感受。

 

我們除了利用時間去氧化揮發橡木桶所帶來的氣味影響外,一般在學習美國波本威士忌的差異性時,我們也可以由各家酒廠穀類配方的比例不同方向,來加以區分與學習美國波本威士忌,先了解各家酒廠各個穀類所佔的比重外,這些穀類原料所帶出來的氣味是什麼?哪些是屬於橡木桶所帶來的氣味?將這些感受加以分類後,自然在學習的過程中會簡易輕鬆許多。

 

不過在剛開始學習及購買美國波本威士忌時,最好還是從知名並且擁有自己酒廠的酒款開始學習比較適合。畢竟在美國波本威士忌來說,很多品牌是單純的品牌行銷與裝瓶,而這許多品牌向酒廠購買酒後,再各自熟成或裝瓶,相對的在學習上容易造成混淆外,在相關資訊上的查詢也較不完善或是透明。

 

畢竟所有的學習,能有較為完善並且透明的資訊情況下,比較可以建立正確且完整的基礎架構外,也會比較容易進階再探索不同層次的差異,如果一開始的學習資訊是錯誤的,那在學習的過程中只會更加的混亂混淆顛倒是非,最後就是多喝多問多討論來累積自己的經驗,自然就能不斷的進步更加了解。