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Bourbon and Whiskey Terms

The Bourbon and whiskey world is big and challenging. At times, even the most decorated professionals find it hard to maneuver. It might also become daunting to know all the basics. That is why The People's Bourbon Review presents some of the most common terms in the whiskey world below.

Whiskey is best when enjoyed amongst a company of friends. When you are with these friends, it's important to know how to communicate effectively concerning this spirit by learning its vocabulary.

Glossary of Bourbon & Whiskey Terminology

ABV. What Does ABV Represent in the Whiskey World?
ABV is the average amount by the percentage of alcohol or ethanol that an alcoholic beverage like wh...read more
Age/Age Statement. What is an Alcohol Age/Age Statement?
The age statement is the cumulative time that has taken the whiskey to mature or age. The law doesn&...read more
Angel's Share. What Is the Meaning of Angel's Share?
The part of whiskey that is lost to evaporation during the whiskey aging process.  These alc...read more
Backset. The Meaning of Backset in Distillation.
Backset is the watery leftover portion of a whiskey mash left in the still after a batch i...read more
Barley. What is Barley in Whiskey Production?
This is a type of grain that is cultivated, harvested, and dried purposely for alcohol production. I...read more
Barrel/Cask. Barrel vs Cask: Is There a Difference?
Distilleries have always used the terms barrel and cask interchangeably to mean hollow containers, w...read more
Barrel/Cask Strength/Proof. Are Barrel Proof, Cask Strength, and Barrel Strength the Same Thing?
Cask strength, barrel strength, and barrel proof refer to the same thing in whiskey production. It i...read more


Blend. The Definition of Blended Bourbon or Whiskey
A blend is a final product formed after mixing several types of whiskeys or spirits. Often, the bour...read more
Blender. What is a Whiskey Blender?
The terminology blender represents one individual or a group of people who have the expertise to ble...read more
Bottled-in-Bond. What is Bottled-in-Bond Whiskey?
Bottled-in-bond is a type of whiskey that is a product of one distiller in a single spring or fall s...read more
Bourbon. The Meaning of Bourbon
Bourbon is an American whiskey made from corn and containing at least 51% of this grain. These ...read more
Bung. What is a Bourbon Barrel Bung?
Bourbon or whiskey barrels have a circular opening that allows the distiller to empty or fill the ba...read more
Bunghole. What is a Bunghole is Whiskey?
A bunghole is a circular opening in a wooden whiskey barrel that is used for adding or removing...read more


Char/Charring. Why are Whiskey Barrels Charred?
Charring is the extent to which a distiller partly burns the internal surface of the wood casks befo...read more
Chill Filtration. What is Chill Filtration?
Chill filtration is the process by which distillers pass whiskies through fine adsorption filters to...read more
Congener. What is an example of a congener?
The fermentation process is a chemical process that is essential in the manufacture of alcohol. Sinc...read more
Cooper/Cooperage. What is Cooperage in Bourbon?
A cooper is a term used to refer to an individual skilled at professionally making and repairing cas...read more
Corn. Corn in the Production of Whiskey
Corn is a cereal type of grain that originated from North America for multiple purposes, including m...read more
Distillation. What is Distillation in Simple Words?
Distillation is among the fundamental processes in the production of whiskey. It involves separating...read more


Distiller/Distillery. What is a Distillery?
The term distiller refers to an individual or an organization that manufactures alcoholic beverages ...read more
Distiller's Beer. What is Distiller's Beer?
Distiller's beer is a phrase that refers to a type of thick beer whose primary ingredients inclu...read more
Doubler. What is a Doubler in Whiskey Production?
A doubler is a large copper still that increases the purity and improves the taste of what...read more
Dram. How Much is a Dram?
This word has its origin in Scotland, where it was used and is still being used to indicate one serv...read more
Ethanol. What is Ethanol in Whiskey?
Ethanol is a product of natural fermentation, a chemical reaction that involves breaking down sugars...read more
Expression. What is an Expression in Bourbon?
This word refers to any deviation from the original formula and procedure for making a particular wh...read more
Finger. What is a Finger of Whiskey?
This term is popular in measuring the amount of distilled spirits. It indicates the amount by volume...read more
Finish. What is the Definition of Finish in Whiskey?
First, the word finish is a term used in whiskey production where it refers to the type of whiskey t...read more
Foreshots/Feints. What are Foreshots and Feints in Whiskey Production?
Foreshots are the initial fractions of the distillate obtained during the distillation process of al...read more
Master. What is a Master Distiller?
Master is a title in distilling industries that refers to individuals who have become experts in all...read more
Nose/Nosing. What is the Meaning of Nosing in Whiskey?
Nosing is a process that experts use to identify the notes or aromas of a particular whiskey through...read more
Oak. What is Oak and Why is it Used in Bourbon Making?
Oak is a special and unique tree that bears acorns. This tree also produces lumber which is a critic...read more
Oxidation. What is Bourbon Oxidation?
Oxidation is a general term that explains the gradual process by which a whiskey in a bottle starts ...read more
Palate. What is Palate in Bourbon Tasting?
The term palate is popular in whiskey tasting processes and mainly refers to an individual'...read more
Peat/Peated. What is Peat and Why is it Important to Whisky?
Peat is a substance formed due to the slow rate of plant material decay. This decay is due to w...read more
Region. What is the Definition of Region in the Bourbon World?
The region is a general term representing a specific setting, environment, or geographical location ...read more
Rye. What Does Rye Whiskey Mean?
Rye is a unique type of grass that belongs to the family of cereal grains considered as fit for huma...read more
Scotch. What is Scotch?
Scotch is a type of whisky that undergoes the entire production process in Scotland under Scotland&#...read more
Single Barrel. What does Single Barrel Mean in Bourbon?
Single barrel and single cask have a similar meaning indicating a more pure bottle of whiskey that o...read more
Small Batch. What is Considered Small Batch Bourbon?
'Small batch' is a phrase that defines a bottle of whiskey, like Bourbon, that has been...read more
Sour Mash/Sweet Mash. What is Sour Mash?
Mash is a term used in the whiskey industry to mean a blend of hot water, yeast, and grain meal that...read more
Spirit. What is Spirit in the Whiskey Industry?
The word spirit in the whiskey industry is often used interchangeably with liquor to refer to an alc...read more
Still. What is a Still?
A still or a pot still is a type of equipment in the world of whiskey whose primary function is the ...read more
Straight. What Does Straight Bourbon Mean?
According to United States Law's definition, straight is a word that means a type of spirit from...read more
Thumper. What is a Thumper in Bourbon Production?
A thumper is a type of still that is used to process the second distillation of bourbon. The thumper...read more
Tun. What is a Mash Tun?
Tun refers to a huge container made from either copper or stainless steel, whose primary function is...read more
Unicorn. What is a Unicorn in Whiskey?
Whiskey fanatics and enthusiasts use the term 'Unicorn' to refer to a highly prized or sough...read more
Whiskey. What is Whiskey?
Whiskey is the main product of grain mash fermentation and successive distillation processes in stil...read more
Whisky. What is Whisky?
Whisky is a product of grain mash fermentation and subsequent distillation in pot stills before bein...read more
White Lightning. What is White Lightning?
This term refers to high-proof grain alcohol that is white in color and manufactured illicitly ...read more
Yeast. What is Yeast in the Production of Whiskey?
Yeast is a type of beneficial microorganism that is popular in the manufacture of alcoholic beverage...read more
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