Kentucky Barrels
Kentucky Bourbon is America's only native spirit.  By law Bourbon must be made in NEW American white oak barrels.  The many years spent aging in new barrels is one of the reasons Kentucky Bourbon is the best whiskey in the world today.  After the golden liquid is removed, the barrels are exported where they are REUSED to make Scotch and Irish whiskey, rum, and tequila.  It is our pleasure to share this valuable part of our Kentucky heritage with you.
About Kentucky Barrels
Contact Us
Amazon Store
Whiskey: from the Gaelic "water of life."

Daniel Boone
It all began here generations ago, in what was then the frontier wilderness of America.
The Governor of Virginia at that time was Thomas Jefferson, he offered pioneers sixty acres of land in Kentucky (then called Bourbon county) if they would build a permanent structure and raise "native corn". No family could eat that much corn, it was too perishable and bulky to transport for sale; so it was turned into whiskey.
The perfect combinations of water, climate, corn, white oak forests, and rugged pioneers came together to make what would become a world-renowned product. Kentucky Bourbon is different from other types of whiskeys because of ingredients, aging, the pure, limestone-rich water of Kentucky, and our Kentucky crafted American white oak barrels. While technology has allowed improvements and standardization in the production of Bourbon today, it's unique flavor is forged from long-standing traditions of distilling here in Kentucky .                
James Crowe's First DistilleryWhat Is Bourbon Whiskey: While there are many types of whiskey, from Scotland and Ireland, to Canada and the US, Bourbon is a special form first created, distilled, and aged in Kentucky. Kentucky produces more than 95 percent of the world's bourbon. Production has more than doubled since 1999. The unique nature of Bourbon can be derived from the iron-free water used in the distillation process. Local distillers have used their resources to perfect a world class product with a distinct amber color, and natural flavor. Picture Depicts pioneer distiller James Crow Building his First Distillery In a Log Cabin on Glenn's Creek near Frankfort Kentucky, Crow carried out the experiments that revolutionized whiskey making in America Uniquely recognized as "America's native spirit," by an act of Congress in 1964, no whiskey can call itself Bourbon unless it is manufactured within the United States according to the Bourbon formula. That is, a whiskey distilled at not higher than 160 from a fermented mash of grain containing at least 51 percent corn and stored at not more than 125 proof, in NEW, charred, white oak barrels. Nothing may be added to Bourbon except distilled water to adjust the proof. Bourbon must not be bottled below 80 proof unless otherwise noted on the label that it is diluted. Bourbon is not Bourbon unless the label says so. Kentucky Bourbon has been the preferred drink of Americans since it was first brought to market in the foothills of Kentucky over 200 years ago.The best Bourbon whiskey is made right here where it all started generations ago. Pride in quality handed down to us today, Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.   Kentucky produces more than 95 percent of the world's bourbon. Production has doubled since 1999 — from 455,078 barrels to 937,865 barrels in 2007. About 4.5 million barrels of bourbon were aging in Kentucky at the end of 2007.
Our Water
Kentucky Limestone WaterMillions of years in the making Kentucky spring water, purified as it flows over limestone rock formations, is perfect for Bourbon distilling because it is free of minerals that affect taste. This iron-free limestone water is part of what makes Kentucky Bourbon world-renowned.
Select Grains
Grain Used In Kentucky Bourbon
The most common Bourbon recipes consist of a mixture of at least 51 percent corn, barley malt and rye or wheat. Each distiller takes great care in selecting the grains, making choices based on quality, ripeness and moisture content. These grains are ground into a meal and mixed in intervals with the iron-free limestone water. The mixture is then "mashed" or cooked. During this process the mash produces starch, which upon further cooking become maltose, or grain sugar. A strain of yeast added to the mixture converts the sugar to alcohol, beginning fermentation.
The grain used in Kentucky Bourbon whiskey helps support farm families in Kentucky, and surrounding states
mash vat
The yeast feeds upon the mixture of water and grain, called sour mash, in huge tubs. The strains of yeast used in fermenting mash in the various Bourbon distilleries make one brand of Bourbon different from another and are closely guarded secrets in the industry. The yeast is believed to affect the body, aroma and taste of the Bourbon as much as the aging process. Many strains have been passed from generation to generation in family-owned distilleries and are still used today. Fermentation takes place in large tubs, some with a capacity of up to 50,000 gallons. In the early days of Bourbon making, tubs made of cypress wood were used to hold the mash. Although some distilleries still use cypress, stainless steel tubs are now common. After three to four days of fermenting, the mash is then transferred into another container for distilling. The resulting crystal clear liquid is distilled or separated from the mash. At this point, the mixture is eight to nine percent alcohol, making it 16 to 18 proof.
Pot Stills Distilling is the process of removing the alcohol from the mash, accomplished by heating the mash and capturing the vapor, which contains alcohol and flavoring elements. Continuous stills, and copper pot stills, are used to heat the mash and gather the vapor. The vapor cools as it travels through the still and is reconverted into a liquid, known in distilling circles as "low wine" or "distiller's beer," containing from 45 to 65 percent alcohol (or 90 to 130 proof). Most distillers use a doubler still, resembling a large pot, to further refine the low wine into high wine, a clear liquid, ready for aging. High wine contains from 50 to 57.5 percent alcohol (100 to 115 proof), depending on the final product desired. However, the higher the proof of a Bourbon, the lower the amount of flavoring elements it contains.
Charred Oak Barrels
Filling Our Barrels Bourbon is aged in NEW white oak barrels, unlike the used barrels of other whiskey types. This new wood means that the Bourbon draws a great deal of color and flavor from the barrel, with vanilla and caramel predominant characteristics. Think of the new barrels as big sugar cubes that impart that sweet woody flavor and aroma to the Bourbon. To make a Bourbon barrel wood is cut into staves which are super heated and bent into ovular form. The barrel is then "toasted" by sending it through a small fire for about 12 minutes to caramelize the sugar in the wood. Next, it is applied to a larger fire for 6 to 12 seconds to burn out the inside and produce a charcoal layer. The charring must cover the barrel evenly so the whiskey has a consistent flavor. The new, white oak barrels are filled to capacity with the high wine, ready for several years of aging. During the aging process, the whiskey is said to"breathe" in the barrel. The climate in Kentucky in the summer gets very hot, and cold in the winter. This means that with the rapid expansion and contraction of the spirit into and out of the wood, maturing happens at a quicker rate than for example in the cool, damp climates of Scotland or Ireland. As the liquid ages in the barrel, variations in temperature as the seasons change force it to expand and contract through the caramelized layer of charred wood inside the barrel, "mellowing" it and giving it the distinctive Bourbon flavor and appearance. The liquid moves 3/4 of an inch in and out of the 1 inch thick white oak, this is why it is important to use only NEW barrels. Bourbon aging must take place for a minimum of two years. If aged less than four years, labeling must include age. Most Bourbons are aged from four to eight years. Some are aged 12, 18, and even 24 years.

Most warehouses are built on hilltops or in a staggered format in open fields. They contain several stories of "racks" for housing the barrels and usually allowOur Barrels a certain amount of airflow. Because temperature changes often affect barrels stored on the top story more quickly, some distillers rotate the barrels as they age to even out the process. Temperature changes cause pure water in the Bourbon to evaporate, so the barrels when opened commonly contain much less liquid than when they were filled. Bourbon loses about three percent of its volume for each year of aging, but contains between 10 and 20 percent more alcohol. Because no two barrels of Bourbon have been subjected to the exact changes in temperature, variations in alcohol content and character result. Most distillers blend Bourbon from the various barrels to ensure a uniform and distinctive final product. Select single barrel Bourbons are becoming more popular.
The wood used in our Kentucky Bourbon whiskey barrels is American grown white oak. Helping to support American families. The stave mills that make these sturdy barrels employ Kentucky workers
The Master Distiller
Master Distiller
A true Kentucky artisan, the Master Distiller is the crucial element in the Bourbon making process. If there is one thing that seems to characterize Bourbon Master Distillers, it is dedication to their craft. It takes decades to learn the fine art of distilling, and as a result, Master Distillers are a rare breed who have learned their trade through long apprenticeships. Some are second or third generation, with knowledge handed down from father to son. Each brand of Bourbon has its own recipe, closely guarded by the Master Distiller. Master Distillers are involved from the beginning, carefully selecting grains and keeping a close eye on fermentation. It is said that a good distiller can tell just how long the mash has been fermenting by the shape of the bubbles. The Master Distiller plays other key roles; selecting barrels, monitoring temperatures and finally, determining when the Bourbon is aged to perfection.
The best whiskey is made right here where it all started generations ago. Pride in quality handed down to us today. Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
click hereClick here to learn how our barrels are made
Our barrels at a Scottish distillery
  Our Kentucky Barrels In a Scottish distillery
If you like Scotch or Irish whisky you have to give thanks to Kentucky Bourbon and our Kentucky crafted American white oak barrels. After the barrels have been used ONCE to make world renowned Kentucky Bourbon, they are shipped overseas where they are reused over and over again to make European whisky It's the Kentucky oak barrels that help give their whisky it's flavor and color. The FIRST USE of the barrel produces the BEST whiskey, that's why Bourbon is made in a NEW white oak barrel. When you buy Kentucky Bourbon besides getting the best quality product you also help support American farmers and workers.
Without our Kentucky Bourbon barrels they could not make Scotch whisky In America we spell it "WHISKEY"  in Europe it is spelled "WHISKY"
One Of Our Barrels In Scotland Scottish and Irish coopers don't make the barrels, they just maintain the Kentucky Crafted barrels. It must cost a lot of money for the European companies to ship our Kentucky crafted barrels to Scotland and Ireland.

You can have one delivered to your home for a fraction of the cost.
our barrels in IrelandPicture at left  is our Kentucky barrels at an Irish distillery Quote From Scottish Distillery About Their Barrels:

"American Bourbon casks have been widely used. To be called "Bourbon" their whiskey must be aged in virgin oak casks which have been charred or fired on the inside. These become available to the Scotch whisky industry after just one use".
Our Kentucky Crafted white oak Barrels are used and reused many times by the Scottish and Irish distilleries attesting to their quality construction and strength WHY DRINK WHISKY MADE IN SPENT USED BARRELS THAT HAVE BEEN SHIPPED HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD IN A CONTAINER SHIP..... DRINK HOME MADE WHISKEY MADE IN NEW AMERICAN WHITE OAK BARRELS,
By law Kentucky Bourbon must be made in NEW white oak barrels. The best characteristics of the barrel, the color, the vanilla, and caramel (natural sugars in the oak), are absorbed by the whiskey in the first use. Because European whisky is made with SPENT USED barrels it takes many, many years in the barrel to even come close to the quality of Kentucky Bourbon. With each year in the barrel 3% of the whisky is lost to evaporation.  With each reuse of the spent barrel the European whisky must be aged longer. No wonder Kentucky Bourbon is the best selling whiskey in the world today.
To all of you  Rum and Tequila drinkers out there. The distilleries are putting used staves inside the barrels. To age their product, they use SPENT Kentucky whiskey barrels. Since the barrels are used up, they have to put extra wood in them to get that dark look. Here you see what we take out of the used Rum and Tequila barrels.  If you look close you see paint on several of the staves. Most of the paint will have leached out into the liquor in the barrel. All the more reason to drink Clean Pure Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.  Made in NEW American white oak barrels produced in Kentucky.   Click on the picture for a larger view, you'll see the paint that is on the staves, (LEAD PAINT ??)
Save the earth, buy Kentucky Whiskey BarrelsFor those of you who believe in man made global warming: When you buy one of our recycled Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey Barrels your are helping save the environment. By keeping these barrels at home we prevent the thousands of pounds of hydrocarbons that it takes to ship each of these barrels overseas from entering the environment. Hydrocarbons which may contribute to climate change.   Help save the earth, buy a recycled Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey Barrel today!
"I was brought up to believe that Scotch whisky would need a tax preference to survive in competition with Kentucky bourbon." Hugo Black

"Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake." W. C. Fields
P.O. Box 160
Bryantsville, Ky 40410
Wine Making Supplies
Beer Making Supplies
| Whole Barrel | Accessories | Furniture |
| New Wine Barrels  | Barrel Hoops | Barrel Staves | Barrel Dollies | Barrel Liners | Amazon Store |
  | Wooden Crates | Barrel Chunks | Sell Us Your Barrels | Recipes | Barrel History | About Kentucky Bourbon | Barrel Uses |
| Make Barrel Furniture Booklet | Our Customers | Ordering Terms & Conditions | Container Gardening | Hobby Barrels |
We use Amazon to purchase food, books, equipment, and supplies.
We like the price, selection,
and everything is delivered right to our door

This Web Site Powered by Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey   -   Copyright Kentucky Barrels LLC 2003. All Rights Reserved