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Bourbon and American whiskey's roots go back to the late 1700s, when westbound British, Irish and Scottish settlers started making whiskey in Kentucky. In 1964, the U.S. Congress established federal regulations for producing the spirit. All American whiskeys are distilled from a fermented mash (mixture) of cereal grain and water without any coloring or flavoring additives. Unlike scotch or cognac, American whiskey must by law be aged in new, charred oak barrels and no more than 160-proof (80% alcohol by volume). In order to be classified as "straight" whiskey, it must be aged for at least two years and unblended. American whiskey's entail: rye, rye malt, malt, wheat, bourbon, corn and Tennessee whiskey, which is a special classification of Bourbon. Bourbon must be made from a mash that is at least 51% corn. The rest of the mash is made up of rye, wheat and/or malted barley. While most bourbon today is still made in Kentucky, it can legally be made anywhere in the United States. The spirit’s beautiful amber color comes from the wood that it's aged in for at least two years while the alcohol by volume climbs to a minimum of 40% (80-proof) before bottling.

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