Corn whiskey is an American liquor made from a mash of at least 80 percent corn and distilled to a maximum strength of 160 proof (80% alcohol by volume). Distinct from the stereotypical American moonshine, corn whiskey uses a traditional mash process and is subject to the tax and identity laws for alcohol under federal law. Several commercial distillers, such as Heaven Hill, produce unaged corn whiskeys for retail sale.
Unlike other American whiskey styles, corn whiskey does not need wood aging at all. If aged, it must be in uncharred or previously used oak barrels and must be barreled at lower than 125 proof (62.5% abv). In contrast, a whiskey distilled from a mash consisting of at least 80% corn in a charred new oak barrel would be considered bourbon. Aging is usually brief – six months or less – during which time the whiskey absorbs color and flavor from the barrel while the off-flavors and fusel alcohols are reduced. A variant called straight corn whiskey is also produced, in which the whiskey is stored in used or uncharred new oak containers for two years or more. Whiskeys produced in this manner and aged for at least four years can be designated bottled in bond if they meet additional requirements.
Corn whiskey brands
Many American whiskey distillers include corn whiskeys in their product lines along with bourbons and other styles. A few large whiskey producers make unaged corn whiskeys but most corn whiskeys are made by smaller distillers located all around the country.
- Class and Type Designation Archived 2013-03-05 at the Wayback Machine, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
- "27 CFR 5.22 - The standards of identity". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
- Smiley, Ian. Making Pure Corn Whiskey: A Professional Guide for Amateur and Micro Distillers. December 2003
- Glossary of Bourbon & Whiskey terms page, Kentucky Distillers Association
- Institute, Tastings.com | Beverage Testing. "Corn Whiskey Reviews, Ratings and Facts - Best Corn Whiskey | Tastings". www.tastings.com. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
- "Corn Whiskey". The Whisky Exchange. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
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