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Food - Drink
Is There A Requirement For How Long Bourbon Can Be Aged?
Bourbon is an exclusive type of whiskey that must be made in the United States and follow other rules regarding its production, if it is to carry the bourbon name. Much of these rules have to do with aging the spirit, and there is a timeframe for how long a bourbon has to be aged, though it's not as high a standard as you may imagine.
To bear the legal designation of straight bourbon, the spirit must be aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years, but while there is a minimum for aging, there is technically no maximum. Once it reaches the two-year mark, a bourbon can be further aged for as long as the distiller likes, but most companies won't go beyond 15 years.
Past the 15-year mark, a bourbon can turn sour, bitter, and/or lose flavor complexity, so many respected bourbon distillers aim for the "sweet spot" between six and 12 years of maturation. This time frame produces the most well-balanced bourbon, proving that "the longer, the better" isn't really true, but a few years of aging does pay off.