The Truth Behind Gluten Free Bourbon: Is It Really Gluten-Free?

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Gluten free bourbon

Those on a gluten-free diet cut down on alcoholic beverages as most of them contain gluten in their ingredients. But restricting yourself some quality time with a few drinks may be unnecessary since some spirits are gluten-free, such as tequila and rum. But what about the crowd’s favorite - is bourbon gluten free?

Most bourbons without additional additives don’t have gluten as the mash bill’s gluten is eliminated during the distillation process. So if you are a fan of drinking bourbon or just plain curious, read on to find out which among the popular whiskey brands are gluten-free.

Does Bourbon Have Gluten?

Bourbon is primarily gluten-free. The mash bill is mixed with 51% corn and a combination of other ingredients such as wheat, rye, and barley. In this mixture, corn is considered a gluten-free grain, but the rest that contributes 49% to the spirit are known as the top three gluten grains. Having said this, is bourbon gluten free? 

The answer is yes. Whiskey, in general, undergoes distillation which burns off any possible gluten found on the ingredients. While it is a general rule that no additional additives should be added in the oak barrels where the bourbon is aged, some brands tend to add flavorings that have gluten content after the distillation process. 

Thus, those who have celiac or gluten sensitivity can safely drink gluten free bourbon or gluten free whiskey. While this is okay to consume, it is suggested to try the spirit first in small amounts.

Best Gluten Free Bourbon Whiskey Brands

After establishing that most distilled bourbon whiskey is indeed gluten free, it’s time to list down the most well-known gluten free bourbon brands should you decide to purchase one. 

1. Jim Beam Bourbon

A bottle of Jim Beam liquor

You can find Jim Beam gluten free bourbon in almost all bars and shelves of whiskey lovers. This liquor is barrel-aged twice as regular bourbons, which results in more oaky, vanilla, and spicy notes in every glass. Once you take a sip, you will be invited for more sweetness, grain, oak, char, and fruit flavors.

2. Bulleit Bourbon

A bottle of Bulleit Bourbon

This gluten free bourbon is a whiskey brand pioneered by Augustus Bulleit 150 years ago. It has a complex taste from the mixture of rye, corn, barley malt, special strains of yeast, and Kentucky limestone-filtered water. The high rye content of this gluten free whiskey gives off a spicy note with a smooth finish.

3. Evan Williams Bourbon

A bottle of Evan Williams Bourbon

Evan Williams gluten free bourbon is one of the oldest whiskey distilleries in the United States. When you open the bottle, this liquor is loaded with aroma and refreshing notes with the essence of vanilla and mint. Once you press your lips to the drink, you will savor oak, caramel, and brown sugar hints.

4. Elijah Craig Bourbon

A bottle of Elijah Craig Bourbon

This gluten free whiskey is a product of Elijah Craig’s skills, the first distiller to age his whiskey in new charred oak barrels. The brand gives off complex aroma notes of vanilla bean, sweet fruit, and fresh mint. Meanwhile, the taste is smooth and warm with hints of wood, spice, smoke, and nutmeg. 

5. Four Roses Bourbon

Four Roses Bourbon

Four roses is a gluten free bourbon that offers a contemporary and sophisticated flavor in every sip. It has aromatic notes of fruit, floral, spice, and honey, while the tasting notes are a mixture of fresh fruit, apple, pear, and a smooth and soft finish.

6. Knob Creek Bourbon

 A bottle of Knob Creek Bourbon

Knob Creek gluten free bourbon is aged for nine years, resulting in a more full-bodied flavor of fruit, wood, grass, and grain. The liquor has a copper to medium amber color that looks great in your bourbon glass. The bold organic taste of this whiskey goes well as a base for cocktails such as the Cosmopolitan or Whiskey Sour.

7. Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Bourbon

 A bottle of Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Bourbon

This gluten free whiskey is made by hand and aged inside century-old warehouses that resulted in a liquor that has a perfect distinct flavor. 

The aroma notes range from raisins, flowers, fresh pine, sandalwood, black pepper, cinnamon, caramel, cherry, and candied oranges. Meanwhile, the tasting notes are a combination of sweet corn, pumpernickel bread, orange, and starfruit with brown sugar and mint to finish.

8. Hudson Bay Bourbon

A bottle of Hudson Bay Bourbon

Hudson Bay gluten free whiskey is distilled from New York in white charred oak barrels. It has aromatic notes of rich vanilla and lightly salted caramel. The palate hints at flavors of stone fruit, cornbread, caramel, and cashew. Then, it has a long, warming finish that lingers in the mouth and throat.

9. Maker’s Mark Bourbon

Maker’s Mark Bourbon

Maker’s Mark gluten free bourbon does not use rye in the mash bill. Instead, the mixture is a combination of customary corn with malted barley and a hefty dose of red winter wheat. The result in the use of these ingredients is a less spicy whiskey. 

The aromatic notes are honey, cut fruit, and citrus peel. Meanwhile, the tasting notes are barley malt, butterscotch, vanilla bean, caramel, and dry oak spice.

10. Old Forester Bourbon

Old Forester Bourbon

The Old Forester gluten free bourbon is America’s first bottled bourbon with 86 proof. Its aroma gives off short and sharp floral, mint, rich tobacco leaf, and vanilla, while the tasting hints are oak, sweet corn and rye grain character. It also offers spicy with soft vanilla and light orange notes.

11. Wild Turkey Bourbon

Wild Turkey Bourbon

Wild Turkey gluten free whiskey uses premium ingredients in its mash bill and barrels, which results in a deep cut char and premium flavor. It only uses water that comes from the Kentucky River and is naturally filtered with limestones. The bourbon boasts sweet vanilla, pear, and spice flavors in every sip. 

12. Koval Bourbon Whiskey

A bottle of Koval Bourbon Whiskey

With a mash bill made of 51% corn and 49% millet, Koval gluten free bourbon offers a well-balanced and refreshing taste to one’s palate. The result of the mixture is a liquor that has notes of mango chutney and vanilla with a peppery caramel finish.

13. New Southern Revival Sorghum Whiskey

 A bottle of New Southern Revival Sorghum Whiskey

Made of 100% sorghum grown on a Mennonite farm in central Tennessee, this gluten free whiskey is only produced in limited quantities since the sorghum syrup can only be produced from September to October. It has a long smooth finish that is ideal as a base for cocktails.

14. Queen Jennie Sorghum Whiskey

A bottle of Queen Jennie Sorghum Whiskey

Queen Jennie whiskey is made of 100% sorghum aged in charred oak barrels from Minnesota. The flavor is less sour than bourbon and less spicy than rye. Instead, it has tasting notes of butterscotch, vanilla, wood that is straightforward and sweeter.

15. Barrel Gluten Free Bourbon

A bottle of Barrel Bourbon

Barrel Bourbon is aged between 10 or 11-year old oak barrels to give off a more robust flavor. This brand has aromatic notes of tropical fruit, citrus zest, and exotic spices. The flavor notes are a marriage of bright citrus, heady florals, and lively minerals that creates an extra sweet finish.

Conclusion

Whether you are on a gluten free diet or allergic to gluten, it is great to know that you can still enjoy bourbon without worrying about anything. So the next time you plan to have a drink with your friends or family, give these gluten free bourbon whiskey a shot.


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