Jim Beam & the Angel’s Share

When they make Jim Beam, the distillers pour the Bourbon (which at this point is clear and has no colour) into empty, charred oak barrels and store them in what is called a rackhouse (which is something like a barn full of barrels).   

Inside the rackhouse convection causes the warm air to rise (just like it does everywhere else in the world), so that the temperature is warmer on the top floors of the rackhouse compared to the lower floors. The barrels expand & contract according to the temperature, allowing bourbon to seep into the barrel. It is this natural process that makes the liquid evaporate (some of it also seeps into the barrel): the higher the barrels are stored – the more liquid will evaporate.

Scan from one of my old BW photos.

Scan from one of my old B/W photos.

The end result of this beautiful process is that the barrels that are stored on top, produce the most flavourful & smooth Bourbon, and the approximately 30 percent of alcohol that is lost due to the evaporation during the aging process is called the ‘The Angel’s Share’.

My dream is to some day be able to visit an American Bourbon Distillery.



34 thoughts on “Jim Beam & the Angel’s Share

  1. Thank you for visting my blog and for the pingback 🙂 I have not visited a distillery but I saw a program on TV about it.

    • I’ve never been to a destillery either, but I saw a documentary and that’s where I first heard about the Angel’s Share. Maybe we saw the same program?

  2. Makes me wish to be an angel! Well, perhaps some time in the future… Thank you for sharing your photo with us 🙂
    Greetings from Switzerland,
    – Pierre

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