Bourbon Barrel Foods: Soy Sauce Tasting Experience - Louisville Article
Bourbon Barrel Foods: Soy Sauce Tasting Experience Follow @nyccitiview
As we all know, the bourbon craze that began in the Louisville area has spread worldwide. It's a constant topic of conversation and the bourbon industry in Kentucky is now one of the area’s most important tourist attractions. The incredible international interest in bourbon has also created many bourbon-inspired products that incorporate the use of bourbon in many unique and creative ways. We recently had an amazing soy sauce tasting experience at Bourbon Barrel Foods in Louisville - read on to see more about this incredible locally-made product!
Bourbon Barrel Foods Soy Sauce Review
One of the original and best bourbon-themed products to sprout from the movement started in the basement of Matt Jamie, the founder of Bourbon Barrel Foods. His handcrafted, microbrewed soy sauce has attracted legions of fans worldwide and the company has grown from producing this one unique product to manufacturing a line of more than 75 bourbon-themed items and condiments.
The Products at Bourbon Barrel Foods Are Absolutely Essential Cooking Ingredients!
The care and attention that goes into crafting each and every item at Bourbon Barrel Foods ensures that all of the products are not only unique, but also offer an array of positively essential ingredients for both the kitchen and the home. Once you start using them you’ll be instantly hooked, from the microbrewed bourbon-infused soy sauce, to the artisanal sweeteners to the Bourbon Barrel candles, all of the products incorporate innovative uses of bourbon barrels and are crafted in small batches with great care.
Matt Jamie Was Inspired to Create the First Microbrewed Soy Sauce in the U.S.
Bourbon Barrel Foods originated with Matt’s inspiration to create a microbrewed soy sauce. He started with two kettles that were made in Louisville, and after considering several ideas in regards to the fermentation process, wound up deciding on used bourbon barrels to age the ingredients, thus completing the story and concept of Matt’s soy sauce process.
Matt recently demonstrated his process to us at CitiView and even walked us through a very fun and educational soy tasting. It provided us with an excellent opportunity to fully appreciate the love that goes into each of the products at Bourbon Barrel Foods.
Bourbon Barrel Foods Products Include Kentucky-Grown Ingredients
All of the ingredients that make up the soy sauces and all other products at Bourbon Barrel Foods originate in Kentucky. That includes Kentucky grown non-GMO soybeans, yeast, rice, Limestone Spring water and, of course, the Bourbon Barrels.
As Matt explained, the first step in creating this unique soy sauce is to mix the soybeans, soft grain winter wheat and yeast together to make Koji. The Koji is then incubated for 3 days and added to the Limestone Water and sea salt to create the mash or “Morani” that will be fermented in the bourbon barrels for one year. Once per day the Morani must be stirred to release accumulated gasses and continue the fermentation process. After a year in the bourbon barrel, the soy sauce is ready to be bottled.
Over the years, Matt has developed a few other well-received soy sauces for those who want to expand their palate. Bourbon Barrel Foods now offers an Imperial Double Fermented Soy Sauce, Bourbon Smoked Soy Sauce and their newest addition, the Small Batch Bourbon Ponzu. The Small Batch Bourbon Ponzu won the 2019 Sofi New Product award as Best New Condiment from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade!
After learning about the process of crafting the microbrewed soy sauces, we were treated to formal soy tasting at which we experienced the intricacies of each of the soy sauces made by Bourbon Barrel Foods.
The Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce Tasting Emulates a Bourbon Tasting Experience
The Bourbon Barrel Foods kitchen at the company's headquarters in Butchertown Market just east of downtown Louisville is set up to resemble the experience you would have at any of the area's Kentucky bourbon distilleries. For an added touch of authenticity, even the chopsticks used for the soy tasting are made from bourbon barrel staves!
Each of the four soy sauces are on display along with a placemat explaining what you’re going to taste and what to expect. The goal here is to experience Umami, which translated from Japanese means the fifth flavor sense, beyond bitter, sweet, sour and salty, and translates literally to mean “deliciousness.”
A happy surprise for us was tasting the soy sauce by dipping strawberries into each flavor! The natural sugar of the strawberry cuts the saltiness of the soy sauce, and the texture of the berry brings out the sauce’s subtle flavors.
Bourbon Barrel Foods Offers Four Distinctly Different Soy Sauces
We started with the original microbrewed soy sauce which is aged one year as we mentioned earlier. The taste of this is meaty, brothy and briny, with a subtle, sweet oaky flavor. You would use this sauce as you would any regular soy sauce, but of course, it tastes much better!
Next was the Imperial Double Fermented Soy Sauce, which is created by aging the Morani for an additional six months. This was my favorite of the group, as it features a much richer and full-bodied taste. You can taste molasses, coffee, beef jerky and dark chocolate. This soy sauce is best for broth, noodles, sashimi, sushi.
The Bourbon Smoked Soy Sauce was next up. It's created by taking the original microbrewed soy sauce and slow smoking it with staves from a bourbon barrel to add a natural smoked flavor. You can taste beef jerky, leather, tobacco, smoked oak and definitely touches on the umami. This is great as a finishing sauce, or serves as a fantastic addition to stews and soups. The flavor is so intense they provide a dropper so you can control its dispersion!
Our final sauce was the newest — their award-winning Small Batch Bourbon Ponzu. The Ponzu features a very citrusy and light flavor with a lemony taste. It's tart, biting, clean and refreshing, making it perfect for dressing greens or fish, as well as marinating and basting.
Matt Jamie Has Turned a Japanese Tradition into a Kentucky Food Staple
The creation and appreciation of soy sauce as a Japanese tradition is one the Japanese take very seriously. In fact, soy sauce originated in Wakayama, Japan, as did the concept of fermentation. Matt's love and care in making each and every one of the products from Bourbon Barrel Foods is evident.
Visit the Bourbon Barrel Foods headquarters online, take a tour and find out yourself!