Saturday, May 25, 2024

What Is The Difference Between Scotch Whiskey And Bourbon

Whiskey Vs Bourbon Vs Scotch Ingredients

The real difference between scotch, whiskey, and bourbon

A significant difference between bourbon and whiskey lies in the fermentation process they undergo. Whiskey can be distilled from any fermented grain such as barley, corn, rye, and wheat or a mixture. It is generally stored to mature in wooden oak barrels, imparting the distinctive brown color and taste profile. Single malt scotch must be prepared from a 100% malted barley grain mash, while grain scotch can be fermented from malt and unmalted barley and wheat mixture.

On the other hand, the American Whiskey variety or bourbon must have at least 51% corn in its mash bill, with a mixture of rye, wheat, or barley making up the remaining portion of the basic recipe. The reason behind choosing corn as the primary ingredient is its historically high availability in the USA. Also, the higher the corn content, the sweeter the bourbon produced, whereas rye-based bourbons have a distinctively spicier note.

Although all whiskey is aged in charred wooden oak barrels, bourbon must be matured in a brand new oak barrel every time. Also, to get the official scotch label, the Scotch Whisky Act states that the spirit must be noticeably devoid of any added substances except water or plain caramel coloring. Bourbon, however, cannot have anything added to it except for water.

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How To Use Them All In Drinks

You can sip straight bourbon, Scotch, or any of their fine fellows in the brown liquor category. But if you want to mix things up, check out seven cocktail recipes featuring whiskey: Scotch, rye, and bourbon, and youll be all set for happy hour.

The Debonair is made with a single malt Scotch combined with some ginger liqueur for an added kick. Garnish with a twist of lemon. Get our Debonair Cocktail recipe.

The iconic New Orleans cocktail, the Sazerac is made with rye, absinthe, and two types of bitters: Angostura and Peychauds. Get our Sazerac Cocktail recipe.

A refreshing summer pick, the Brown Derby is made with bourbon, freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, and a touch of honey to add extra sweetness. Get our Brown Derby Cocktail recipe.

An alternative take on a traditional Manhattan, the Black Metal Manhattan features amaro in addition to the sweet vermouth, as well as a pour of nocino, a green walnut liqueur. Get our Black Metal Manhattan Cocktail recipe.

Another classic New Orleans cocktail which features rye, cognac, sweet vermouth, Peychauds and Angostura bitters, as well as a teaspoon of Bénédictine liqueur, which adds a light floral note. Get our Vieux Carré Cocktail recipe.

A summer crowd pleaser, this bourbon-based drink has homemade rhubarb syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a dash of absinthe. Get our Touch of Evil Cocktail recipe.

Benefits Of Drinking Whiskey Over Other Liquors

When it comes to the difference between scotch and whiskey, one may notice that people tend to go with the latter more often in the name of health benefits. Whiskey drinks, like whiskey on the rocks, whiskey sour, and whiskey old-fashioned all have many different benefits.

  • Drinking whiskey on the rocks has been shown to relieve pain from arthritis better than drinking any other drink that is commonly thought of as a cure for arthritis because whiskey contains an amino acid called glutamic acid which boosts the production of endorphins, i.e. feel good chemicals in our body.
  • Whiskey old-fashioned has the same benefits as whiskey on the rocks.
  • Whiskey sour is also beneficial because it contains a lot of vitamin C and a protein called cysteine, which helps prevent hair loss, but only in women.
  • Lastly, not only does whiskey Irish coffee give you an energy boost from caffeine but its also proven to provide pain relief for headaches due to the whiskey content.

There is no such thing as bad whiskey because different whiskeys will taste differently depending on what type of grains they were made from, as mentioned when we discussed what is a scotch and what is bourbon previously.

  • Whiskey has been used in recipes and to cure many ailments since the drink was discovered.
  • Whiskey can be used in many different cooking recipes, from bread to salad dressings.

It seems that theres a lot more to what is whiskey than meets the eye!

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Bourbon Vs Scotch: What’s The Difference

I mean both are made using yeast, water and a fermented grain mash. Both are distilled producing a new make spirit which is then matured to a beautiful dark liquid to be savoured.

Look deeper, however, and find differences in ingredients, distillation and maturation which all leads to a different dram all together.

Excellent Whiskey No Matter The Type

Technically Saturday: The Differences Between Bourbon and ...

Its honestly hard to fathom the complexity and the long history of whisky, from its humble origins with Irish monks to becoming one of the most appreciated spirits in the world.

It is an alcohol with an arguably tumultuous past where iconic styles have almost been lost to history it was smuggled as part of illicit rum-running and has had its traditions and boundaries pushed, stretched, and tested.

Whisky is at an ongoing impasse of old versus new. To me, that makes it all the more intriguing, all the more satisfying to enjoy.

Is it any wonder why whisky is one of the most polarizing spirits? Each world of whisky offers such distinctive and adventurous perspectives to the same grains.

The only thing that matters is that each style of whisky is unique and indicative of the names they bear. Each style comes with its own regulations that maintain its identity and its quality. Each comes with their own geographical recognitionsso long as they follow those regulations.

Yet, there is one common denominator between them all: Passion. Its why we argue over which is better and why each whiskey distiller confidently boasts they have the best whisky in the world. And it is their regulations that maintain the continuity of that product, creating parameters for the passion that maintain that quality.

Whatever it is you drink, remember everything that goes into making that succulent elixir, and enjoy it passionately.


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Faqs About Scotch Vs Bourbon

How do you drink scotch?

Scotch is originally served with a spring water which releases all the flavors in a glass, and its strictly recommended not to use tap water which will interfere with the tasting notes of it.

How do you drink bourbon?

Unlike scotch, bourbon should be consumed at a room temperature without adding any ice or water to release the tasting notes.

What is the smoothest Scotch?

The smoothest Scotch comes from the Auchentoshan Distillery and its created by refugees back in 1825 in Glasgow. This selection is bottled in 1997, and it has a taste of oak, dried fruit, nuts and vanilla and a single bottle can cost around $400.

What makes it a bourbon?

Bourbon is a type of whiskey that must contain at least 51% of corn mash, and it has to be distilled at 160 proof or less, in order to be called a bourbon. Also, when done with the distillation process, it has to be stored at new charred oak barrels that havent been used before and that dont contain any additional ingredients in.

Different Types Of Whiskey

There are too many types of whiskey to list all in this article, but the most popular kinds include bourbon, rye whiskey, Japanese whiskey, and blended whiskey. The difference mainly comes from the kind of grain used in the mashing process.

Blended whiskey is a common and affordable type of whiskey. Blended whiskey is created by mixing different types of whiskey or by mixing multiple grains.

One of the most prestigious whiskey types is single-barrel whiskey. As the name suggests, this kind of whiskey is not mixed or blended with any other varieties. Single-Barrel whiskey ages alone in a single barrel and originates from one type of grain, resulting in a more refined and pure whiskey.

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Can You Taste The Difference

Whiskeys flavor will vary depending on what type of whiskeyIrish, Japanese and so onso its tough to provide exact tasting notes for whiskey.

Bourbon usually has strong notes of vanilla, oak and caramel. These pleasant, often smooth notes make bourbon tasty enjoyed neat or on the rocks, as well as in cocktails.

Bourbons made with a higher amount of wheat , tend to be mellow and softer. Makers Mark is a popular example. Bourbons with a higher amount of rye will be spicier, like Bulleit bourbon.

The Most Important Thing To Remember

The difference between rye, bourbon, and scotch

The biggest takeaway from comparing Scotch and Bourbon is that neither distillate is superior to the other, theyre just different.

Although many new whisky drinkers tend to see Bourbon as their gateway drug, as the spirit is generally softer, sweeter, and more approachable, there are many Scotches also produced in this style, too. Additionally, both spirits have a wide range of flavor profiles, though the differences in Bourbon tend to come from the mash bill , whereas the flavor profile differences in Scotch come from the vessels and/or peat used.

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Scotch Is A Distilled Alcohol That Must Be Made And Barrel Aged In Scotland

There are two categories of Scotch, namely single malt and blended. Single malt is made using 100% malted barley. Often, single malts are aged for at least 10 years, but periods of up to 25 years can be employed. The longer the age period, the higher the price point and generally the smoother and more elegant the Scotch.

A blended Scotch consists of distilled grain alcohol blended with a number of single malt products. The grain alcohol can be made from wheat or barley. There are a handful of large grain alcohol distilleries in Scotland dedicated to making a product for the blending trade.

As to the single malts that get mixed with the grain alcohol to make a blended Scotch, it is common to employ over a dozen different ones. Example one of the single malts used in Johnnie Walker Black Label is Lagavulin hence the element of peat and smoke evident in a dram of Black Label.

Single malt Scotch is double distilled in what is termed a pot still. Think of a copper pot with a graceful neck on it. Except, these stills can be up to 25,000 Liters in size. The distillate coming off the second pot distillation run will be in the realm of 65-70% alcohol and full of flavor.

The grain alcohol is distilled on a continuous still that as the name implies runs essentially non-stop for months on end. The distillate coming off a continuous still will be 95-96% alcohol and devoid of many flavors.

Bourbon Is Whiskey Scotch Is Whisky

The whiskey spelling is used for American and Irish spirits, including bourbon. Conversely, whisky is used by the rest of the world, including Europe, Australia, Japan and, of course, Scotland. Regardless of spelling, all whiskey or whisky must be distilled to a minimum of 40 percent and a maximum of 94.8 percent alcohol by volume .

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The Main Differences Between Scotch Whisky And Bourbon Whiskey

It is to be known that not every distillery sticks to convention. For example, Makers Mark calls their bourbons Whiskey with an e added so, while the spelling often provides a clue as to origin, its not 100% foolproof as a measure.

The main differences, or lack thereof, between Scotch and Bourbon are as follows:

Country of Origin

Scotch Whisky is made in Scotland, by law, using Scottish malts and barleys Bourbon Whiskey is made in the USA.

Grain Mix

Scotch Whisky is made from water and malted barley while Bourbon must contain at least 51% corn by law. While all distillers utilize certain techniques in mixing their grains, single malt barleys are perhaps more selectively chosen and prepared compared to the run-of-the-mill Bourbon. Corn is ubiquitous in the US, but malt barley grown in the cold Scottish climate imparts a flavour that is unmistakable.


A unique feature is the mash that is introduced into the first still at the beginning of distillation. One of the styles that has become common in the US is the sour mash a method whereby a mash of spent mash is reintroduced back into the mix at the bottom of the first still throughout the continuous distillation process. The acid content of the sour mash is believed to kill yeast and certain harmful bacteria additionally, it produces a distinctive flavour which is now common in many Bourbons.

The Water

Method of Distillation

Ageing Duration

Ageing Type of Casks

What Makes Whiskey Bourbon

What is the Difference Between Bourbon Whiskey Rye and ...

This one’s a doozy, but bear with us. For a whiskey to be considered bourbon, the mixture of grains from which the product is distilled must be, at least, 51% corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain. On top of that, the mixture must be stored in charred oak containers and cannot contain any additives. That law pretty much separates bourbon from everything else.

Bourbon tastes like: Its main characteristic is its sweetness, but it’s also a bit smoky due to the charred oak.Brands you should know:Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve

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Is Tennessee Whiskey Just Bourbon With A Different Name

Glad you asked. First and foremost, the biggest difference between these two whiskeys is location. Tennessee whiskey is made in Tennessee and bourbon was invented by a man named Shelbyville Kentucky. Just kidding. What separates the two is a method of filtering called the Lincoln County Process in which the whiskey is filtered through, or steeped, in charcoal before going into the casks. The most famous Tennessee whiskey out there is Jack Daniel’s and it — alongside other Tennessee distillers — doesnt refer to its product as bourbon.

Tennessee whiskey tastes like: Bourbon, if we’re being honestBrands you should know about: Jack Daniel’s, Collier and McKeel

Taste Difference Between Scotch And Bourbon

The biggest difference between scotch and bourbon is their flavor. Due to the fact that different main ingredients are used for the fermentation process of these two alcoholic beverages, their final taste is going to differ significantly.

True, both bourbon and scotch are known to be strong drinks with a typically smoky flavor. However, as mentioned, bourbon tends to be sweeter compared to scotch. This is mainly because of the barrels used to store and produce bourbon, which end up giving it a sort of an oaky vanilla taste.

Scotch, on the other hand, tends to be a lot more intense in its flavor and smokiness due to the burned peat that occurs during the process of malting barley.

Furthermore, scotch and bourbon flavors can also differ depending on the region where theyre produced since different regions tend to use different kinds of whiskey. This is especially evident with scotch as not all regions burn peat for the barley malting process.

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What Makes A Whiskey Bourbon

Many drinkers think that bourbon and whiskey are completely distinct. “People will come into the whiskey room and say something to the effect of ‘Do you have bourbon too? Or just whiskey?’ or ‘I don’t really like whiskey, but I like bourbon,'” Gustafson says. “There’s a common confusion about what they are. They’re all whiskies.”

Because of its cultural significance in the United States, bourbon is made with very specific criteria to ensure it maintains the qualities that make it unique. “Bourbon is a younger whiskey,” says Gustafson. “It isn’t aged for as long as Scotch” which is another type of whiskey “so it gets most of its flavor from the grains used.”

To maintain standards across the industry, there is a strict legal definition of what actually constitutes a bourbon:

Note: Bourbon must be legally aged with new barrels. Because they can’t be reused, the barrels are often sold to distilleries in Scotland, Ireland, and Japan, and are even used to age other beverages like beer.

What Is The Difference Between Scotch And Whiskey

What is the Difference Between Bourbon Whiskey Rye and Scotch

Whiskey is a spirit distilled from malted grain including barley, corn, rye, and wheat. And is typically aged in wooden casks. There are many types of whiskey with Scotch and bourbon being the most popular.

What is Scotch? Scotch is a malt whiskey made in Scotland from just water and malted barley. Its often matured for up to 10 years with the minimum requirement being three years in oak containers.

What is the difference between Scotch and whiskey? Read on

Comparison Data

The main difference between Scotch and whiskey is geographic. And the ingredients. Scotch is only produced in Scotland and there are two main varieties single malt and single grain.

Single malt Scotch whiskey is made at one distillery from water and malted barley. Single grain Scotch whiskey contains other whole grains from malted or unmalted cereals. Scotch must be aged for at least three years in oak containers and distilled and bottled at a minimum of 40% alcohol.

Bourbon is produced in the USA and mainly made from corn mash which must be at least 51% corn. Its aged in new, charred oak containers. For a product to be known as a straight bourbon it must be aged for at least two years. Bourbon whiskey is also distilled and bottled with a minimum of 40% alcohol.

Look at some more Scotch vs whiskey information here


Scotch must be processed legally in a single distillery in Scotland and fermented by adding only yeast with no additional grains or substances


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