Bourbon Vs Whiskey: Whats The Difference
All bourbons are whiskeys but not all whiskeys are bourbon.
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Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.
Bourbon and whiskey are both popular spirits among mixologists and home bartenders alike. While these brown liquors might look the same in the bottle, they each possess unique characteristics. Whether you like to sip whiskey or bourbon, mix them into cocktails or simply want to quench your curiosity, it pays to know which spirit youre imbibing and discussing. Here, we break down the differences between bourbon and whiskey. Hint: all bourbons are whiskeys but not all whiskeys are bourbon.
Johnnie Walker Ghost & Rare Port Ellen Whisky
Johnnie Walker Ghost & Rare Port Ellen Whisky is a very specially crafted bourbon whiskey that uses iconic flavors and signature notes from the ghost distilleries in order to provide a smooth and premium tasting drink.
Johnnie Walker Ghost & Rare Port Ellen Whisky uses very precious casks that are exclusive to the ghost distilleries which give the bourbon an added volume and overall bold taste that you wont find in many other bourbon whiskey options available on the market.
Johnnie Walker Ghost & Rare Port Ellen Whisky uses a variety of carefully selected liquid formulas that provide a very refreshing yet deep and robust flavor profile to the bourbon overall.
Johnnie Walker Ghost & Rare Port Ellen Whisky uses very exclusive malts and grains in order to create the perfectly blended bourbon option that many people all around the world love to consume.
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 fermented 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.
Whats the difference between Bourbon and Whiskey?
All Bourbon is Whiskey, but not all Whiskey is Bourbon. Bourbon is a subset or type of Whiskey, specifically labeled as Bourbon and produced under strict conditions. To be called Bourbon, purists insist it must come from Kentucky and is distinguished from similar Tennessee Whiskey .
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Comparing Whiskey & Scotch Whisky
Whiskey and Scotch have different histories and origins, separated by geographical boundaries and production processes.
There are many types of whiskeys, and Scotch is a type of whisky made in Scotland. It has a different spelling because of its Scottish roots.
Scotch can be subdivided into single-malt whisky and blended Scotch whisky.
Whiskey can be subdivided into American, Irish, Scotch, and Japanese.
Eh Taylor Straight Rye Whiskey
E.H. Taylor Straight Rye whiskey is a very dry and bold yet flavorful and robust bourbon option produced by the well-respected E.H. Taylor distilleries which guarantee the quality of their work.
E.H. Taylor Straight Rye whiskey combines the perfect blend of whole grains and rye malts that add a very light yet full-bodied aspect to the bourbon overall.
If youre looking for a premium bourbon selection, E.H. Taylor Straight Rye whiskey is the perfect selection due to its prime fermentation, and the production process can be tasted through the entire body of this bourbon which is what makes it such a powerful and popular option with many people.
E.H. Taylor Straight Rye whiskey is made in Kentucky which is widely considered to be the home of many types of bourbons out on the market.
The location and climate that E.H. Taylor Straight Rye whiskey bourbon is produced in making the perfect combination of robust flavors and undertones which are the very elements that make this bourbon option stand out amongst the crowd.
E.H. Taylor Straight Rye whiskey has a very licorice and butterscotch taste to it largely because of the type of grains and wheat products used during the production process.
E.H. Taylor Straight Rye whiskey bourbon also has a touch of caramel-corn because it uses caramel during its production process.
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Who Defines These Things
A common set of definitions is important to make sure that you know exactly what youre getting. Here in the United States, the typical spirit varieties are defined in 27 CFR 5.22, but other countries may have their own specific definitions .
For most of the common types of spirits the definitions are pretty well consistent and agreed upon, but in some cases theres some funky differences and debates going on behind the scenes.
Differences Between Scotch Whiskey And Bourbon
Karen is a wine, cocktails, and food enthusiast. She holds a California Wine Appellation Specialist certificate from the San Francisco wine school and a Bar Smarts mixology certificate and bartends for charitable events.
Learn about our Editorial Policy.
When considering spirits, some people struggle to understand the difference between whiskey, bourbon, and scotch. While there are basic similarities in scotch, bourbon, and whiskey, each has characteristics and manufacturing practices that make them unique.
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Mash Bill & Alcohol Proof
In the Scotch vs whiskey mash bill, whiskey is known to use multiple grains, while Scotch whisky uses single grain or blended grains.
Bourbon and rye whiskeys often use multiple grains such as corn, rye, wheat, and barley.
Scotch whisky primarily uses malted barley, and other grains like malted rye, corn, and wheat are added in blended Scotches.
To be called rye whiskey, it should contain at least 51% rye, while bourbon should be made from not less than 51% corn.
Whiskeys and Scotch should be bottled in not lower than 80 proof.
Is Tennessee Whiskey Bourbon
Yes and no. The difference between Tennessee whiskey, like Jack Danielâs, and bourbon is that after the spirit is distilled, Tennessee whiskey is filtered through sugar maple charcoal. This filtering, known as the Lincoln County Process, is what distinguishes Tennessee whiskey from your average bourbon, like Jim Beam. The name bourbon actually comes from an area known as Old Bourbon, around what is now Bourbon County, Kentucky.
On top of these types of whiskey, we also have rye whiskey, which can refer either to American rye whiskey, which must be distilled from at least 51 percent rye, or Canadian whisky, which may or may not actually include any rye in its production process.
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Bourbon Vs Scotch Alcohol By Volume
Probably one of the most important factors to keep in mind when selecting any bourbon or scotch whisky type is its alcoholic content by volume.
The alcoholic content by volume indicator on the bourbon or scotch bottle that you choose will help you determine how intoxicating any given bourbon or scotch whisky variety is.
In order for alcohol to be qualified and considered as either bourbon or scotch, it must meet specific ABV or alcohol by volume content measurements before going out on the market.
Both scotch and bourbon have very different distillation requirements and alcohol by volume levels so its important to remember this when youre out shopping for the right scotch or bourbon variety to suit your taste buds and flavor profile.
Bourbon typically has to be distilled to no more than 80% ABV which is 160 proof and it cant be more than 62.5% ABV during the aging process. Scotch whisky, on the other hand, must have an ABV rating of less than 94.8% and it is typically aged in used oak barrels which have retained a lot of unique flavors over the years after being used to ferment several different types of alcohol types and contents.
Its important to remember the various distillation levels and fermentation processes used in making both bourbon and scotch whisky so that you can ensure youre choosing the right alcohol type for your particular taste needs and wants.
What Are The Most Notable Scotch And Bourbon Benefits
Both scotch and bourbon come with health benefits you shouldnt overlook. For one, whiskey helps raise blood antioxidant levels.
In addition, research proves that a moderate intake of whiskey can reduce uric acid in your body and the risk of heart disease. However, drinking too much alcohol can have the opposite effect.
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Excellent Whiskey No Matter The Type
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.
Types Of Scotch Whisky
“You can break Scotch into two main categories, single malts, and blended Scotches,” Allardice says. “There are some very fundamental differences in how they’re made.” These two types of whiskies account for the overwhelming majority of scotch consumption.
- Single malt Scotch: Single malt whiskies are prized for their richness and complexity. To be considered a single malt, the Scotch must be produced only from malted barley, then distilled and aged at a single distillery using copper pot stills. The Macallan, Glenfiddich, and Lagavulin are all examples of distilleries that produce single malt scotch.
- Blended Scotch: Blended scotch is made by combining a single malt whisky with what’s known as a grain whisky. “Blended scotches are the backbone of the industry,” Allardice says. “About 80% of scotch consumed globally is blended.” Popular brands like Johnnie Walker and Dewars are blended scotches.
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Is Scotch Better Than Bourbon
When it comes to deciding on whether you should choose bourbon or scotch whisky or which one is better, there really is no simple answer to that question.
Both bourbon and scotch whisky offer varying tastes, flavors, and variety in terms of how theyre produced and these factors will play a key role in helping you choose the right bourbon or scotch whisky type for your next event or outing.
Single malt scotch whisky is mostly known for its peaty flavor and robust taste profile and many people prefer scotch over bourbon.
The funny thing about this is that scotch is actually in a sense a byproduct of bourbon given the predominant use of barley malts in its fermentation and aging process. Bourbon is generally known to have more of a sweet taste when compared to scotch which is why hardcore alcohol enthusiasts generally prefer scotch whisky over bourbon.
The grains and barley used in the manufacturing process of scotch whisky are tightly controlled giving it a much more smooth and consistent taste when compared to bourbon.
Bourbon whiskey tends to use the implementation of various different grain types and barleys all of which add their own unique taste and overall flavor to the whiskey type in question.
How Whiskey Is Made
To produce whisky, distillers start with a mash bill of grains, sometimes referred to as a grain mash:
- That mixture of grains is combined with water and yeast.
- The yeast will feed on the simple sugars inside the grain mixture.
- The yeast then excretes alcohols such as methanol, ethanol, and carbon dioxide this is called the fermentation process.
- That fermented liquid is then run through either pot still, column still, or a combination of both to produce the spirit.
- That batch is then usually stored in an oak vessel for maturation.
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Scotch Vs Bourbon Fermentation Process Ingredients
The production of bourbon and scotch is heavily regulated throughout the United States which ensures that youre only getting the highest quality alcohol when you decide to purchase a bourbon or scotch.
In order for an alcoholic beverage to be approved as a bourbon, it must be fermented using a grain mix that is composed of at least 51% corn.
Many companies who produce bourbon alcoholic beverages accomplish this by simply combining rye, wheat, and barley into one pot in order to create the perfect brew for their bourbon or scotch variety.
In order for an alcoholic drink to be considered a scotch, it must be made using malted barley which is typically the primary ingredient used in the fermentation and creation of scotch alcohol varieties.
Scotch alcoholic beverages also commonly use ingredients such as yeast and water to encapsulate the overall flavors of the grain used. Scotch alcohol producers and manufacturers are also allowed to add whole cereal grains to their scotch alcohol varieties in order to add more color and character to the liquor.
The Real Difference Between Whiskey Bourbon Scotch And Rye
Editor in Chief for the Reserve blog
Ever wondered what the difference is between all those dark liquors? If you think they’re all the same, think again. Whiskeys come in many forms, and we’re here to help you distinguish between the three main types plus show you a few cocktails to remember them by!
From craft cocktails to giant whiskey lists, dark spirits have been cropping up on more and more menus across the country. Check out what makes each unique, and the next time you’re navigating the drink selection you’ll be well equipped to order the tasty spirit you really want.
Who should we thank for the different spellings of this popular spirit? Geography. “Whiskey” is produced stateside, while many other countries call their product “whisky.” However you choose to spell it, this distilled alcoholic beverage is made from fermented grain mash and typically aged in charred white oak casks, giving it its distinctive brown color. Whiskey is a broad category of liquor and can have lots of differences in color, taste and smell.
Washington D.C.’s The Pig, with over 70 choices on its menu, celebrates differing shades and nuanced flavors across a variety of whiskeys — some perfect for sipping solo and others ideal for incorporating into a mixed drink.
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Whiskey Is A Distilled Grain Spirit
According to Whiskey Advocate, whiskey is a distilled spirit that is made from grain. All other distilled liquors are made from other sources. For example, brandy, such as Armagnac or Cognac, comes from grapes. Whiskey makers use malted barley or other grains to make the spirit. They soak the grains in hot water to release the sugars and then add yeast to ferment the sugar into alcohol. Finally, they distill the liquor and age it in barrels.
Bourbon, Scotch, and rye are all types of whiskey. There are other types of whiskey as well.
Scotch Vs Bourbon Taste & Flavor Differences
The most notable difference that you will find in any bourbon or scotch variety is going to be the flavor.
Flavors between bourbons and scotch alcohol varieties will vary significantly depending on the type of ingredients such as grains and other products used during the fermentation and cultivation process.
Both bourbon and scotch are known to have very charred and Smokey flavors to them however the method in which these flavors are accomplished differs dramatically.
Bourbon typically has a very oaky vanilla taste to it that is largely derived from the barrels in which the alcohol is fermented, stored, aged, and produced.
Scotch alcohol on the other hand largely gets its flavor and taste from the peat which is burned during the barley malting process involved with making scotch alcohol.
Flavors can vary when it comes to scotch whisky because not all regions use pear during the barley malting process, so its important to keep this in mind if you plan on enjoying a glass of scotch whisky anytime soon.
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Bourbon: Americas Native Spirit Since 1964
First of all, bourbon is whiskey. Lets just get that out of the way. Unlike the term whiskey, the word bourbon represents one of the most regulated American spirits in terms of production, and the requirements for bourbon are more strict than with some most other spirits.
For a liquid to be called bourbon, it must follow the bourbon ABCs:
A:American-made: No, being made in Kentucky is not a requirement, although the vast majority is. It just has to be made somewhere in the continental US of A.
B: Barrels: Bourbon distillers must age their spirit in new, charred oak barrels from America for a varying period of time some bourbons have only been aged for 3 months, some over 20 years.
C: Corn: Bourbon must have at least 51 percent corn in the mash bill . This also gives it a sweeter taste than its rye counterpart.
D: Distillation proof: Bourbon must be distilled to no higher than 80% ABV .
E: Entry proof: Bourbon must be no higher than 62.5% ABV when entering the barrel for aging.
F:Fill Proof: Bourbon must be 40% ABV or above going into the bottle.
G: Genuine: There can be no additives, i.e. coloring agents or sweeteners.
These requirements are just the tip of the iceberg, the baseline into the world of bourbon. From here, terms adding further guidelines can be applied, such as Bottled in Bond, Barrel Strength, Straight Bourbon, and seemingly the favorite, Single Barrel.