It’s upsetting to learn that scotch, bourbon, and rye are all types of whiskeys when you’ve gone your whole life believing that whiskey is whiskey. But what whiskey is, is a distilled alcoholic drink derived from a malted grain. Under the power of law, a whiskey can’t legally claim a title without meeting precise specifications. This can include the country it’s made in, the ABV content, and even the type of barrel it’s aged in. So waste not another drink in ignorance and read on to see the difference between Scotch, bourbon, and rye whiskey.

Scotch

whiskey scotch Scotland’s pride is made from mashing barley, hot water, and yeast together, then fermenting it in old oak casks for up to fifteen years. If it’s labeled a single malt, it means the mash only utilized one type of malted barley. The blended malts mix two single malts together for distilling. Single malts steal the show, but several blends come utterly revered for their standard of excellence like the Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

Scotland is protective of their pride, and as such, each batch of Scotch must meet certain ramifications for the distilleries to legally label them as a Scotch whiskey. For one, they must come from Scotland, otherwise, they’re only to be referred to as “single malt whiskey” or “malt whiskey” for blends. Three years or more is required for aging, and the ABV(alcohol by volume) can’t exceed 94.7%. Prices loom high since real Scotch’s are imports, but finer quality does exist at lower prices. Just check the Glengoyne 17 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, a delicate fruity palate for $50.

Bourbon

whiskey bourbon Just as Scotland struck a monopoly on the Scotch name, the U.S. has done the same with bourbon. While bourbon can be made within any of the fifty states, Kentucky remains the proudest and largest distributor of bourbon. The bluegrass state’s signature cocktail, the mint julep, is half composed of bourbon and wildly popular during the Kentucky Derby.

The mashing process for bourbon subs in at least 51% of the malted barley or wheat for corn. By law, they must be distilled in newly charred oak barrels and entered in at no more than 125 proof. They also must be removed before exceeding 160 proof, whereas 190 proof is the limit for most other whiskies like Scotch. Then for bottling, they can’t exceed 80 proof. The process became strict due to incessant tampering with the formula in the late 1800’s which produced several poor quality brands of bourbon. You can’t go wrong though with the two-time gold-medalist in San Francisco’s World Spirit’s competition; Four Roses Small Batch at $30.

Rye

whiskey rye While bourbon sales flourished in the American South, the northeastern states held fast to its rival drink of choice, rye. Whereas bourbon requires 51% corn, rye needs 51% rye to legally hold the name. It was a hit during colonial times where it was sought after for its spicy dry burn, toting just enough sweetness to mellow the intensity.

After his presidency, George Washington ventured into the whiskey-making business. His first year in business during 1797 brought forth a cozy profit at 600 gallons of rye whiskey. Seeing potential for more, he constructed a larger distillery equip with a boiler and 5 copper pot stills. Washington passed away in 1799, but his business sold 11,000 barrels nonetheless, making it America’s largest distillery at the time. A new distillery has since been erected in its place on Mount Vernon and makes George Washington Rye Whiskey. It’s sold at $98 and said to replicate the original formula’s flavor.


  • The Difference Between Whisky, Rye, and BourbonThe Difference Between Whisky, Rye, and Bourbon There are those who are just happy to drink any kind of booze but there are those who can tell them apart one by one, before enjoying the dark, bitter or smooth drink. If you do not know […]
  • Signature Cocktails Begging To Be Tried At Least OnceSignature Cocktails Begging To Be Tried At Least Once Those with the taste and gall to order mixed drinks tend to wear their cocktail of choice like a badge of honor. Not literally of course, how messy, but nothing beats the James Bond […]
  • 7 Exceptionally Fine Liquors To Give As Gifts7 Exceptionally Fine Liquors To Give As Gifts Finding that perfect last minute gift for friends and loved ones is a grueling exercise in futility. Luckily, the process can be simplified; i.e. narrowing the field. For example, let's […]
  • The World’s Strongest LiquorsThe World’s Strongest Liquors We all know liquor but what you don’t know is that the world strongest liquor comes with adventure. Their homes are widespread and you definitely need to travel. I mean, what would you […]
  • Tips To Prevent a HangoverTips To Prevent a Hangover Hangover is the experience of various psychological and physiological effects following the high consumption of drugs such as alcohol, bhang, cocaine and even being away from loved ones […]
  • Awesome American Breweries of The MidwestAwesome American Breweries of The Midwest Accusations of 'flyover territory' get tossed at the Midwest on the double, with the region sorely undervalued for its contributions to American culture. Their prolific craft beers are one […]
  • 6 Classy Wine Decanters For Wine Lovers6 Classy Wine Decanters For Wine Lovers The art of decanting wine has persisted since the 11th century when the Venetian's introduced the modern day wine decanter. Its primary purpose was to filter out any sediment in the […]
  • The 10 Best Tequilas Under $25The 10 Best Tequilas Under $25 The funny thing about writing is that when you write about something that you are intimate with, it becomes challenging to stay focused. It is easy to drift from the main topic because of […]
Advertisement