Whisky, Bourbon, Scotch And Rye – What’s The Difference Anyway?

Whisky has been a good friend to us over the years.

From making lonely nights more tolerable to nights with friends more tolerable, there’s really no substitute for Whisky and coke and deep fried snacks to accompany it.

But quite like other things we love, there’s a lot we don’t actually know about our favourite beverage – especially about the different types available. To a layman, whisky, scotch, bourbon and rye are pretty much the same thing.
By layman, we mean us, so it’s quite interesting to discover what exactly is the difference between the four.

#1 Whisky


Whisky is the result of fermented grain mash. It typically consists of barley, corn, rye or wheat. The broadest category here, it is produced all around the world. However, only the whisky produced in the USA bears the moniker “Whiskey”.

Drunk neat, with ice, drowned in Thums Up or in cocktails, whisky is a worldwide favourite.

#2 Scotch


Scotch is ideally a name given to Whisky made in Scotland, mystery solved. However, Scotch boasts a typically smoky taste which is a result of its brewing process. It is a result of the burning peat that results from malting barley.

Typically made by ageing malted barley in oak barrels, Scotch is valued based on how long it is fermented.

Scotch is mostly drunk neat, but experts often advise drinking it with water to get a better idea of the flavours that go into it.

#3 Bourbon


Bourbon derives its name from a region called “Old Bourbon” in Kentucky. Only Bourbon brewed in the USA can legally be labelled as Bourbon.

The grain mixture that goes into making Bourbon must contain at least 51% corn. No extra additives are allowed to be added and the brew must be fermented in charred oak containers. The charred containers are what give Bourbon its smokiness, unlike Scotch.

Pairing Bourbon with spices is a popular way of consuming it, apart from drinking it neat.

#4 Rye


Rye was traditionally named for the rye made in Canada. Weirdly, rye doesn’t necessarily need to have rye in its grain mash if it’s made in Canada.

Rye alcohol made in America however, needs to have at least 51% of rye going into its making.

Seen as spicy and bold, rye has a very prominent bite to it making a great choice for ingredient heavy cocktails.

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Posted by

Mehernaz Patel

"Not as funny as she thinks she is..." -Facebook Comment Section

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