Bourbon Vs. Scotch — Do You Know The Difference?

You will find a wide variety of products at any liquor store. For someone who doesn't have a lot of experience trying new liquors, it can be difficult to discern the difference between the many whiskey varieties that are sold in liquor stores today. Whiskey is an umbrella category for a group of beverages. Traditional whiskey, scotch whiskey, and bourbon all fall under this umbrella.

Learn some of the major differences between bourbon and scotch so that you can better appreciate these unique whiskey variations in the future.

1. Country of Origin

Scotch and bourbon differ in their country of origin. In order for a whiskey to be labeled as scotch, it must be wholly produced in Scotland. This means that a distillery using the same recipe outside of Scotland would be unable to label their whiskey as scotch.

By limiting labeling rights to those products created wholly in Scotland, Scottish distilleries have maintained an exclusive hold on the scotch whiskey market.

Bourbon is an American-made liquor. According to the Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, only whiskey products made in the USA can earn the bourbon label. Most of the bourbon available in liquor stores today is distilled in Kentucky.

2. Ingredients

Whiskey liquors as a group can be distilled from any grain.

Scotch whiskey is typically made from a mash mixture of barley, corn, rye, or wheat. A single malt scotch is made exclusively from a mash composed of malted grain barley. All other scotch liquors can be made from a pure or mixed mash of any malted or unmalted grain.

Bourbon is a liquor that is distilled by fermenting a mash made from at least 51% corn. The remaining ingredients can be either rye, wheat, or barley. Corn is a grain that is readily available within the United States, which explains its inclusion in bourbon recipes.

3. Aging Process

Another area in which scotch and bourbon differ is the process used to age each liquor.

Scotch is stored to mature in charred wooden oak barrels. These barrels are used for multiple batches of scotch, helping to create a deep and somewhat spicy flavor. A fresh-charred oak barrel is required when aging each new batch of bourbon. The high corn content of a bourbon mash and the use of fresh barrels for aging help to give bourbon its distinctly sweet flavor. 

Bourbon and scotch are both considered whiskey products, but they differ significantly in many ways. Understanding these differences will help you better select the right liquor.

About Me

Staying Safe While Having A Great Time

After we lost my cousin to a drunk driving incident, I realized that I needed to do everything in my power to drink responsibly. I started focusing on always having a designated driver with me, doing what I could to prevent problems, and trying to drink a little less. It was a lot of work, but I could tell that it was really paying off. After a few short years, I really felt like I understood what it meant to stay safe while having a great time. This blog is all about drinking the smart way, preventing problems, and doing what you can to keep everyone safe.



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