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  • Bourbon Vs. Whiskey Vs. Scotch | What’s The Difference?

    Published on September 16, 2021
    Bourbon Vs. Whiskey Vs. Scotch | What's The Difference?

    Whiskey is a popular distilled spirit and hard liquor that includes bourbon and scotch. Bourbon whiskey and scotch whiskey both fall under the umbrella of whiskey. In addition to this, there are certain whiskeys that are produced in different parts of the world. 

    For instance, specific whiskeys include Irish Whiskey, Canadian whisky, Tennessee whiskey, and American whiskey. The whiskeys mentioned, for the most part, bear the name of the state or country where the whiskey is produced.

    What Is Whiskey?

    Whiskey is made by using fermented grain mash in the distilling process. There are numerous types of whiskey that are diverse due to location, the ingredients used, and how long the aging process takes. 

    For instance, rye whiskey is typically associated with Canadian whisky. Even the way you spell whiskey changes depending on the area. 

    For instance, rye whiskey is an American whiskey, but can refer to Canadian whisky. Canada, Scotland, and Japan use the word whisky while the United States and Ireland use the word whiskey. 


    Bourbon is a type of whiskey produced in the United States. To be considered bourbon, it must use at least 51 percent corn for the distillation process. 

    Bourbon is aged in new charred oak barrels which makes it taste smooth or harsh. In addition, bourbon appears amber in color and offers a unique flavor profile that consists of brown sugar, spice, and even flavors of vanilla.

    Kentucky Distilleries

    Although bourbon does not need a specific aging period, a straight bourbon must be aged for at least two years. Typically, bourbon is made by Kentucky distillers. 

    Kentucky uses American oak barrels, mostly white oak, to age the bourbon, just as Tennessee uses them to make the popular Jack Daniels whiskey. Both bourbon and scotch use different grains but contain the same alcohol content as whiskey.


    Scotch whisky is made in Scotland and does not use the “e” in whiskey. This Scottish whiskey is created by using malted barley and grains in the distillation process. Scotch whiskey usually comes in pot stills from a single distillery.

    When it comes to scotch whiskey, there are a variety of types such as:

    • single malt
    • ​blended malt
    • single grain
    • blended grain
    • blended

    Aged For Three Years

    Scotch whisky uses malted barley, water, and cereal grains that must be aged for three years in oak casks. This can add to the oaky flavor of the scotch. The flavor of the 3-year-old scotch whisky can produce a smokiness as well as a smooth finish.

    Combining a variety of single malts with other whiskies in column stills is how a blended scotch whiskey is produced. A single malt scotch uses malted barley and water. It is produced at a single distillery.

    If you’ve noticed a pattern of drinking too many alcoholic beverages, contact us today to learn about our treatment options.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
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