Scotch or Bourbon whisky, is there any difference? Trying to figure out the answer to this question can have you stumped. Despite being a whisky lover, I can’t tell how whiskies are different from each other. After all, they are all whiskies. However, there is more to whisky than its taste and smoothness.
But, before we dive in, let me clarify the common doubt that we all have- is it whisky or whiskey? Neither is wrong. The spelling differs depending on the country where it is produced. Scottish, Canadian, and Japanese distillers use ‘”whisky” while their Irish and American counterparts use “whiskey.”
With that said, here are five distinct types of whiskies that you should know.
Originally produced in the US, bourbon is primarily made from corn. While it can be produced anywhere in the US, it is strongly associated with the American south, particularly Kentucky. It is made with at least 51 per cent corn and contains no additives. Bourbon must be aged in charred new oak barrels and not exceed 160 proofs in the mash. Its sweet flavour tends to appease a variety of tastes and preferences.
Peated Scotch whisky
The new style of whisky, peated scotch whisky, was originally made in Scotland, on the Hebridean island of Islay. The practice of burning peat as a heat source led to its production. Peaty scotch whisky is made by germinating barley to draw sugars from the starch during the malting process. This process, however, needs to be stopped halfway by applying heat. When peat is burned, it produces an aromatic smoke. This smoke imparts a distinct flavour upon the grains, which finds its way into the end product.
First, a whisky cannot be called Scotch unless made in Scotland. In Scotland, whisky-making is taken seriously, and rules are put in place for distillers to follow. The spirit must be aged in oak casks for no less than three years. Scotch whisky is made from either malt (malted barley) or cereal grains (wheat or corn). It gets its distinctive earthy and smoky flavour from the malting process. If this sounds like a whisky type for you, check out our single cask scotch whisky selection.
Irish whiskey is made in Eire (Republic of) Ireland or Northern Ireland. The region’s main focus is on malt-based whisky instead of peat. While other grains can be added, the law requires distillers to include malt in the mash of malted cereals. Irish whiskey is made using malt, caramel colouring, and distilled water. It is then aged in barrels for at least three years resulting in a smoother flavour compared to other whiskies.
Rye whiskwy is made in North America with at least 51 per cent of rye grain, and the rest consists of malted barley and corn. It follows the distilling process of bourbon but has a sweeter and smoother flavour than bourbon. It must be charred in new-oak barrels for at least two years. It also has no additives but water.
Whiskies vary depending on where they are made, their flavour profiles, and what they are made from. Now that you know the different types of whiskies and what makes them unique, you can best tell what you prefer to drink.