Whiskey, Bourbon & Scotch

Whiskey, Bourbon & Scotch

Whiskey vs Bourbon vs Scotch - what whiskey is the top dog?

Whiskey is hands down our favourite spirit. There are many different flavours, all with a home in various cocktails. Because whiskey is made worldwide, the region it's made in plays a large part in its flavour profile. Let's take a closer look at the four most popular styles of whiskey – Bourbon, Scotch and Rye – and what makes each of them unique.

Are Bourbon and Whiskey the same? 

Bourbon is "America's Native Spirit" and must be made in the United States, with over 95% coming from Kentucky; and has other legal particulars such as being made from at least 51% corn and must be aged in new, charred oak. Bourbon is bold, sweet and characterized by vanilla and caramel notes and is the go-to for many whiskey cocktails, such as the perfect manhattan.

In short, if you find yourself getting asked are bourbon and whiskey the same - the answer is no. Bourbon however is a type of whiskey. 

Irish whiskey versus bourbon

Irish whiskey must be made in Ireland and is commonly made from barley, though there are varietals with other grains. It is exceptionally smooth and tastes like caramel, butter and nuts. It is currently seeing a resurgence in modern times and can be used as a creative substitute for classic cocktails.

Scotch must be made in Scotland and from one-of five regions; Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside, Cambleton and Islay. Typically Scotch is aged for a considerable time and legally must be aged for a minimum of three years. Flavours vary drastically based on each region, and though traditionally drank neat, Scotch has a home in some extraordinary cocktails. Try your favourite Scotch in a classic Penicillin or in a Manhattan.

Rye whiskey is commonly made in the United States and Canada, and different laws regarding its production apply to each country's produce. These differing restrictions generate a diverse flavour profile, though typically, rye whiskey will be spicier and less sweet. Rye whiskey is excellent in cocktails where it can play an accompanying role to other ingredients and offers a nice smooth flavour. We love using rye in an old-fashioned, and it also tastes fantastic in a Vieux Carre.

A photo of a bottle of Woodford Reserve and a glass of whiskey.

While we love using whiskey in cocktails, people will commonly drink whiskey neat or straight up, meaning by itself in a glass. The term 'On the rocks' is frequently used to describe whiskey in a glass with ice, and we tend to serve this with one large cube. Whiskey drinkers usually have a strong preference, and it's imperative to know the profiles of the common styles and brands. 

There's a wide world of whiskey out there, and we've just struck the tip of the iceberg. We recommend that you start your whiskey journey as soon as possible, grab a few bottles and experiment with some cocktails to find out what all the hype is about.

We're curious to know, what's your favourite flavour of whiskey? If it came to a ring match of Whiskey vs Bourbon vs Scotch - who would win? Let us know in the comments.

Cheers 🥃

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