Bourbon vs Scotch – Their Differences, Types, Flavors & More

Bourbon vs Scotch

Bourbon vs Scotch – this question has been in the minds of most of us whenever we are left to choose a Whiskey (or Whisky) between these two.

That is not a problem at all, because both the Types of Whiskeys are actually different and each one is Unique in their own ways. 

However, let us clear out the difference between Whiskey and Whisky first. This is only a spelling difference between the same drink produced in two different regions. 

Whiskey is the spelling used by American and Irish distillers.

Whisky is the spelling used by Canadian and Scottish distillers.

The Whiskey Land Mascot

With an “e” or without an “e”, I don’t care! Just give me a drink, mate!

The Whiskey Land Mascot

With an “e” or without
an “e”, I don’t care! Just
give me a drink, mate!

This is purely to show the difference between the production countries for marketing purposes.

There is a viable reason behind it – flavors and taste usually differs between the Whiskeys produced in different countries. We will look in detail about them here.

Getting back to the difference between Scotch vs Bourbon now.

Aye! Aye! Get on with it, can’t wait, you Guzzler!

Bourbon vs Scotch - the differences:

It is important to know the differences between these two so that you appreciate each of these drinks and choose your favorite, if at all you want to settle with one.

Bourbon: This Whiskey is made only in America (or you can put it this way – whiskies made with specific regulations only in America are called Bourbon) and MUST be made from at least 51% Corn.

The name comes from the Bourbon County in Kentucky State of the country where 95% of bourbon is produced in the country.

bourbon

BOURBON

SCOTCH

Scotch Whiskey

Scotch: This type of Whisky is made only in Scotland, and is made from malts of several grains of which mostly is Barley.

There are two main types of Scotch Whiskies- Single Malt and Blended Scotch.

Scotch: This type of Whisky is made only in Scotland, and is made from malts of several grains of which mostly is Barley. There are two main types of Scotch Whiskies- Single Malt and Blended Scotch.

SCOTCH

Scotch Whiskey

Production & Aging Process:

Bourbon: These are usually aged in new, charred Oak barrels once the distillation is complete.

And according to US regulations, their aging should be mentioned on the label for anything that is aged less than 4 years. If they are aged for two years, they are called Straight bourbon. 

Scotch: Single Malt Whiskies are made from malted Barley at a Single Distillery.

Blended Scotch is made from combining single malt whisky with whiskies from various other grains.

Typically, a Scotch whisky must be aged in charred oak containers for a minimum of 3 years to bear the name.

Bourbon Vs Scotch Flavor differences:

Bourbon: This type of Whiskey has a sweet and caramel flavor due to the use of Corn for production.

Some varieties also use Wheat, Rye and other grains in addition to Corn for preparing the malt. The finish is a little smooth and sometimes harsh due to the use of charred oak barrels.

Scotch: On the other hand, Scotch whiskies are spicy and have smokey flavors. These smoky flavors may be due to the fact that they use peat smoke to dry the malted barley which adds up to the flavor in the final product.

The spicy flavor is what makes Scotch whiskies more favored than the sweet flavored Bourbon. Single Malt Scotch is sharp and spicy while Blended Scotch whiskies are smoother and buttery than their counterparts. 

Who wants Sweet Drinks?
Just hand me the Scotch,
you little Bucko!

Who wants Sweet
Drinks? Just hand me
the Scotch, you little
Bucko!

PARAMETERS

BOURBON

SCOTCH

Ingredients

51% Corn

Malted Barley

Country of Origin

United States

Scotland

Aging

Minimum 4 months to 2 years

Minimum 3 years in Oak casks

Flavors

Sweet and Caramel

Sharp, Spicy and Smokey

ABV Content

40% to 80%

40% to 94%

Price

Lower Priced

Higher Priced

PARAMETERS

Ingredients

BOURBON

SCOTCH

51% Corn

Malted Barley

PARAMETERS

Country of Origin

BOURBON

SCOTCH

United States

Scotland

PARAMETERS

Aging

BOURBON

SCOTCH

Minimum 4 months to 2 years

Minimum 3 years in Oak casks

PARAMETERS

Flavors

BOURBON

SCOTCH

Sweet and Caramel

Sharp, Spicy and Smokey

PARAMETERS

ABV Content

BOURBON

SCOTCH

40% to 80%

40% to 94%

PARAMETERS

Price

BOURBON

SCOTCH

Lower Priced

Higher Priced

Types of Scotch Whiskies:

There are predominantly two types of Scotch – Single Malt and Blended Scotch.

Single Malt – is produced from 100% Malted Barley in only a Single Distillery and distilled in a Traditional Copper Pot Still.

This is considered to be the most traditional Whisky from Scotland, the one which ancestors prepared many years back.

Blended Scotch – is produced from single malt whisky which is combined with other whiskies made from other grain malts using a Column still.

Usually, Maize and Corn are the other grains used to prepare Blended Scotch.

However, there is a third type of Scotch that is being prepared now and is commercially on a huge scale.

Called “vatted” whisky, this is also called Blended Malt Scotch where in Single malts from several other distilleries are blended together at one place and let to ferment before distilled and bottled. 

For best Scotch whiskies to drink right now, head over to this article. 

Types of Bourbon Whiskies:

Bourbon whiskeys are of few types on their own – Traditional, High-Rye and Wheat. 

Traditional Bourbon is made from at least 51% Corn and some distillers use up to 75% corn.

High-Rye – is where the second major grain used is Rye which gives more spicy flavor to the final product

Wheat – Instead of Rye, Wheat is used as a Flavoring agent and the result is a more smoother and wheatish flavor on the final product.

For the best Bourbon Whiskeys you can get right now, this article will help you decide which one to buy.

Summary:

Both Bourbon and Scotch are different types of Whiskeys that are produced in different parts of the world using different ingredients and each one having unique flavors on their own.

If you are looking to have something strong, spicy and in line with Original whisky taste, go for Scotch Whisky, especially the Single Malted ones.

If you are just trying out Whiskeys and would be better off with something smooth, sweet and buttery, start off with Bourbon whiskeys.

The Whiskey Land Mascot

What are you waiting for, tipplers? Go on and grab some Whiskey Glasses!

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