What is the difference between Bourbon and whiskey?

by Spirits

Bourbon and whiskey are both types of distilled alcoholic beverages, but there are some distinct differences between them.

Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is made primarily from corn and aged in charred oak barrels. It’s usually a bit sweeter than other whiskeys, which makes it popular for cocktails and sipping neat. On the other hand, whiskey is a broader category of spirits that can include bourbon, rye, Scotch and more. Whiskey can be made from any type of grain such as rye, wheat or barley. It’s also aged in barrels but not necessarily charred ones like bourbon.

The main difference between bourbon and whiskey is the ingredients used to make them and the aging process. Bourbon must be made with at least 51% corn, while whiskey can be made with any type of grain. Additionally, bourbon must be aged in charred oak barrels while other whiskeys may not need to be aged in this way.Bourbon is a type of American whiskey, a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. It is made mostly in Kentucky and has a unique smoky flavor that distinguishes it from other whiskeys.

Bourbon must be made with at least 51% corn, though the remaining grains usually include malted barley, rye and wheat. It is aged in new charred oak barrels and must have an alcohol content of at least 40%. The aging process gives bourbon its distinctive color and flavor.

Bourbon has become popular worldwide in recent years due to its complex flavor profile. It can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks, but it is also widely used as an ingredient in many classic cocktails such as the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Mint Julep.

The name “bourbon” comes from Bourbon County, Kentucky, where it was first produced in the late 1700s. Many of the world’s most famous brands of bourbon are produced there to this day.

How is Bourbon Distilled?

Bourbon is made from a mash of grains which is typically composed of corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley. The mash is fermented with yeast and then distilled in copper pot stills. The distillate is then aged in charred oak barrels for at least two years. During the aging process, the whiskey absorbs flavor compounds from the wood and develops a distinctive color and flavor profile. A small amount of water may be added to bring it down to bottling strength, but no other additives are allowed in bourbon production. When it has reached the desired maturity, it’s bottled and ready to be enjoyed!

The distinctive flavor of bourbon comes from its unique mash bill (grain composition) as well as the length of time that it spends aging in charred oak barrels. Corn makes up a majority of the mash bill for most bourbons, giving them their characteristic sweetness. Rye contributes spice notes while wheat adds subtle tones and roundness to the flavor profile. The charring of the barrels also plays an important role in developing the flavor of bourbon, imparting smoky notes and contributing to its deep amber color.

What is Whiskey?

Whiskey is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. The grains used for whiskey production vary greatly depending on the type of whiskey being made. Common grains used in whiskey production include barley, rye, wheat, and corn. Whiskey is typically aged in oak barrels to give it its distinct flavor and color.

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Whiskies are divided into two main categories: malt whiskies and grain whiskies. Malt whiskies are made from malted barley while grain whiskies are produced from other grains like rye, wheat or corn. Both types of whisky can be blended together to produce a variety of flavors. Blended whiskies are often seen as less complex than single malt whiskies but can still offer interesting flavors and aromas.

The aging process for whisky is essential for imparting flavor and color to the spirit. The length of the aging process can vary greatly between different styles of whisky – some may age for just a few months while others may age for several years or even decades! The longer the whisky is aged, the richer and more complex its flavor profile will become.

Whisky can be enjoyed in a variety of ways – neat, with water or soda, or as part of a cocktail or mixed drink. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy it, whisky is an incredibly versatile spirit that makes an excellent addition to any home bar!

How is Whiskey Distilled?

Whiskey is a spirit made from grain, such as barley, corn or rye, which has been fermented and then distilled. Distillation is the process of purifying a liquid by heating it to its boiling point and then cooling it so that the vaporized liquid can be collected. This vaporized liquid, known as the distillate, contains all of the flavors and aromas of the original fermented mash. The distillation process removes impurities and creates a more concentrated form of alcohol. A whiskey distiller boils the fermented mash in a copper still. As the liquid boils, alcohol vaporizes and rises up into a connecting pipe where it passes through a condenser and is cooled back into liquid form. The resulting distillate is usually around 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume). It may be further distilled to increase its proof or it may be aged in oak barrels to add flavor complexity before bottling.

The type of still used during distillation affects the flavor profile of whiskey. Pot stills are used for single malt whiskies while continuous stills are used for most blended whiskies or bourbons. Different types of cuts are also used to separate different components from the distillate; these cuts are taken at different points during the distillation process and will determine what type of whiskey is produced. The final product will depend on how long it’s aged, what type of barrels are used and how much dilution occurs during bottling.


Bourbon is a type of whiskey that must be made from a mash of at least 51 percent corn and aged in new, charred oak barrels. Other grains typically used in the mash include rye, wheat and malted barley. To be labeled as “straight bourbon,” it must be aged for a minimum of two years. Bourbon is typically aged for four to eight years, although some are aged much longer. A bourbon’s flavor profile depends on the proportions of grains used in the mash, its aging conditions and the type of charred oak barrel used for aging. The flavor profile also changes over time; many bourbons taste different when they are bottled after extended storage.

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Whiskey is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Different grains are used for different varieties, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat and corn. The grain is mashed and then fermented with yeast before being distilled in either pot stills or column stills. It is then aged in wooden barrels or casks made from charred white oak. Depending on the variety of whiskey being produced, it may be aged anywhere from several months to many years. The flavor profile of whiskey depends largely on its ingredients and aging process.

Types of Bourbon and Whiskey

Bourbon and whiskey are two distinct types of spirits, each of which has its own unique flavor profile and production process. Bourbon is a type of American whiskey that is made from a mash of at least 51% corn, aged in new charred oak barrels, and has a distinct sweet, smoky flavor. Whiskey, on the other hand, is a spirit distilled from grains such as rye, wheat, or barley and can be produced anywhere in the world. While there are many different types of whiskey available, some common examples include Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, Canadian whisky, Tennessee whiskey and Japanese whisky.

Bourbon is typically characterized by notes of caramel, vanilla and oak with a sweet finish. The aging process also contributes to the complexity of flavor; longer aging periods result in more robust flavors while shorter aging periods create lighter-bodied bourbons. Popular bourbon brands include Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve and Jim Beam.

Whiskey can have a wide range of flavors depending on where it was produced and the type of grains used to make it. For example, Scotch whisky has a strong peaty flavor due to its use of malted barley during distillation; Irish whiskey tends to be smoother with notes of fruit; Canadian whisky has a softer flavor profile with hints of wood; Tennessee whiskey is known for its sweet notes; and Japanese whisky often has a light floral aroma with hints of honey or vanilla. Popular brands include Johnnie Walker Red Label Scotch Whisky, Jameson Irish Whiskey and Crown Royal Canadian Whisky.

No matter what type you choose to drink or how you like to drink it—whether neat or on the rocks—both bourbon and whiskey offer an array of options that can satisfy any palate. From smooth light-bodied bourbons to robust single malt Scotch whiskies or complex Japanese whiskies, there’s something out there for everyone!

Where Do Bourbon and Whiskey Come From?

Bourbon and whiskey are two of the most popular distilled spirits in the world. Both are made from fermented grain mashes, but there are several differences between them. Bourbon is made from at least 51% corn, while whiskey can be made from any grain including barley, rye, wheat and corn. Bourbon must also be aged for a minimum of two years in new charred oak barrels. Whiskey does not have to be aged in new barrels, although many whiskeys are aged for several years in used barrels.

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Bourbon originated in the United States, but it is now produced around the world. The earliest known recorded recipe for bourbon dates back to 1783 and it was first produced in Kentucky. Kentucky remains the epicenter of bourbon production with over 95% of the world’s bourbon being produced there.

Whiskey has a much longer history than bourbon and is thought to have originated in Scotland or Ireland centuries ago. It is now produced around the world with some of the most well-known varieties coming from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Japan and the United States. The exact origin of whiskey is still debated but its popularity has grown significantly over the centuries and it remains one of the most popular spirits today.

Bourbon vs. Whiskey Characteristics

Bourbon and whiskey are both popular spirits enjoyed around the world. While both spirits have many similarities, there are some key differences between them. These differences include the type of grain used to make them, the aging process, and the flavor profiles they produce.

When it comes to ingredients, Bourbon is made from at least 51% corn, while whiskey is made from a variety of grains including wheat, rye, and barley. The grains used to make whiskey will influence its flavor profile and can range from light and fruity to bold and spicy.

Bourbon is typically aged for two years in new charred oak barrels while whiskey can be aged anywhere from three to twenty years depending on the type of whiskey being produced. Generally speaking, the longer a spirit is aged, the smoother it will be.

When it comes to taste, Bourbon typically has notes of vanilla, caramel, and spices like nutmeg or cinnamon due to its aging process in charred oak barrels. Whiskey can have more fruity notes like apples or pears as well as more complex flavors such as leather or smoke depending on the type of grain used in its production.

In conclusion, Bourbon and whiskey have many similarities but also key differences that make each spirit unique. The type of grain used in production and length of aging process affect their flavors significantly so it’s important to know what you’re looking for when choosing between these two spirits.


Bourbon and whiskey are both spirits that have been produced for centuries. While they share many similarities, there are some key differences between them. Bourbon is a specific type of whiskey that must be made in the United States, typically from a mash containing at least 51% corn. It must be aged in new, charred oak barrels and must not contain any added flavors or colors. Whiskey is a much broader category of spirit that includes bourbon as well as rye whiskey, Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky. Each type of whiskey has its own unique set of guidelines and regulations that must be followed to ensure quality and consistency. Ultimately, the differences between bourbon and whiskey come down to production methods, ingredients used, country of origin and flavor profiles.

No matter which type you choose to enjoy, there is no denying that both bourbon and whiskey are delicious spirits with a fascinating history. So next time you’re in the mood for a drink, why not try them both?



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