Bourbon vs Scotch vs Whiskey: What’s the difference?

Bourbon vs scotch vs whiskey? Right? Let’s dive deeper!

Whiskey is an Irish word which means “water of life”, is one of the most preferred alcoholic drink out there.

Though there are a great number of varieties of whiskey out there in the market, Scotch and bourbon come out to be the most consumed worldwide.

Being quite similar to each other, they have certain major differences. Notice that the three words(whiskey, scotch, and bourbon) are very interrelated. You can see whiskey as the dog population, while scotch and bourbon being different breeds of the same population.

So in this article, we have shared everything about bourbon vs scotch whiskeys. 

What is Whiskey?

Whiskey is a cool distilled alcoholic beverage. Mashing fermented grains together and leaving them to carbonize in the oak barrels for a long time gives us the whiskey.

The grains that whiskey includes in it are barley, wheat, corn, and rye; the mixture is taken out after they reach their suggested years of maturity.

Different types of Whiskey

Bourbon vs Scotch: What’s better?

Scotch Whiskey

Scotch Whiskey, commonly called Scotch, is prepared primarily from malted barley.

As the name suggests, it is possible only to be produced in Scotland. We have at present, two types of scotch – single grain and single malt.

Single grain Scotch whiskey is prepared at a single distillery at one place but it is likely to contain some whole grains from various malted and unmalted cereals. Single malt Scotch whiskey is also processed at one single distillery only by using water and malted barley. 

Bourbon doesn’t have any aging criteria whereas it is mandatory for scotch whiskey to age at least for three years in the oak containers. When everything is ready, the whiskey is left to cool and stored at 40% alcoholic content.

Bourbon Whiskey

Bourbon whiskey, simply bourbon, is prepared majorly from corn mash.

It’s manufactured only in the United States not anywhere outside that, and as per the U.S. regulations, Bourbon has to be a mixture of grain mash that should at least be 51% corn along with aging in some new carbonized oak containers.

There is no such specified time period for the bourbon type whiskey to age. But any of the variants which don’t have at least four years of age need to have clear mention on the information label.

Likewise, for any variety of this whiskey, it should be having a mature age of at least 2 years.

Bourbon whiskey, on the other hand, is quite distilled and stored at a low percentage of 40% alcohol. 

bourbon vs scotch

Nutritional Information

Both scotch and bourbon coming from the same parent, these are identical in nutrition. A standard 1.5-ounce,i.e., a 43-ml shot of both whiskeys have the following nutritional set:

The irony is that both are made from different raw materials but the nutritional information comes out to be identical in the above table. 

Bourbon is a mixture prepared by the grain mash containing at least 51% of the corn content, whereas the Scotch whiskeys are a combination of malted grains and several other small constituents.

The differences in the ingredients give both types of whiskeys a slight change of taste. Bourbon is more on the sweeter side whereas the Scotch kind of has a smokiness or dry taste.

Benefits of Whiskey

Although whiskey is not something people see with good eyes, if you take it in moderation, it has specific benefits:

  • Reducing the risk of heart disease: Alcohol intake in moderation is linked with a reduction in the risk of heart diseases. But, keeping in mind, that taking excess of alcohol is harmful and might raise the risk.
  • Reduction in uric acid levels: Some research upon this topic concludes that a moderate amount of whiskey consumption reduces high uric acid levels(which might pose a risk for gout attacks). 
  • Improves brain health: According to the research done on the topic, explains how small amounts of whiskey can defend our brain against disorders like dementia and others.
  • Yields antioxidants: Whiskey contains ellagic acid, an antioxidant that can nullify the effect of harmful free radicals. As a suggestion by research, moderate whiskey can help increase antioxidant levels in the blood.

Having said that, we know there are a number of benefits of consuming whiskey and other alcoholic beverages; taking too much of them will surely have negative effects on your health.

Side Effects

Depend on Alcohol: Research links daily or regular consumption of alcohol to greater risks of alcoholism or dependency on alcohol.

Increase of Weight: Whiskey is quite heavy containing 97 calories in a simple 43-ml shot; taking multiple shots regularly can easily lead to an increase in weight.

Greater risk of death: Consuming alcohol in larger amounts results in premature death many times as compared to the people who took less or no alcohol.

Liver Issues: Taking greater amounts such as 25 ml or more of alcohol daily increases the chances of liver cirrhosis, a fatal liver disease.

Depression Increases: According to the studies, alcoholics have a greater risk of suffering from depression than people who take less alcohol or not at all.

To protect yourself from these problems, reduce your alcohol consumption to two classic drinks for men; or one classic drink per day for women.

One classic whiskey drink is a 43-ml shot (1.5- ounce)

how to drink whiskey

How to Drink Whiskey?

Whiskey, as we all know, is an alcoholic beverage loved and enjoyed all over the world.

Many populations like to drink this whiskey as a straight or a neat one; which means all the whiskey by itself without any adulteration. If you are a newbie to drinking whiskey, you should go for a neat, it will give you a much better idea of the flavor and aroma.

Adding some amount of water will give you different flavors and taste(probably lighter than the neat). You can also go for taking whiskey with ice, generally famous with the keyword “on the rocks”.

However, if you didn’t liked the whiskey’s taste on the first attempt, you can always go for a whiskey cocktail.

Some of the very whiskey cocktails you would definitely like to try:

Manhattan: It is prepared from a mixture of bourbon whiskeys and rye, with a bitter taste and some sweet vermouth. A Manhattan is commonly served with cherries as a taste enhancer.

Old Fashioned: This is a cocktail having whiskey, bitter, sugar and water as its constituents.

Mint Julep: Mint julep is processed from a combination of sugar, bourbon whiskey, mint leaves, crushed ice, or sugar(or simple syrup).

Whiskey Sour: This is a general cocktail normally served with ice and cherries; is prepared from a combo of lemon

John Collins: It is very very similar to a whiskey sour. John Collins contains an extra club soda element in addition to whiskey sour.

Classic highball: This can easily be prepared from any kind of whiskey, ginger ale, and ice cubes. 

Keeping in the back of our minds that these drinks do contain a lot of added sugars and sweeteners(they are very calorie-rich drinks). Taking these daily might result in excessive weight gain.

Final Takeaway

So, we come to the conclusion that bourbon and scotch are quite different types of whiskeys.

As we saw above in the charts, both bourbon vs scotch have almost the same quantity of nutrients. They differ in their flavor and taste profiles as bourbon has corn mash as their base ingredient whereas malted grains are the base for Scotch. Malted grains age for one year more than the corn mash, serving as one of the reasons for different tastes and flavors.

Yes, you can enjoy whiskeys in many ways, like taking it straight, with some ice in it; or in the cocktail forms. 

Remember, alcohol has many benefits but only in moderation, too much amounts of whiskey or alcohol can essentially damage your body.

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