Whiskey the American kind, is a distilled spirit made from fermented grain and usually aged in an oak barrel.
The various types (rye, rye malt, malt, wheat, bourbon and corn) each require different ingredients and distilling processes
Bourbon is the most popular type of whiskey in the USA. Made from mostly corn and traditionally distilled in Bourbon County, Kentucky.
The simple answer is that Bourbon is ALWAYS Whiskey, but Whiskey is not always Bourbon.
A strict set of federal trade regulations defines what’s what.
What is Bourbon?
While bourbon whiskey has its roots in Kentucky and continues to be primarily produced there, it is now manufactured in distilleries all over the United States. Manufacturers must meet the following requirements in order to advertise their whiskey product as “bourbon”:
It must be produced in the U.S. from a grain mixture (called “mash”) made up of at least 51 percent corn.
The fermentation process for this mixture is often started by mixing in some mash from an older already fermenting batch, process known as sour mash.
The spirit must be distilled to no more than 160 proof, aged in new, charred oak barrels.
To qualify as “straight bourbon,” the spirits must meet the above requirements as well as being aged no less than two years and containing no added coloring, flavoring or other spirits.
Maker’s Mark (a fairly good brand in my opinion), Jim Bean and Wild Turkey are three of the top selling brands of bourbon whiskey (though Maker’s Mark spells their product the Scottish way: “whisky”).
What is Whiskey?
For all intents and purposes, Tennessee Whiskey is straight Bourbon made in the State of Tennessee. The people who produce the spirit such as Jack Daniels, do not want their Whiskey labelled as Bourbon, claiming that they are the only type of Whiskey that puts the spirit through a charcoal filtering process.
As a result, they believe their drink deserves the distinction of a separate name. Other than that, all Bourbon rules apply!
Irish Whisky (no “e” in Irish Whisky 🙂 is pretty much any whisky made in Ireland. Like Scotch, it must be distilled to an ABV of less than 94.8.
It must be made from yeast fermented grain mash in such a way that the distillate has an aroma and flavor derived from the materials used. Simply put…Whisky is nothing more than distilled beer and tastes better at room temperature!
Finally, the whisky must be aged for no less than three years and in wooden casks.
As you can see, other than Canadian Rye, Irish Whisky has some of the most relaxed rules, which create a larger diversity in the whiskeys produced.
That about sums it up the Differences between the most common types of Whiskey.
My Favorite Bourbons are: Basil Hayden’s, Woodford Reserve & Knob Creek
My Whiskey favorites are: Forty Creek, Johnnie Walker Double Black Label, Bushmills
Now to blog about wines!
**Credits go to my palate, my hubby for his keen drinking insight, Wikipedia, Sean Lind & Natalie Wolchover for some extra info.