Scotch vs. Whiskey: Differences in Taste, Ingredients, and Processing

There are many key differences between scotch and whiskey. The ingredients and the creation process set them apart from one another. And, while they both pair deliciously with cheese and chocolate, the two liquors couldn’t be more different. So, let’s jump into the wonderful world of scotch vs. whiskey below.

Bourbon vs. Scotch vs. Whiskey: What’s the Difference?

Contrary to popular belief, scotch and whiskey are actually two distinct kinds of liquor — sort of. They are both technically a type of whiskey, but their primary differences are geographical in nature. There is a reason why whiskeys are called different names. They can be referred to as whiskey, scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, or even bourbon.

Yes, we threw a third curveball into the discussion, and there’s an important reason for that. Since we are breaking down all the different types of whiskey, it’s only right to include bourbon. After all, it’s yet another one of whiskey’s various forms.

We already know the similarities shared between these liquors. However, it’s where and how they’re made, and how they taste that give them their unique characteristics. Ready to dive in? Let’s go.

Where It’s Made

For some, whiskey is whiskey. But, for a true enthusiast, it’s essential to note that one of the most important differences between scotch and whiskey is the region of its creation. For example, scotch, or “scotch whisky,” earns its apt name by being produced exclusively in Scotland.

Whiskey, however, is made just about anywhere, especially in America. In fact, bourbon was officially declared by Congress as “America’s Native Spirit” in 1964. And, you’ll find many Americans insisting that “true” bourbon can only be made in Kentucky.

Of course, that’s not to say that’s the only whiskey floating around. It probably won’t surprise you to know that Irish whiskey is made exclusively in Ireland. Likewise, Canada is responsible for Canadian whisky. Who would have guessed?

Before moving on, let’s clear up the confusion between “whisky” and “whiskey.” Whisky is made in Scotland, Canada, and Japan. Conversely, whiskey production occurs in Ireland and the United States.

How It’s Made

When discussing the creation of scotch vs. whiskey, the processes can seem rather similar. They are both created from a mixture of water and grain through a fermentation and distillation process. However, different types of whiskey use various types of grains. Plus, the distillation process happens at varying temperatures. Bourbon is created using either corn, wheat, rye, malted rye grain, or malted barley. Specifically, at a temperature that does not exceed 104°F. Any higher and the fermentation comes to a halt as the yeast begins to die off.

Interestingly, Scottish people originally used malted barley to make their scotch whisky. However, distilleries began using both wheat and rye in the 18th century. The temperature never exceeding 93°F during the production process.

Differences in Taste

The taste of the finished liquor all comes down to the grain used to make it. The scotch vs. whiskey taste is purely subjective—and many prefer one over the other. For instance, since most bourbon is made from a grain mash (potentially including corn). This often has a much sweeter taste compared to the more intense, smokey flavor provided by malted grains used to create scotch.

Other factors can affect alcohol’s overall taste. For example, the type of barrel it is stored in. In addition, the specific filtration process can affect the taste. This varies by beverage, though this stage usually averages around two years.

So, Which is Better—Scotch vs. Whiskey?

That’s the ultimate question, and like any liquor, it all comes down to your individual preferences. Whether you enjoy it straight or mixed in a cocktail. Your choice between scotch and whiskey is all about the type of experience you’re looking to have. Also, if. you want to stay in the know on all upcoming Festival Wine & Spirit news subscribe to our newsletter today!

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