When it comes to whiskey, two of the most popular varieties are Scotch and Bourbon. Both are iconic in their own right, but they differ in a number of ways, from their ingredients and production methods to their flavor profiles. If you're new to whiskey, it can be difficult to tell the difference between these two drinks. However, with a little knowledge and practice, you can learn to identify whether you're drinking a Scotch or Bourbon.
Here are some key factors to look for:
Scotch is made from malted barley, water, and yeast, while Bourbon is made from at least 51% corn, with the remaining ingredients usually being wheat, rye, or barley. This means that Scotch tends to have a more complex, rich flavor, with notes of peat and smoke, while Bourbon has a sweeter, smoother taste, with notes of caramel and vanilla.
- Production method
Scotch is traditionally distilled in Scotland, using a pot still method that produces a heavier, more full-bodied whiskey. Bourbon, on the other hand, is typically distilled in the United States, using a column still method that produces a lighter, more mellow whiskey. Additionally, Bourbon must be aged in charred oak barrels, while Scotch can be aged in a variety of barrels, including those that previously held sherry or port.
The age of a whiskey can also provide clues as to whether it is a Scotch or Bourbon. Scotch is often aged for a minimum of three years, and can be aged for decades or even centuries. Bourbon, on the other hand, is typically aged for between two and six years, although some premium varieties can be aged for longer.
Finally, the region where the whiskey was produced can also be a clue as to whether it is a Scotch or Bourbon. Scotch can only be produced in Scotland, while Bourbon can only be produced in the United States, specifically in Kentucky. This means that if you're drinking a whiskey that was produced outside of these regions, it is likely not a true Scotch or Bourbon.
There are a number of factors that can help you identify whether you're drinking a Scotch or Bourbon. By paying attention to the ingredients, production method, age, and region of the whiskey, you can learn to appreciate the unique flavors and characteristics of these two iconic drinks.