A Gentleman’s Guide to Bourbon vs. Scotch
Bourbon and scotch are two of the most popular types of liquor in the U.S. today. But despite this, there are still many people who don’t know the difference between bourbon vs. scotch.
In fact, there are some people who are under the impression that bourbon and scotch are the same things. This is, however, not the case. Bourbon and scotch are two very different forms of alcohol, and you should know what sets them apart if you’re going to try one or the other.
So, what is bourbon, what is scotch, and what makes them different? We’ll set out to answer these questions so that you know what you’re ordering the next time you sit down at a bar and ask for a bourbon or scotch.
Keep reading to learn more about the differences between bourbon and scotch.
What Is Bourbon?
Bourbon is also commonly called American whiskey. It’s made from a mash bill containing at least 51% corn.
For bourbon to be called bourbon, it must originate from the U.S. It also must meet certain requirements to assume the bourbon title.
Here are several requirements of a bourbon:
- It must contain less than 80% alcohol after it’s distilled
- It must be no more than 62.5% alcohol by volume when it’s poured into charred oak barrels to start the aging process
- It must not have any coloring or flavoring added to it
Generally speaking, bourbon doesn’t have to be aged for any set length of time. But if a company is going to create so-called straight bourbon, it will need to let it age for at least two years before it can be bottled and sold.
What Are the Different Types of Bourbon?
One thing that’s worth pointing out when it comes to bourbon is that there are a lot of different types of it. Each individual type will have a distinct bourbon flavor profile that will make it unique from the other types.
A few of the different types of bourbon are:
- Straight bourbon
- Single-barrel bourbon
- High-corn bourbon
- Blended bourbon
- Small-batch bourbon
- Barrel-proof bourbon
If you decide to give bourbon a try, part of the fun of drinking it is exploring the different kinds of bourbon that are available. From mass-produced bourbon to rare bourbon that is only available in minimal quantities, you will enjoy testing out the types of bourbon to see what they bring to the table.
What Is Scotch?
Scotch is also referred to as whisky. It was initially produced way back in the 1400s using malted barley. Still, today, wheat and rye are often added to the mix in addition to malted barley during the scotch production process.
Just like bourbon must be produced in the U.S. to be bourbon, scotch must be produced in Scotland to be scotch. It also needs to age in oak casks for at least three years before it can be bottled and sold.
But many of the companies that specialize in selling scotch will let it age for a lot longer than that since scotch tends to taste better when it sits in oak casks for long periods of time. The wood in these casks is able to break down some of the harsher flavors found in scotch and make it taste smoother than it would otherwise.
What Are the Different Types of Scotch?
Scotch is similar to bourbon in that there are a handful of different types of scotch that you can drink. Each type of scotch is produced in a slightly different way, and it leads to each of them having a different scotch flavor profile.
Here are the five main types of scotch:
- Single malt scotch
- Single grain scotch
- Blended Scotch
- Blended malt scotch
- Blended grain scotch
If you’re going to drink scotch, you should make every effort to taste test as many types of scotch as you can. It’ll help you hone in on which ones you like the most.
Bourbon vs. Scotch: Which Tastes Better?
Part of the reason why so many people think that bourbon and scotch are the same (outside of the fact that they often go by “whiskey” and “whisky,” respectively) is that they taste similar to some degree. They both have smoky and charred notes as a result of how they’re each produced.
But there are some subtle differences between bourbon and scotch as far as taste is concerned. Bourbon, for example, will usually have oaky and vanilla flavors that stem from the barrels that it’s aged. It’ll also be sweeter than scotch is in many instances.
Scotch is typically sharper and more distinct than bourbon in terms of taste. If scotch is aged for a long time, it’ll go down a lot smoother and have a spicy finish to it. But most people will tell you that scotch will be an acquired taste because of how it tastes to those trying it for the first time.
At the end of the day, though, only you can pit bourbon vs. scotch to see which one you like more. Most people will have a preference after trying each option, but there are also those who are able to enjoy the differences that both bring.
Visit Our Bar to Try Bourbon or Scotch
Now that you know more about the differences between bourbon and scotch, you should give them a try. We can help you do it when you visit our bourbon bar that’s tucked away inside Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Whether you’re in town for a bachelor party, a wedding, a corporate event, or just your annual trip to Las Vegas, we would love to see you come through our front door. We’ll welcome you with a glass of bourbon or scotch and let you experience it for yourself while surrounding you with the perfect atmosphere to take it all in.
Contact us now to make a reservation.