Difference Between Whisky and Bourbon

Main Difference – Whisky vs Bourbon

Whisky is an alcoholic beverage distilled from fermented grain mash; the grain varieties include rye, wheat, barley, and corn. Whisky is made in many countries, and there are many types of including Irish whisky, Scotch whisky and American whisky. Bourbon is a type of Whisky that is made in America. The main difference between Whisky and Bourbon is that all bourbon is whiskey whereas not all bourbon is whisky.

What is Whisky

Whisky is a type of alcoholic beverage that is made in many parts of the world. Whisky is typically made from fermented grain mash; grains like rye, barley, wheat and corn are used. Then it is aged in wooden barrel, particularly made of oak.

Whisky production is regulated by different laws. There are also many types and classes of Whisky based on the distillation production, aging and the grains used. Malt Whisky is mainly made of malted barley whereas grain whisky is made from other types of grains. Single malt whisky is whisky that uses only one particular malted grain, made from a single distillery made from a mash.Difference Between Whisky and Bourbon

What is Bourbon

Bourbon is a special type of Whisky made in the United States. It is amber colored, a little and heavier in texture and sweeter than other whiskeys. It was originally distilled in Bourbon County, Kentucky. While bourbon whiskey is still associated with Kentucky and is still produced there, it is now manufactured all over the United States. However, manufacturers must follow certain regulations for their whisky to be known as Bourbon.

The main regulation is that it must be made in the United States. The grain mash used in the bourbon must contain at least 51% corn. The whisky must be distilled to a maximum of 160 proof and must be barreled at 125 proof. The aging process should be done in new oak charred barrels. It must be bottled at least 80 proof. Another important regulation is that it must not contain any added flavoring, coloring or other additives during the distillation process.

There is no specified time period for the aging process. Some bourbon is sold after only 3 months of aging whereas some are aged for few years. Straight Bourbon has a minimum aging requirement period of 2 years.Main Difference - Whisky vs Bourbon

Difference Between Whisky and Bourbon


Whisky is an alcoholic beverage distilled from fermented grain mash.

Bourbon is a type of a whisky.


Whisky is produced in many countries of the world.

Bourbon is strictly produced in the United States.

Grain mash

Whisky is made using different types of grains such as corn, wheat, rye, barley.

Bourbon is made of at least 51% of corn.


Whisky is aged in oak barrels.

Bourbon is aged in newly charred, white oak barrels.


While Whisky is made under regulations, there are different classes and types of whisky.

Bourbon is made under strict regulations.Difference Between Whisky and Bourbon- infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Scotch Whiskey and Bottle” by morberg .Licensed under (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

“Elijah CRAIG” by Taken by my own camera. (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikipedia

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