The main difference between scotch and whisky is geographic, but also ingredients and spellings. For instance, if you’re in England and ask for a whisky, you’ll get Scotch. But in Ireland, you’ll get Irish whiskey (yep, they spell it differently for a little color). We’ll explain.
In short: Scotch is made in Scotland, and Bourbon is made in America (mainly Kentucky). Scotch is made from malted barley, Bourbon is made from Corn.
To know the difference between whiskeys, first you should understand what a whiskey actually is. To keep it simple, whiskey is any booze distilled from fermented grain mash. The only exception to this being some made from corn, which doesn’t always have to be aged.
All whiskey must be distilled at a minimum of 40% and a maximum of 94.8% alcohol by volume (ABV), . The difference between the various whiskeys relies mostly on the type of grain used for the mash.
Back to the USA. The difference between Tennessee Whisky, like Jack Daniel’s, for example, and Bourbon is that after the spirit is distilled, Tennessee Whisky is filtered through sugar-maple charcoal. This filtering, known as the Lincoln County Process, is what distinguishes Tennessee Whiskey from your average Bourbon, like Maker’s Mark or Jim Beam.
We also have Rye, which can refer either to American rye whiskey, which must be distilled from at least 51 percent rye or Canadian whisky, which may or may not actually include any rye in its production process. Confusing! Right?
Since an image paints a thousand words…. here’s the breakdown in Infographic format.