Whiskey and bourbon are both distilled from fermented grain. They may be two of the most popular spirits available in Liquor Store St Arnaud, but they're also quite different. Whiskey is made from a neutral grain that's not necessarily corn, while bourbon must be at least 51% corn.
Bourbon is sweeter than whiskey because it has more sugars added during distillation because of its higher corn content. But what really sets these two spirits apart?
Both whiskeys are made from grain, but bourbon is sweeter
The sweetness of bourbon comes from how it is made: Bourbon must be at least 51 percent corn, and that corn is distilled in a column still. The resulting spirit is then aged in new oak barrels, where it picks up the vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch flavors from the wood.
To put things into perspective, whiskey-maker Ingredients Inc., which produces spirits for dozens of brands, explains that bourbon must be aged for a minimum of two years whereas whiskey can go straight to market after aging only six months.
Bourbon also undergoes an additional step called “charring” before going into those barrels—this process burns away some of the wood so only charred wood remains in contact with the liquid inside (which gives it its smoky flavor).
In contrast with whiskey distilling methods that use pot stills (and thus don't require charring), this step gives bourbon much more complex flavours than other whiskeys when it comes out as a finished product.
Whiskey and bourbon are both aged in charred oak barrels
Whiskey and bourbon are both aged in charred oak barrels. The amount of time the spirit is aged is a major factor in determining how much flavor it will take on from the wood, but it's not the only one.
The type of wood used also plays a role, as does whether or not the barrel has been charred (charring gives the oak more surface area for absorption).
There are many different types of whiskey produced around the world, each with its own unique blend of ingredients ranging from barley to rye to corn—and each with its own special aging process that culminates in distinctive flavors.
The flavor of a whiskey or bourbon will vary by brand
A whiskey or bourbon's flavor will vary from brand to brand. The following factors can influence the taste of your whiskey:
The age of the whiskey or bourbon. Older whiskeys have a more complex flavor than younger ones, but this is not always true!
The distillation process used to make a whiskey or bourbon (and whether its ingredients were aged prior to distillation). Single-malt scotch whisky is distilled at a lower proof than most other whiskies because it has been aged in oak casks for longer periods of time—and thus has higher levels of esters that give it its unique flavors and characteristics!
Water used during the distillation process (e.g., soft water vs hard water) plays an important role too: soft water produces lighter spirits while hard waters produce heavier ones depending on what kind of grain you're using during fermentation!
Bourbon and whiskey are similar in many ways, but they’re still different. If you’re not sure if you want to try bourbon or whiskey, try tasting a few of each! If you’re still unsure after that, just remember that the best way to find out which type is right for you is by trying them all and make sure you get that from the right Liquor Store St Arnaud.