Difference between Bourbon and Whiskey
Perhaps you’ve heard that all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. What’s the difference? Well, to put it simply—the law. Distillers must adhere to stringent laws that define what can and can’t be labeled as bourbon.
By definition, Whiskey is any spirit derived from fermented grain mash—including wheat, rye, barley, and corn—distilled to no more than 190 proof and then aged in oak barrels. Produced all over the world, whiskey has many popular styles including Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, and American whiskey. Bourbon is the most popular form of American whiskey with its own specific definition.
The Federal Standards of Identity for Bourbon stipulates that for whiskey to call itself bourbon, its fermented grain mash must contain at least 51% corn, be distilled to no more than 160 proof, stored in new, charred oak barrels at 125 proof or less, and must be free of any additives. About 95 percent of the world’s supply of bourbon comes from Kentucky.
Our Most Popular American Whiskey Barrels
Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon Barrels
Crafted, toasted, and charred at Brown-Forman Cooperage, these single-use, white oak barrels are vital in contributing flavor, complexity, and balance to Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon.
Recently declared the “official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby”, Woodford Reserve is a highly acclaimed, award winning bourbon of exceptional richness, depth, and character.
With the barrel as it’s key ingredient in the distilling process, this super-premium, small batch bourbon delivers a rich, smooth flavor with complex citrus, cinnamon, toffee, chocolate and spice notes.
Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey Barrels
Meticulously handcrafted, toasted, and charred at Jack Daniel’s Distillery, these single-use, American white oak barrels play an important role in contributing flavor, complexity, and balance to Jack Daniel’s Whiskey.
As one of the world’s most well-known Tennessee Whiskey brands, Jack Daniel’s stands out due to its rigorous, time-consuming crafting process in which the whiskey slowly drips through 10 ft of hard sugar maple charcoal to achieve its distinct smoothness.
Once aged to perfection inside the barrels, this premium, one-of-a-kind whiskey delivers subtle notes of caramel and spice with bright fruit notes and sweet aromatics.
Templeton Rye Whiskey
Known simply as “The Good Stuff” for more than 100 years, Templeton Rye is an award-winning American spirit that has earned its reputation as Iowa’s most notorious whiskey.
Templeton Rye is distilled in Templeton, Iowa and ages for 4 years in new, American oak barrels to achieve its unmistakable flavor and clean, balanced finish.
Though its bold flavor is delicious alone, Templeton Rye is often the key ingredient in many famous cocktail recipes, delivering notes of caramel, butterscotch, toffee, and allspice with dry, grassy, and natural spice aromatics.
Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Having filled more than 7 million barrels since Prohibition, Buffalo Trace Distillery has earned its place of leadership among the legendary spirits makers of the world through their dedication to one craft: making fine bourbon whiskey for more than 200 years.
Still family owned and located in Kentucky across more than 130 acres, Buffalo Trace has won more awards than any other distillery in the world, including an unmatched seven “Distillery of the Year” titles within the past decade.
Buffalo Trace Whiskey is made from the finest corn, rye, and barley malt and ages in new, American oak barrels for years until it achieves its rich, complex flavor with hints of vanilla, toffee, and candied fruit.
Types of Whiskey Barrels
- Must be produced in America
- Must be made from 51% corn
- Must be stored in new, oak-charred barrels
- Must be distilled to no more than 160 proof
- Must be barrel aged at no more than 125 proof
- Must be bottled at no less than 80 proof
- Must not contain any added flavoring, coloring, or any other additives
- Must be produced in Tennessee
- Must follow filtering process known as the “Lincoln County Process” prior to aging
- Must be filtered through maple charcoal to mellow the flavor during fermentation and aging
- Made with 51-79% corn
American Rye Whiskey
- Must be produced in America
- Must be made with at least 51% rye
- Must be distilled to no more than 80 percent alcohol by volume
- Crisper, spicer, and sharper flavor than sweeter, smoother bourbon
- Aged in charred new-oak barrels for at least 2 years
- Must be produced in Scotland
- Must be made from malted barley
- Must age in oak barrels for no less than 3 years
- Must have an age statement on each bottle to reflect the youngest aged whisky used in each blend
- Must be produced in Canada
- Must be barrel-aged for no less than 3 years
- Must possess the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky
- Lighter and smoother than other types of whiskey
- Distillers can follow their own production process and methods
- Mixture of different types of whiskey, as well as colorings, flavors and even other grains
- Ideal for cocktails
Single Malt Whiskey
- Must be made from one batch of scotch at a single distillery
- Must be aged for 3 years in oak barrels
- Main ingredient is malted barley
- American distilleries version of single malt is sometimes made from rye and not barley