What exactly is whiskey? Well here’s the super brief overview. The name came from the Gaelic term “uisge betha” which means the ‘water of life.’ This delicious spirit was first created by Irish Monks who learned about distillation techniques while making perfumes in the Mediterranean.
The central ingredients of all types of whiskey have remained the same throughout time – just water, yeast and a grain mash. Now, whiskey by law has to be distilled at a minimum 40 percent and maximum of 94.8 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
That’s cool and all but what about rye, bourbon and scotch? Are they different types of spirits? What do they have to do with whiskey?
The biggest thing to remember is that all ryes, scotches, and bourbons are types of whiskey, but not all whiskeys are ryes, scotches or bourbons.
As you know, with wine, there are different blends and varietals. Not all white wines are chardonnays but all chardonnays are a type of white wine. The same goes for whiskey. Bourbon, scotch, rye and the like are different types of whiskey that come from different regions and share different taste properties.
Below we summarize some of the main differences that you need to know. Check it out and let us know if you’d like to add anything for other readers to benefit from! This is a very basic overview and there is certainly a lot more comparative differences.
Do you have any major differences that you’d like to note? We’d love to hear them below. And if you’re interested in downloading the Whisky Basics Cheat Sheet in PDF format just click here.