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Bourbon and Rye, An In Depth Comparison

We're focusing on American distilled spirits and dissecting bourbon and rye, the two biggest of them all. These two whiskeys share a lot in common, in addition to the fact that we adore them both, but they also distinguish themselves from one another by having some significant distinctions. What makes a difference, then?

Rye and Bourbon in Depth Comparison 

Bourbon and rye are two types of whiskey that differ in flavor. Both liquors must adhere to tight regulations for their fermented grain mashes, giving rise to the distinct sweetness of bourbon and the potently peppery flavors of rye.

These two are produced in essentially the same way, however bourbon goes through more steps to guarantee consistency.

Rye whiskey comes in only two varieties: American rye and Canadian rye. Bourbon comes in four different varieties. Both are matured in barrels, although unlike Scotch, rye and bourbon can be stored in oak barrels of any age.

The primary distinction between bourbon and rye is found in the raw components. The mash bill, sometimes referred to as the grain mixture for bourbon, must have at least 51 percent corn, whereas the mash bill for American rye whiskey must contain at least 51 percent rye. Various grains, including barley, corn, and rye, may account for the remaining (up to) 49% in both mash bills.

Aside from the basic ingredients in bourbon and rye, these two excellent spirits differ most in their taste profiles. And their underlying constituents are the source of these various flavor characteristics. Due to their corn base, bourbons tend to be sweeter and more caramel-like, whereas rye grains give whiskey a spicier, more savory flavor. Since many classic cocktails call for sugar or the blending of whiskey with sweeter liquors, rye was typically preferred over bourbon in their production because bourbon could make the cocktail too sweet.

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