Whiskey 101

What’s with the Different Types of Whisk(e)y?

When you distil fermented grain mash and age it, you end up with whiskey. The type of whiskey or flavor (or even how you spell it) depends on many other factors. You may sometimes notice whiskey spelled with or without the “e.” The delicious spirit made in the U.S. and Ireland is spelled with as whiskey while Canada, Scotland, Japan, England, Australia and others spell it whisky.

It can be confusing, and that is just the name! To help you understand the other differences between types of whiskey, here is a handy list to keep in mind the next time you’re in one of our stores.

Bourbon (Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam)

Flavor: Sweeter with a hint of wood.

To be considered a Bourbon, the mixture of mash grains must be a minimum of 51% corn. It must also be aged at least two years in a new charred white oak cask prior to bottling.

Rye (Knob Creek Rye, Bulleit Rye)

Flavor: Similar to a bourbon but less sweet and more grainy.

Rye must contain at least 51% rye in the grain mash and aged a minimum of two years in an oak cask.

Tennessee Whiskey (Jack Daniels)

Flavor: Sweet with a bit of charcoal.

Tennessee Whiskey is 51% corn and must be charcoal run through the Lincoln County Tennessee Process Filtering.

Canadian Whisky (Crown Royal, Canadian Club)

Flavor: Less bold than other whiskies, smooth.

In addition to being made in Canada, Canadian whiskey must be at least 80 proof and aged 3-6 years in new or used barrels.

Irish Whiskey (Jameson, Bushmills)

Flavor: Honey and roasted wood.

The toast of St. Patrick’s Day is a good Irish whiskey that must be distilled in Ireland and aged 3-12 years in a bourbon or wine cask.

Scotch (Johnnie Walker, Glenlivet)

Flavor: Smokey with hints of fruit.

The flavor of scotches can vary greatly depending on where they are distilled (though they must be in Scotland and distilled at least two times).


India drinks the most whiskey out of any country in the world.

The U.S. ranks third in per capita whiskey consumption behind … France and Uruguay? It’s true!

Australians drink more American-made whiskey than Americans do!

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