bourbon vs whisky

Are you craving a smooth, refined drink, perhaps on ice? Whisky is the first spirit that springs to mind and is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world. Or would you prefer a bourbon instead? Both have a similar appearance, but their contents and how they are produced couldn’t be more different. Which one you choose depends on the type of flavours you are looking to experience. Or, how you plan on serving it, such as neat or within a cocktail. 

If you are looking to learn more about the differences between bourbon vs whisky, then you’re in the right place. Here’s everything you need to know. 


bourbon vs whisky

When you think of bourbon, you probably picture a smooth Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey. But, what exactly is a bourbon? ‘Bourbon’ refers to a type of American whiskey, that has special conditions relating to its production. It needs to be made from at least 51% corn, with distillers using anywhere between 65%-75% corn. Bourbon can only be made in America, with Kentucky being the most popular state for making it in. The mash needs to be distilled at 160 proof or less, and the barrels which the distillate is stored in has to be charred new oak barrels. Another important restriction that makes bourbon unique, is that it cannot contain any additives which would influence the colour. 

The taste of bourbon tends to be sweeter than regular whisky, with notes of caramel, honey and vanilla often being associated with it.

Shop bourbon varieties for sale here at Bring Me Drink.

Bourbon Brand Examples


famous grouse

Did you know that whisky accounts for 20% of all UK food and drink exports? Whisky has a much broader definition than a bourbon, not least because it also includes ‘whiskey’, which is produced in Ireland or America. For example, Irish whiskey is triple distilled, whereas Scotch whisky is, for the most part, double distilled. The different climates also play a part in the final taste, with Ireland being slightly warmer than Scotland. America also has extremely varying weather patterns, so depending on the state which in the whiskey is made in, this will also impact the final taste. As each whisky is made differently, the taste is not as specific as a bourbon. This is especially the case given most whiskies have specific conditions they need to adhere to. Although the same can also be said for a bourbon, the product restrictions are dramatically different.

Whisky has a wide taste profile. It can be anything from woody to fruity, peaty to winey. How long the whisky is stored for will give a better indication of its taste. The longer it has been distilled, the more refined the flavours will be. 

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Whisky Brand Examples

To Sum Up

We hope the above guide on bourbon vs whisky will help you in making an informed purchase. In essence, while both bourbon and whisky may look the same in terms of colour, how they are made and their ultimate flavours are the main differences. Though, if you have sampled both, we’re sure you’ll agree what they both have in common is how delicious they are! Especially when the blend has been distilled for a long time in those divine oak casks. 

Be sure to leave us a comment below, and let us know your favourite brands. Are you a whisky drinker, or do you prefer a bourbon? The good news is that if you need to sample both to make up your mind, here at Bring Me Drink we deliver alcohol (including bourbon and whisky) right to your door! We stock whisky from all over the world, making it the perfect way to try it for yourself.