Whiskys have become very popular in recent times. They have become very much a part of the daily routine of an individual (especially youths). In this article we will be focussing on the major differences between the two types of whisky – RYE and BOURBORN.

In this article we will be focussing on the major differences between the two types of whisky – RYE and BOURBORN.

Summary (In A Nutshell ) –

Rye and Bourbon are the two most common types of whisky available. While the process of making them is similar, the difference between the two lies in the ingredient used to make them. Rye whisky contains higher percentage of rye in it (51%), and the Bourbon contains higher percentage of corn in its mix (51-79 %). Rye whisky is more potent and tastes bitter, while bourbon has higher alcohol percentage per volume than rye and tastes sweet. Rye whisky is very spicy and sharp, while bourbon is considered as soft whisky , tastes sweet and is more popular between the two.

Detail Analysis :-


The grain mash is first fermented and is then distilled. The mash may be of barley grain or any other type of grain. This combination of grain used is called “mash bill”. Water is added to the mixture and then it is heated to extract sugar. Further, the extract is ultimately fermented into alcohol.

The mixture is selectively evaporated (distilled) in order to remove the spirits from mash and is finally stored in wooden casks to be aged.

The type of whisky is determined by the grain type used, the distillation process, what type of cask the extract is placed in, and for how long it is aged. Slight changes in any part of the process can have large impacts on the whiskey’s flavour .Thus, by changing the type and quantity of the ingredients used different flavours of whiskey are made.

RYE Whisky – Rye whisky is made from rye grains and it contains about 51% of the rye in it and the rest 49% of the mixture contains barley or corn. But there are also many variety of rye whisky available in market that have around 95-100% rye. The alcohol content of the whisky cannot exceed 80%. And they should be stored for a minimum period of 2 years before being served.

There are two types of commonly found rye whisky –

American rye – It is highly regulated whisky and is produced in USA only. It has very consistent quality and is quiet easy to find.

Canadian Rye – There are no standards in Canada for making rye whisky. Normally 100% rye containing whisky will be from Canada only.

Bourbon Whisky –Bourbon whisky contains minimum 51% of corn to maximum 79% of corn in the mixture. If the percentage of corn in the mixture goes beyond 79% then it is called corn whisky not Bourbon Whisky. It can only be made in USA by following all the rules and regulations. The alcohol content is limited to 62.5% when it is stored in wooden casks. Bourbon whiskey contains a higher alcohol percentage per volume than the Rye whiskey.

Key differences-

Rye Bourbon
Rye contains 51% of rye in it and the rest of mix is made up of barley or corn. Bourbon contains 51-79% of the corn in its mixture.
Rye whisky has lower alcohol content in it than bourbon whisky by volume. Bourbon has higher per volume alcohol content.
It should be stored in oak casks for two years before being available at the market. Though it has no minimum age requirement, but the usual practice is to store it in oak casks for two years.
Rye whisky is more potent than Bourbon whisky. It is less powerful than Rye whisky.


It tastes bitter.  It has sweet taste.
This whisky is very sharp and spicy. It is considered as soft whisky.
It was the most popular whisky once, but due to the ban of Rye whiskey, Bourbon became the most popular. Despite its re-entry in the market, Bourbon continues to be the popular one. It is more popular than Rye whisky.







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