bourbon vs rye whiskey
If you’re a fan of RackHouse Whiskey Club, then you already know that whiskey is a glorious spirit that comes with many different types to choose from. When it comes to types there are two that are the biggest and baddest of them all: bourbon and rye. But what makes a whiskey a true bourbon? And what about rye, is it made differently? Although rye and bourbon have a lot in common, there are a few subtle differences you should know. Here’s a breakdown:
Point of Difference #1: Raw Materials
You can tell the difference between bourbon and rye right from the beginning. For bourbon, the grain mixture, also known as the mash bill, must be at least 51 percent corn. With rye whiskey, the mash bill is at least 51 percent—you guessed it—rye. The remaining 49 percent of the raw materials can be any combination of grains, including barley, corn and rye.
Point of Difference #2: Production
For the most part, production of the two types of whiskey are pretty similar. mixed with water. Bet you didn’t know that one of the main ingredients in whiskey is water! Typically the next step with bourbon production is to introduce sour mashing, which is when you add mash from a previous distillation into the mix to ensure consistency. Not every bourbon distiller adds a sour mash.
Point of Difference #3: Barrels
Bourbon and rye whiskey both start out clear in color and then gain color from caramelized sugars in charred American oak barrels. There t three years. Whiskey enters the barrel at 125 proof max for aging.
Point of Difference #4: Flavor
Overall, the greatest difference between bourbon and rye whiskey really comes down to the taste. And you can tie the distinct flavor profiles back to the main ingredients. The corn mash used to make bourbon results in a sweet, caramel-like and full-bodied flavor. The rye mash used to make rye whiskey means the taste tends to be spicier, drier and more savory. Bourbon flavors are typically easier for a novice to enjoy because of the noticeable sweetness and consistency while the intensity of rye whiskey is more of an acquired taste. One additional note is that rye whiskey is usually the first to grab for classic cocktails because many of those recipes call for sugar or blending with other sweet liquors. Using bourbon as the base could end up being too sweet. However, bourbon is routinely showing up in Manhattans, Old Fashioned and whiskey sours.
As with every food or beverage preference, it depends on the person drinking the whiskey to decide whether bourbon or rye reigns supreme. In our opinion, you can’t really go wrong either way! Join us!