Difference Between Scotch and Whiskey

While sipping your favourite spirit, have you ever wondered about the difference between scotch and whiskey?


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Many people fail to understand the difference between the two. While the two have many similarities, each has manufacturing practices that make them different.

Key Takeaways

  1. Scotch is a specific type of whiskey produced in Scotland. It is made primarily from malted barley and aged in oak barrels for at least three years. It is known for its distinctive flavors influenced by local production methods and regional variations.
  2. Whiskey is a broad category of distilled alcoholic beverages made from fermented grain mash, including various types such as bourbon, rye, and Irish whiskey, each with unique production methods, ingredients, and flavor profiles.
  3. The primary distinction between Scotch and whiskey is that Scotch is a specific regional variety of whiskey, defined by its Scottish origin, ingredients, and production methods. In contrast, whiskey encompasses diverse distilled spirits from different regions with varied characteristics.

Scotch vs Whiskey

The difference between scotch and whiskey is that Whiskey is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from different types of grains like barley, corn, wheat, etc. Whiskey is produced all around the world. Scotch is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from only water and malted barley. Scotch, just as the name suggests, is produced in Scotland.

Scotch vs Whiskey

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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonWhiskeyScorch
Manufacturing originManufactured all around the world.Manufactured in Scotland.
Grains usedMade from Barley, corn, wheat, and rye.Made from water and malted barley.
UniquenessSugar Maple Charcoal is used to filter Tennessee Whiskey. Unpeated Malt is a unique ingredient used in Irish Whiskey.The manufacturers malt the barley grain before the fermenting process to turn the scratch into sugar. This is the main reason behind scotch having a smooth flavour.
PricePrice varies depending on the brands and age of the beverage; whiskey is generally cheaper than Scotch.Price varies depending on the brands and age of the beverage; Scotch is generally more expensive than Whiskey.
MaturationMatured in American White oak.Matured in European oak.


What is Scotch?

Scotch is a whiskey manufactured in Scotland. It is made from grain, usually from barley and water. Scots take pride in their whiskey, and they have rules and quality standards in place to produce the best beverage in the world.

Scotch whiskey regulations have laid down the guidelines for the entire production process of Scottish whiskey. As per the regulation, scotch is aged for a minimum of three years, though it is usually aged for a period between 12 and 25 years.

Scotch usually has a more intense flavour than all the other whiskeys around the world.

This is mainly because of strict quality control, and because it is fermented using only yeast, no other grains or substances are used in the fermentation process.

Scotch is commonly distilled twice and is usually made from Barley.

Single malt wins most of the market share, but blends are also popular among the people and manufactured from a mash of malted grains.


What is Whiskey?

Whiskey is the category in which many alcoholic beverage drinks, like scotch and bourbon, fall. All the scotches are whiskey, but not all the whiskey is scotch.

Whiskey is a distilled alcoholic beverage that is made from grains. It is made from wheat, corn, Barley, malted barley and rye.

The grains are soaked in hot water to ensure that all the sugar is released, and then yeast is added so that the sugar is fermented to alcohol. Finally, the liquor is distilled and aged in barrels.

Tennessee Whiskey is distilled in the state of Tennessee, and it is made from corn. It is usually believed that corn is a vegetable; however, it is a grain, and thus distilled liquor made from corn meets the definition of whiskey.

Irish whiskey is made in Ireland. Different types of grains are used in the production of Irish whiskey, but the Alcohol must be less than 94.8%, and the whiskey must be aged for at least three years in the barrels.

Like scots, the Irish take pride in their whiskey. The market for Irish whiskey has grown in recent years. A decade ago, there were only three distilleries in Ireland. Thanks to the increase in demand in recent years, it has grown to sixteen.

Canadian whiskey, as the name indicates, is made in Canada. It is primarily made from corn, but the manufacturers add a small quantity of rye to the mash. It is often confused with the rye whiskey distilled in the United States.


Main Differences Between Scotch and Whiskey

Sometimes people fail to understand the difference between scotch and whiskey. Although the two have a lot of similarities but is beneficial to know the difference between the two.

These are the main difference between Whiskey and Scotch:

  1. Whiskey is produced all around the world, whereas scotch is produced in Scotland.
  2. Whiskey is made from a combination of grains, whereas the main ingredients in Scotch are malted barley and water.
  3. The still used to stir liquid used in manufacturing whiskey is usually made of copper because it removes sulfur components from alcohol that makes the beverage unpleasant to drink, whereas scotch is produced according to strict regulation and quality control in a single distillery.
  4. A whiskey is matured in American white oak, whereas Scotch is matured in European Oak.
  5. Whiskey has a lightly sweet flavour, whereas Scotch is smoother and sometimes smoky in flavour.
  6. The amount of time a spirit must be aged to be called a whiskey varies from country to country, whereas Scotch should be aged for a minimum of three years as per Scottish law.
  7. Not all whiskeys are scotch, whereas all scotches are whiskeys.
  8. The alcohol by volume (ABV) in whiskeys when they’re put into barrels varies from country to country, whereas the ABV of scotch should at least be 40%.
Difference Between Scotch and Whiskey
  1. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2005/an/b415422c
  2. https://www.bostonapothecary.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Changes-in-Whiskey-While-Maturing-1.pdf
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