Scotch vs. Bourbon: Which Is the Best Whiskey for Your Taste?

Although this beverage has a long history, whiskey is still one of the most loved alcoholic drinks worldwide—scotch and bourbon are arguably the most consumed types of whiskey.

While both have their fair share of fans, many people still don’t know what makes them so different and unique in flavor. So, if you’re looking to learn the difference between scotch vs. bourbon, you’ve come to the right place.

Key Points

  • Difference Between Scotch and Bourbon
    • Location
    • Ingredients and Flavor
    • Maturation Process
    • Nutritional Value
    • Price
  • What Are the Most Notable Scotch and Bourbon Benefits?
  • Popular Scotch and Bourbon Cocktails
  • Is Scotch Better Than Bourbon
  • Key Takeaways

Difference Between Scotch and Bourbon

Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage distilled from fermented grain mashes. Generally, it’s matured in charred oak barrels for an average of three years. While the process is similar for any type of whiskey, scotch and bourbon come with some notable differences worth considering.


Most notably, scotch is made in Scotland, while bourbon comes from the United States. Keep in mind that these alcoholic drinks need to be specifically produced and distilled in these specific locations.

For example, Japanese whisky is not scotch, even though the ingredients and the distillation process are quite similar.

Ingredients and Flavor

For one, the main ingredient in bourbon is corn, which makes up at least 51% of the mash. On the other hand, scotch is made with malted barley, water, and yeast.

While both beverages can have smokey and charred flavors, bourbon tends to be more appealing to people who prefer sweeter tastes. The taste of scotch, however, is more intense.

Maturation Process

After having explored scotch vs. bourbon taste and ingredients, now it’s time to learn about their maturation process.

While bourbon doesn’t require a minimum aging period, scotch should be matured in oak barrels for at least three years. So, it’s safe to say scotch needs more time to age than bourbon—here’s why. As bourbon is mostly produced in Kentucky, the climate during summer is much warmer than in Scotland. Therefore, bourbon evaporates faster.

Nutritional Value

Despite their differences, both scotch and bourbon are identical in terms of calories. In fact, a 1.5-ounce shot contains 97 calories.

If you’re wondering how much sugar is in scotch or bourbon, rest assured that both beverages don’t have any sugar, protein, or fat.


It’s true that prices depend on various factors, including the ingredients, location, and much more.

Scotch is generally more costly than other whiskies. So, if you’re looking for a more affordable option, you should definitely go with bourbon.

What Are the Most Notable Scotch and Bourbon Benefits?

Both scotch and bourbon come with health benefits you shouldn’t overlook. For one, whiskey helps raise blood antioxidant levels.

In addition, research proves that a moderate intake of whiskey can reduce uric acid in your body and the risk of heart disease. However, drinking too much alcohol can have the opposite effect.

Popular Scotch and Bourbon Cocktails

Now that we’ve covered the key differences between scotch and bourbon, let’s take a look at some of the most popular cocktails.

Scotch and Soda, Rusty Nail, and Rob Roy are good examples of scotch cocktails. On the other hand, when thinking about bourbon cocktails, Old Fashioned is one of the biggest names.

Is Scotch Better Than Bourbon?

Of course, the answer to this question depends on your personal preferences. If you favor a more robust flavor, scotch is your best option. In contrast, bourbon might be more appealing if you have a sweet tooth.

Scotch vs. Bourbon: Key Takeaways

  • While scotch is made with malted barley, bourbon is made with corn.
  • In terms of location, scotch is made in Scotland, while bourbon is produced in the US.
  • Scotch needs to be matured in oak barrels for at least three years, while there is no minimum aging period for bourbon.
  • The taste of scotch is more intense, while bourbon is sweeter.
  • Scotch is the most expensive kind of whiskey.