How is Bourbon Different to Other Whiskey?

By Keg & Brew   /  

Main difference between bourbon and other whiskeys

One question that our staff are often asked here at the Keg & brew is “What’s the difference between bourbon and other whiskey?”. As our staff are so friendly, they not only chat about the differences but they also wanted us to write this article answering that very question for our website visitors. Whiskey is, by definition, a spirit distilled from fermented grain mash (including wheat, rye, barley and corn) and aged in wooden barrels. The most well-known styles of whiskey are Scotch, Irish and American whiskey. Amongst American whiskeys, the most popular is the subject of this article, bourbon. Below are 6 pre-requisites for whiskey being deemed ‘bourbon’:

  • Bourbon must be made in the USA. Whiskey made anywhere else in the same style is a mere replica.
  • Bourbon must contain 51% corn.
  • Bourbon must be aged in new, oak-charred barrels. While all whiskey is aged in oak barrels, other varieties do not need to be new or charred.
  • Bourbon must be distilled to no more than 160 proof (80% alcohol) and entered into the barrel at 125 proof (62.5% alcohol).
  • Bourbon must be bottled at 80 proof (40% alcohol) at the very least.
  • Bourbon must never contain any added flavourings, colours or additives whatsoever.


So, there you have it – some facts to impress your friends with about what makes bourbon different to other whiskeys. To further impress them, bring them along to the Keg & Brew here in Surry Hills, where we have almost 40 different types of bourbon for you to sample in our very own bourbon bar!