Whiskey is booze that is distilled from fermented grain mash. There is one exception in which some whiskey can be made from corn and doesn’t always have to be aged. All whiskeys must be distilled at a minimum of 40 percent alcohol by volume.

The various whiskeys differ by the type of grain used for the mash. Some different types of whiskey include: Scotch, Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey and Rye.


Scotch, like all whiskey, is made from fermented grain mash. For whiskey to qualify as a Scotch, it must be made from malted Barley. Many Scotches are made from barley, water, and yeast. It must also be aged in oak casks for a minimum of 3 years. The final qualification has to do with its origin. A drink cannot be called Scotch unless it is 100 percent made and from Scotland.

Bourbon & Tennessee Whiskey

Bourbon whiskey must be made from at least 51 percent corn. The process of making Bourbon whiskey is called sour mash. Mixing mash with an already fermented batch frequently starts this fermentation process. Just as Scotch must be from Scotland, Bourbon whiskey cannot be called Bourbon unless it was made in the United States. Another requirement is that is must be distilled at no more than 80 percent alcohol (160 proof) and charred in oak barrels. While Bourbon has no age requirements, in order to call it straight Bourbon, it must be aged for a minimum of 2 years and can have no other added spirits, coloring or flavor. Straight Bourbon that is made specifically in the state of Tennessee is called Tennessee Whiskey.


Rye is the most difficult whiskey to define. The naming of this whiskey comes from a historical naming convention produced in Canada. Canada has distilled rye almost as long as Canada has been in existence. In the past, most of Rye was made from rye mash, but this is no longer the case. It now has a corn and rye ratio of 9 to 1. There is only one rule in Canada in order for it to be labeled Rye- it has to have some rye in it.


The main difference between Brandy and Cognac is that Brandy is made from wine and can be from anywhere in the world, where Cognac is a special kind of Brandy that is only made in France. Brandy is derived from the Dutch word that means “burnt wine”. It is produced by the distillation of wine after the grapes have been fermented. Brandy contains about 36 to 60 percent alcohol by volume. It’s a very popular after-dinner drink around the world. It can be made from other fermented fruits other than grapes. Cognac is made in Cognac, France (is named after the town it’s made in). It contains about 40 percent alcohol.