With USA recently celebrating 4th July Independence day, we thought we would take a deep dive into American whiskey , most associate USA whiskey as bourbon, which is mostly correct other than few exceptions.

All Bourbons are whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. 

Ageing And Cask Maturation 

One of key differences is in the aging and maturing of the whiskey, Scottish laws dictate whisky must be aged a minimum of 3 years in a cask, or can not legally be categorised as whisky. Over in the states there is technically no minimum ageing laws around whisky, but normally 4 or more years is the practice to maximise the maturing cask. 

Another legal requirement this time for our American cousins, is regarding the cask used to mature their whiskey, they must use fresh brand new charred barrels for maturation, where as Scotland don't. You see a lot more variation in casks of Scotch whisky including a lot of ex-bourbon casks since USA distillers can't use a barrel again. Often USA distillers have trade deal with Scottish distilleries to sell their ex-bourbon barrels. 

One more factor in the aging and maturing process is the climate, location can affect the speed and amount of maturation from the cask. 

Whisky vs Whiskey - the differences 

 Stateside whiskey can be malted Grain, Rye or barley can be used in creation, the current trend tends to malted Barley or Rye. Whereas the Scots must use 100% malted Barley , with no exceptions.  

By regulations Scotland is a lot more limited, meanwhile single malts in good ol' US of A only have to only technically made for 51% grain or more, so USA producers can add rye, wheat, corn or other grains, that creates a mash bill whiskey but still technically a single malt. 


Laws also dictate the distillation process, like cask maturation and aging the America does not have a spefic rules on what must be used, they can use Single pot stills, column stills or even a combination of both. Scotch whisky by law must use Pot stills in distillation. 

Pot stills make whisky batch by batch basis , Pot stills tend to produce more flavourable spirit. Column stills on the other hand can make whiskey more continuously creating a cleaner , pure spirit distill. 


For bourbon whiskey , must be produced in United States of America and must have 51% corn fermented mash.  Bourbon must be aged a minimum of two years in new charred oak casks, part of reason only 2 years is it matures faster in USA to Scotland due to the climate. 



We hope this has shared some insight to the differences between whisky and whiskey.

Always try to remember without a E for scotch whisky or their may be a angry Scot questioning your choices!   

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