Wheat Whiskey vs Bourbon

Wheat whiskey and bourbon are two types of alcoholic drinks that have been liked by people for many years.

glasses of bourbon whiskey with ice

Although they are both made from grains and made in a similar way, they have clear differences that make them different. Understanding these differences can help you enjoy each type of alcohol for its special qualities and tastes.

Wheat whiskey is a type of whiskey that is made using mostly wheat, about 51%, along with other grains like corn or barley. Wheat whiskey tastes smoother and lighter than bourbon because it contains a lot of wheat. Instead, bourbon is made using mostly corn, at least 51% of it, and a small portion of other grains like rye or barley. The reason bourbon has a strong and sweet taste is because it contains a lot of corn.

Whether you like the smooth flavor of wheat whiskey or the strong taste of bourbon, both drinks have a long history and are loved by whiskey fans everywhere. When you go to a bar next time, you can try asking for a wheat whiskey or bourbon to find out which one you like more.

Understanding Whiskey and Bourbon

Whiskey and bourbon are two popular spirits that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same.

glass of bourbon next to a glass of whiskey

Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is made in the United States, while whiskey is a broad category of spirits that includes bourbon, scotch whiskey, Irish whiskey, and Japanese whiskey.

Whiskey is made from fermented grains, such as barley, corn, rye, or wheat, and is distilled to create a high-proof spirit. The type of grain used and the method of distillation can affect the flavor and aroma of the whiskey. For example, scotch whiskey is made from malted barley and is distilled twice, while bourbon is made from at least 51% corn and is distilled once.

Bourbon is a specific type of whiskey that is made in the United States and must meet certain legal requirements. According to the U.S. government, bourbon must be made from at least 51% corn and aged in new, charred oak barrels.

It must also be distilled to no more than 80% alcohol by volume and bottled at no less than 40% alcohol by volume. Bourbon is often associated with the state of Kentucky, but it can be made anywhere in the United States.

While bourbon is a type of whiskey, not all whiskey is bourbon. For example, wheat whiskey is made from at least 51% wheat and is often smoother and lighter in flavor than bourbon. Canadian whiskey is made from a blend of grains, including rye, corn, and barley, and is often lighter and smoother than bourbon.

Key Ingredients

Both wheat whiskey and bourbon have specific requirements for their key ingredients.

mash-bill-process-with-corn-rye-wheat-barley-and-other-grains - Wheat Whiskey vs Bourbon

Bourbon must be made from at least 51% corn, while wheat whiskey must be made from at least 51% wheat. In addition to corn, bourbon may also include other grains such as rye or barley. Wheat whiskey, on the other hand, may also include other grains such as barley or malted barley.

The type of grain used in the mash bill affects the flavor profile of the final product. Corn gives bourbon its signature sweetness, while wheat gives wheat whiskey a smoother, lighter taste. Rye, which is often used in bourbon, adds a spicy kick to the flavor. Barley and malted barley are used in both bourbon and wheat whiskey to aid in the fermentation process.

The quality of the grain used is also important in producing a high-quality spirit. The grains used in bourbon and wheat whiskey should be of the highest quality, free of mold or other contaminants. The type of yeast used in the fermentation process can also affect the final flavor of the spirit.

Aging and Bottling

Both wheat whiskey and bourbon must be aged in oak barrels to be considered whiskey. The aging process is crucial to the flavor and quality of the final product. The oak barrel imparts flavor and color to the whiskey as it ages.

glass of bourbon and barrel for aging process

According to the Distiller website, bourbon must be aged in a new, charred oak barrel for at least two years to be considered “straight bourbon whiskey.” Bottled-in-bond bourbons must be aged for at least four years, and any other age statement on a bottle must reflect the youngest whiskey used in its blend. On the other hand, wheat whiskey has no minimum aging requirement, but it must still be aged in oak barrels to be considered whiskey.

The aging process for both wheat whiskey and bourbon can vary depending on the distillery and the desired flavor profile. Some distilleries use different types of oak barrels, such as American white oak, French oak, or sherry casks, to impart different flavors to the whiskey. Other distilleries use a combination of different barrels to create a unique blend of flavors.

After the aging process is complete, the whiskey is bottled. Some distilleries choose to bottle their whiskey at cask strength, which means the whiskey is bottled directly from the barrel without any dilution. Others choose to dilute the whiskey with water to achieve a desired proof before bottling.

Bottled-in-bond bourbons must be bottled at 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume) and must be aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least four years. This ensures that the whiskey is of a consistent quality and meets certain standards.

Flavor Profiles

Wheat whiskey and bourbon have distinct flavor profiles that set them apart. Wheat whiskey boasts a smoother, lighter taste due to its high wheat content, while bourbon offers a bolder, sweeter flavor profile.

Set of bourbon whisky, tasting glasses with variety of single malts or blended whiskey spirits

Bourbon’s flavor profile is often described as sweet and rich, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and fruit. The sweetness comes from the high corn content in the mash bill. Some bourbons also have a spicy finish, with hints of baking spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

On the other hand, wheat whiskey is known for its lighter, more delicate flavor profile. The high wheat content in the mash bill gives it a creamy, almost nutty flavor with a touch of sweetness. Some wheat whiskeys also have hints of toffee, pecans, and chocolate.

When it comes to the nose, bourbon is often described as having a distinct aroma of oak, with notes of vanilla and caramel. Wheat whiskey, on the other hand, has a lighter, more floral nose with hints of apple and tart fruit.

In terms of mouthfeel, bourbon is often described as having a full-bodied, creamy texture. Wheat whiskey, on the other hand, is lighter and smoother, with a slightly oily mouthfeel.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

grapefruit cocktails in glasses with rosemary and ice on white background. Healthy citrus summer drink. close up

Our Favorite Vegan Cocktails to Drink

bottle of Jack Daniels Winter Jack apple whiskey punch

When is Winter Jack Available