When browsing our vast aisles at Lukas Wine & Spirit Superstore, you may run into two similar-looking styles of alcohol — Whiskey and Bourbon. You might be wondering what the differences between these two alcohols are. The first thing to note is that bourbon is a type of whiskey. In essence, all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. In the following read, your local experts in Lone Tree will break down the main differences between whiskey and bourbon so that you can make the best choice for your taste! Visit our store today for the best alcohol variety in Colorado.

What Is Bourbon?

Bourbon is an American-style whiskey distilled from a mash made primarily from corn. Distillers can only label a spirit bourbon when made with at least 51 percent corn and are allowed to age in new charred oak barrels. As bourbon is aged in barrels, the mash must be distilled at 160 proof (80 percent alcohol by volume) or less and aged until it is no more than 125 proof (62.5 percent alcohol per volume). Once filtered and diluted, bourbon must be no less than 80 proof (40 percent alcohol per volume) to meet requirements.

What Is Whiskey?

Whiskey is a spirit distilled from a fermented mix of grains including barley, corn, rye, or wheat. Unlike bourbon which is American-made, whiskey is produced all over the world, most notably in Scotland, Ireland, Japan, and Canada. Whiskey can be aged or unaged but is often better when aged in wooden barrels, which darkens its color and improves the flavor. ABV marks differ depending on the style of whiskey, so it is best to check the bottle to know what you are drinking! 

Main Differences 

The main differences between bourbon and whiskey are the grains used and where the spirit is made. Some other differences include:

  • Bourbon is American-made and must contain at least 51% corn
  • Bourbon must be aged in charred oak barrels
  • Whiskey can be made anywhere in the world
  • Whiskey is made from various grains 

Taste

Bourbon is aged in new, charred oak barrels that give it notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. Some other ways the taste is often described include baking species, black pepper, cocoa, and fruity. Bourbon tends to be the smoother option, with a softer taste that makes it a great entry-level sipper. Whiskey taste depends on the style, but it tends to have a woody or oaky flavor with added notes of spice, fruit, nuts, vanilla, or caramel. 

Now that you know the difference between bourbon and whiskey, we hope that you are better prepared to make your choice when visiting us at Lukas Wine & Spirit Superstore. As a local Lone Tree liquor store, we have everything you need to succeed! Visit us today. 

Unless you are a whiskey enthusiast, you may not know exactly why most whiskies sit in barrels before being sold. After all, what big of a difference could it make for a whiskey to stay in a barrel instead of being bottled right up? Well, it makes all the difference in the world, as barrels are what often make whiskey, whiskey. Your local Lone Tree experts at Lukas Wine & Spirit Superstore are here to teach you why the whiskey barrel matters, and how it helps make the liquor you love! 

Aging

One of the main reasons whiskey sits in barrels for years is because the aging process provides its wonderful taste. The longer a whiskey sits inside a barrel, the more likely it is to taste great. As the barrel of whiskey ages, the wood allows vapor to pass outside the barrel while integrating oxygen into the aging process. Also, the wood barrels are often charred before use, which leaves a charcoal coating that acts as a filter, removing flavors that are not good on the palette.

Flavor

Wood barrels, which are often toasted and charred, give whiskey many of its well-known flavors. Alcohol content within whiskey acts as a solvent, which breaks down the compounds found in the wood. As this process occurs, the whiskey draws out naturally-occurring vanillins (oils), which alter the flavor profile of the liquor. This is what provides whiskey with its delicious oaky and smoky flavor notes. 

Color

Fun fact, all of a whiskey’s color comes from sitting inside a wooden barrel. As whiskey ages for years on end, it grows into a rich and dark color, which is one of the most notable aspects of this type of liquor. Seasonal changes affect the way whiskey interacts with the barrel, as changing temperatures and pressure moves the whisky in and out of the wood. The more of this that occurs, the darker a whiskey is likely to turn out. 

Factors that Affect the Barrel

There are many factors that affect the way in which a barrel will interact with whiskey, which include

  • The type of wood 
  • The barrel size
  • Toasting and charring 
  • Number of previous uses
  • Storage
  • Weather and temperature

Now that you know a bit more about whiskey, it’s time to give various types a try to find the best option for you! At Lukas Wine & Spirit Superstore, we have all of the whiskies you need for any occasion, whether you are looking for bourbon, Scotch, Japanese whiskey, Irish whiskey, or anything else. Visit us today! 

The Art of Aging
row of barrels aging alcohol

Date

At Lukas Liquors, we understand the importance of aging when it comes to wine and spirits. The aging process can significantly enhance the beverage’s flavor, aroma, and complexity, resulting in a more enjoyable drinking experience. Explore our store today, and keep reading as we take a closer look at the art of aging and explore the aging process of popular wine varietals and spirits you can find at our store.

red wine being poured into wine glass

Red Wine

Red wine is one of the most widely-recognized beverages that benefit from aging. The more structured and tannic the wine, the better it ages over time. In general, full-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah have a higher alcohol content, lower acidity, and higher tannin levels, allowing them to age for extended periods. Tannins will combine with the alcohol to create a smoother and more complex tannin structure. During the aging process, the wine slowly matures as it’s stored at the appropriate temperature and humidity levels, resulting in softer tannins and more complex flavors.

a flight of scotches

Scotch

Scotch is one of the most recognizable spirits that benefit from aging. Scotch is a malt whiskey that is aged in oak barrels to give it the color, aroma, and distinctive flavor we all know and love. The wood of the barrel imparts its flavor on the spirit, providing notes of vanilla, caramel, and smoke. Scotch can be aged for extended periods, with some expressions requiring 12, 18, or even 25 years in the barrel. The aging process also helps to evaporate the spirit, increasing its concentration, and resulting in more vibrant flavors.

three shots of tequila

Tequila

Tequila is an agave-based spirit that can also benefit from aging. Aged Tequila is also known as Anejo tequila, and the aging process usually ranges from 1 to 3 years in oak barrels. During aging, the tequila absorbs the wood’s flavors and gains a smooth character. The flavor becomes more complex, as oak notes, spice flavors, and smokiness from the barrel start to present themselves.

three glasses of rum

Rum

Rum is another spirit that can be aged for extended periods, with some expressions maturing for up to twenty years in the barrel. The aging process plays an important role in developing the characteristics of the drink, like its flavor, aroma, and color. Aged rum is smoother, creamier on the mouth, and has a sweeter flavor than white rum. The longer it ages, the more complex the flavors become. Rums that are aged in a new barrel have different characteristics from those aged in used barrels.

At Lukas Liquors in Lone Tree, CO, we take pride in offering a wide selection of high-quality spirits and fine wines to suit every taste and preference. The aging process is a crucial element in creating our beverages, and it takes an incredible amount of patience, expertise, and skill to perfect. Whether you prefer a robust and complex Cabernet Sauvignon or a smooth, smoky Scotch, we have the right drink for you. Take your time, savor the flavors, and experience the art of aging found in our wine varietals and spirits.

Shop Wine | Shop Spirits

More
articles

Are you 21 or older? We sell alcohol-based products on this website, but we can’t advertise or sell to minors. Please verify your age to view the content, or click "Exit" to leave.