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Bourbon, Rye, and Scotch: Which Whisky Should You Choose?

Bourbon, Rye, and Scotch: Which Whisky Should You Choose?

Not everyone is blessed with a natural palette for whisky. In fact, for most of us, it’s an acquired taste; something that we grow to love. But once you’ve become accustomed to its rich depth and alcoholic heat, you’ll never find a better accompaniment for a night in front of the fire or an evening BBQ. 

If you’re venturing into the world of whisky for the first time, the experience can be pretty overwhelming! Without a connoisseur by your side, picking out a few bottles to try can feel like a challenge. Bourbon, Rye, or Scotch? To help you out, we’ve taken a look at each of the three main varieties of whisky to help you decide which is right for you. 

Scotch Whisky

Scotch is the most popular whisky of the three amongst whisky lovers in the UK, originating locally in Scotland. It’s made from blends of malted barley and is aged in Oak barrels for at least three years before being served. One of the most notable differences between Scotch and other whiskies is its distinctively sharp bite, which leaves your throat with a hearty burn after drinking. It’s a strong flavour and not one for the faint-hearted! If you’re new to whisky, it may be best to leave Scotch for later. 

At UrbanBar, we love a traditionally smoky, woody Scotch, like Arran Machrie Moor’s Single Malt or Kilchoman Machir Bay’s Single Malt. However, you can also find fruitier, lighter Scotch if you’re not in the mood for such a deep flavour.

Bourbon Whisky

Unlike Scotch, Bourbon whisky is made mainly from corn and aged in charred American oak barrels. Native to the USA, it’s an easier whisky to drink, making it a popular choice amongst newbies. Sweeter in taste and with less of a bite, you may enjoy trying a few bottles of Bourbon to ease yourself into the world of whisky. It’s also more flexible than Scotch, working well with mixers or on its own, whereas Scotch is best drunk neat or on the rocks.

We recommend giving Michter’s No*1 Bourbon a go, which guarantees an easy yet high-quality entry into whisky. Fruity and sweet, it’s a small-batch whisky well-known for its premium taste thanks to the high standards of the distillery. 

Rye Whisky

As the name gives away, Rye whisky is made primarily from Rye - shocker! Like Bourbon, it’s native to America and is one of the oldest and once most popular alcoholic drinks in the country. There’s a long history behind Rye which is worth looking into if you buy a bottle. 

Flavour-wise, Rye is still smoother and more palatable than Scotch but with a spicier edge than Bourbon. Try Whistle Pig’s 10-Year-Old Rye, aged in American oak barrels and with a sweet, warm flavour.

Discover More Whisky at UrbanBar

At UrbanBar, we stock a wide range of Rye, Bourbon, and Scotch whisky to suit every palette. Take a look at our full range to learn more about each one and uncover the ideal whisky drink for the year ahead.


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