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The Difference between Scotch, Rye and Whiskey

Although scotch, rye and whiskey are terms often considered similar to the point of being the same, the fact is that each of these three spirits possess unique qualities that help them stand apart from each other. Indeed, the best way to understand those qualities is to think of scotch, rye and whiskey as three close friends, each with a distinct personality.

First up is Scotch, who hails from bonnie Scotland. Scotch is a robust character who really stands out in a crowd, exuding the toasty scent and flavour of a peat fire burning in a highland hearth. Depending on the Scotch you meet, and there are many, the whole peat thing can be eye-poppingly strong or really soft and subtle. When you first meet Scotch, he might be single malt, which is a bit of an acquired taste. But Scotch is also famous for blending in with other scotches, which many spirit lovers feel is a lot easier to handle. 

There are no less than three Whiskeys you should meet. One is a good ol' Whiskey who hails from the American South and goes by the name of Bourbon. Like a veteran Delta Blues singer, Bourbon has a deep, thick drawl of an accent, lots of character and traces of smoke picked up from camping around charcoal fires. 

The second whiskey is a smooth-talking Irishman — very smooth as the Irish tend to be. Irish whiskey is very refined, bearing no relation to his odorous pal next door in Scotland or American Bourbon. You might be tempted to say all that refinement would make Irish whiskey a tad boring. Not so. Irish whiskey has many fans, all of whom say there's a complex and fascinating character that lies beneath the velvety charm.

Last but not least we come to a whisky from Canada who goes by the name of Rye. Now, Rye (or as he is sometimes known, Canadian) is quite the performer. Born on the rolling fields of the prairies, Rye started off as a solo artist who mixed well with soda or ginger ale. While the solo act still goes on, Rye has earned massive global fame for leading roles in cocktail classics like a Whiskey Sour and the Manhattan.