Are Whisky and Bourbon the same? | What are the differences between?
Is whisky/whiskey the same as bourbon? It's a common question and here's a good rule of thumb:
All Bourbon is Whisky, but not all Whisky is Bourbon.
Whisky is defined by each country differently, but essential a Whisky is a distilled spirit made from grain and usually aged in a barrel. In New Zealand, it has to be made from grain and aged for a minimum of 2 years to be called New Zealand Whisky.
Bourbon can only be made in America. Period. Bourbon has to be made in America using at least 51% corn, and the rest of the grain is usually barley, rye, or wheat. It must not be distilled at over 80%abv, and must not be stored(or barelled) at over 62.5%abv. It must be aged in new American oak for barrels, but there is no time definition. It can literally go into the barrel and come out 1 minute later and it will be Bourbon.
So yes, Bourbon is Whisky - it's a type or classification of Whisky, made only in America. It can be made anywhere in America as well, not just Kentucky.
What about Bourbons from overseas?
Like us, there are importers around the world that have Bourbon shipped from the USA to their country for bottling. Bourbon doesn't have to be bottled in the USA, it only has to be made in the USA.
Here at Herrick Creek Distillery, we decided we'd import a barrel of wheated Bourbon (Corn, Wheat, & Barley) from the USA to New Zealand and that we'd take it out of its New American Oak barrel, and transfer it to a used French Oak barrel, which had previously held Marlborough, NZ, Pinot Noir wine.
Bourbon finishes are still quite uncommon, and we wanted something that was special and out there, and wanted to mix it with something New Zealand. We call it our Explorer Series Bourbon, since we didn't make it, and had to go exploring it. It's bottled in honour of all the explorers who spent their life searching and monitoring the Moose population down in Fiordland National Park.
If you're after a New Zealand Bourbon, there is no such thing, but our Explorer Series Bourbon is the closest thing to it. American Made, New Zealand Finished.