This classic American whiskey based on corn mash originated in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Straight bourbon is made from a mash that is 51–79 percent corn. It ages in oak barrels for two to four years. Easy-to-find brands include Knob Creek, Jim Beam, and Maker’s Mark.
Distilled exclusively in Canada, this smooth-flavor version contains a blend of rye, corn, wheat, and barley. Look for Crown Royal as a big name brand. Traditionally, Scotch and Canadian whisky are spelled without an e. But some American versions use that spelling as an homage to their Scottish roots or to indicate qualities similar to Scotch.
No surprise this malted barley whisky can be distilled only in Scotland. The distinct smoky flavor comes from the malted barley, which is dried over peat fires. Johnny Walker is a common brand.
Irish whiskey, such as Tullamore Dew, is so named because it is distilled only in Ireland.
Another American whiskey, this variety uses at least 51 percent rye in the mash but typically also contains wheat and barley. Rye whiskey is both smooth and rich with just a hint of spiciness. Look for brands like George Dickel.
Whiskey is a distilled alcohol made from fermented grains, such as corn, barley, or rye. Here are the different categories within the broader name of whiskey.