Drinks & Beverages

Difference Between Whiskey and Rye


Main Difference

Whiskey often spelled as whisky is one of the most famous alcoholic drinks which are consumed across the globe. This beverage is made up with fermenting the grains like corn, barley, rye, and wheat. On the other hand, rye is the member of the wheat family, which is classified as grass. The rye to be distinguished here from whiskey is the rye whiskey. In whiskey, any of the grains like corn, wheat, and barley may be used for fermentation while the rye whiskey specifically uses rye as the basic grain type.

Comparison Chart

Wheat, barley or corn.Rye.
Scotch whiskey, Japanese whiskey, Irish whiskey and Grain whiskey.American Rye Whiskey and Canadian Rye Whiskey.

What is Whiskey?

Whiskey is the distilled alcoholic beverage which is extracted after the fermentation of grains like wheat, corn, barley and rye. There are dozens of varieties and types of the whiskeys which vary from place to place and are mainly depended on the usage of the base grain product used for fermentation. After the whiskey is prepared it is aged in the wooden casks or the barrel, so it gets up to the taste of required perfection. The specific brown colors of the whiskeys have been making it easily recognizable among the alcoholic beverages like vodka, beer, and wine. The taste, strength, and flavor of the whiskeys have more to do with the area of its production as a bit of variation may come on the regional basis. Most primarily the grain product it is made up of counts for the taste and the strength of the product. Few of the most prominent whiskeys named after the region or area of the production are the Scotch whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, Japanese whiskey and the Irish whiskey. At the same time, a famous term grain whiskey is used in this industry; it refers to the whiskeys made from corn, wheat or rye and not from the malted barley. The thing which adds up to the confusion of whiskey lovers is the different spelling used for this product across the globe; in some parts of the world it is written as ‘whiskey’ and in remaining it is ‘whiskey.’ People often think that there is some taste or grain variation in both of them, but it is not, the difference is just of spellings. In countries like Ireland and the United States, it is written ‘whiskey’ while in countries like Scotland and Canada this alcoholic beverage is spelled as ‘whiskey.’


What is Rye?

Rye is the member of the wheat tribe, which is classified as grass. Like all other cereal grains; Rye is also used for various purposes; the most prominent out of them are in preparation of the bread, beer, and flour. Most of the products prepared from this grain have the addition ‘rye’ in front of the name so they can get differentiated. The ‘rye’ here we are differentiating from the whiskey is the rye whiskey, which is one of the famous types of whiskeys. As the name implies, the rye whiskey has its production and extraction from the fermentation of the rye. As mentioned above, the rye is the base grain in the rye whiskey; further, the types of rye whiskey include the American rye whiskey and the Canadian rye whiskey. The American version of the drink has quite more the dominance of the rye as compared to the other one; at least 51% of the entire beverage is extracted from the rye. On the other hand, in Canadian type, rye is not used as the base ingredient but still, gives the scent and feel of the rye. According to the experts, the Canadian rye whiskey is made up of the bourbon style as most of the time it is the blend of the high proof grain whiskey with the lower proof rye grain whiskey.

Whiskey vs. Rye

  • Whiskey is one of the most famous alcohol beverages that are extracted after the fermentation of grains like corn, wheat, and barley. On the other hand, rye is the member of the wheat tribe; it is used as the base grain in many of the alcoholic drinks including the one named ‘ rye whiskey.’
  • Whiskey has types like Scotch whiskey, Japanese whiskey, Irish whiskey and Grain whiskey. Contrary to this rye whiskey has only two types; one is the American rye whiskey, and the other is the Canadian rye whiskey.
  • In whiskey grains like corn, barley, and wheat are used while in rye whiskey specifically the rye is used as the base grain.
Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson