Can you tell the difference between rye whisky and bourbon whisky? Well I can but according to this report most people cannot. This does not surprise me in the least.
Everyone knows an alcohol snob — someone who claims that they can make a perfect cocktail, that the only wine worth drinking is expensive, or that they can tell easily tell apart two very similar brands of liquor. A new study from Drexel University, however, suggests the average person can’t tell the difference between two types of whiskey: rye and bourbon.
Dr. Jacob Lahne, a food scientist and assistant professor in the center for hospitality and sport management, found Americans were more likely to sort alcohols by brand rather than type of whiskey when given a blind taste test. Legally, the only difference between rye and bourbon is their mash bill, or the materials each one requires for fermentation. Rye is made with — you guessed it — a majority of rye, while bourbon is fermented with a mash that is mostly corn. Apart from this difference, the stylistic and legal requirements for the two alcohols are identical. Something as little as a two percent change in mash bill could change bourbon to a rye, or vice versa.