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Corn-based whiskeys have a strong sweetness and occasionally a popcorn-like aroma and flavor. Typically represented by bourbon, the sweetness is the main characteristic of pure bourbon, and the flavor far exceeds the spiciness from the rye component. Since bourbon can only be matured in new oak barrels, the longer the barrel aging of the spirit, the stronger the sweetness and depth of character from the barrels will be.
Canadian whisky is a blend of whiskies with different ingredients and flavors, and then aged in different barrels. In these whiskies, the oak brings a weaker influence and the corn flavors seem sweeter and softer, as well as aromas of maple syrup, butterscotch and hard candy.
If wheat is used in bourbon instead of rye, it will produce a completely different effect. The spicy dryness that rye carries will disappear completely, and the whiskey will have a more vegetal aromatic side, with all the spice of the body bell coming from the oak barrels. The bourbon will have a more pronounced sweetness and a touch of dryness from the wheat in the finish.
The rye in whiskey equals spice. Think clove, sweet pepper, cumin and cardamom, along with the acidity that pushes sharp red fruit summits to the forefront. Some whiskies with high rye content are dry on the palate, some more astringent and firm. Others have a rye bread-like texture. Straight rye whiskeys contain at least 51% rye in the mash, and spiciness and power are common characteristics of rye whiskeys.