I thought it would be useful to settle this debate by simply taking the words straight out of the horse's mouth. See tasting notes are widely available all over the web. What I've done here is compile a comparison for you. One is a list or words used to describe the various tastes and smells of scotch. The other list is the same.. except for bourbon.
I think you'll see a distinct difference.
First the Scotch:
And now...The Bourbon
big red chewing gum
Now what did we learn? If you notice... the bourbon list is actually made up of things that people want to eat. The scotch list? mmm... acetone... mmmm... creosote...
I know I know... you're going to say I cherry picked. But I didn't. I picked tasting notes from scotches that all received rave reviews and high ratings... and the bourbon list comes from everything from Makers Mark to plain ol' Evan Williams... to Rare Breed and Bookers. So in reality I threw in the junk bourbon and only used the "good" scotches.
Listen folks... just because you can recognize a flavor in something... doesn't mean its a good flavor. Well... I don't know... maybe you're the type that likes to lick the inside of your chimney... or paint your tongue with nail polish remover. Me? Hell I'd rather have vanilla caramel toasted pancake batter.