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Jack Daniel's is not Bourbon.

It seems a little pompous on my part to say so, yes, but Jack Daniel's is not bourbon. We should protest calling it so based on the fact that it is a Tennessee whiskey.

They are two different entities, Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey.

As a bartender I cringe when I see Jack Daniel's listed under a Bourbon menu. Again, I know it sounds a little odd to be annoyed by that, but you wouldn't call Bushmills a scotch, would you?

I prefer George Dickel No. 12 (Tennessee) anyway...

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  1. I agree with you 100%. Part of what CH is all about is learning new things, have discussions, correct misinformation, etc. Oh, and have fun talking about the best subjects in the world. Food and Beverages.

    39 Replies
    1. re: JMF

      I did a little research and found out that JD is made like any Bourbon, BUT it is then charcoal filtered. This is called the Lincoln County Process, and is the only difference between a Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey and a Bourbon. Also basically all Bourbons are sour mash.

      1. re: JMF

        Evan Williams, definitely a Kentucky Bourbon, is charcoal-filtered. I've got a bottle of it right here and the lable says in big letters: "Every Ounce Charcoal Filtered"

        Bourbon is named after Bourbon County, Kentucky, and can be made anywhere in the US, but Kentucky is the only state allowed to put its name on the bottle. Jack Daniels is not a bourbon, in that it is not subject to the same regulations as bourbon, such as low level of distilling proof.

        1. re: mojoeater

          Tennessee Whiskey is filtered BEFORE it is barreled/aged --- Bourbon is filtered AFTER barreling/aging ....Except for for a few barrel proof, unfiltered expressions that some distilleries market......This is the distinction that prevents Tenn. whiskey from being a bourbon...It's a violation of bourbon regulations --

          1. re: Uncle Bob

            The filtration process does not legally prevent Tennessee whiskey from being labeled as bourbon. There is no regulation barring bourbon from being filtered before aging--it's simply not part of the usual process. The companies that produce Tennessee whiskey have added this step and consider their product to be distinct from bourbon. But the law does not.


              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                There is a lot of chill filtering going on after barreling of bourbon and many other spirits

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  According to the North American Free Trade Agreement, annex 313, Tennessee Whiskey IS legally "straight bourbon whiskey". It is not, however, "Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey".

                  Regardless of how you feel about JD, it is legally a bourbon.

                  1. re: coolhandgatsby

                    No, in order to be called bourbon the mash must consist of between 51% and 74% corn. I believe Jack Daniels in 50% corn.

                    The only geographical limitation is that it is made in the USA. It does not have to be Kentucky.

                    1. re: jpc8015

                      There is no maximum percentage of corn in the regulations about bourbon. There are several 100% corn bourbons on the market. Can you provide a source for that information?

                      1. re: JMF

                        It appears that we are both right...this is from Subpart C 5.22(1)(ii) of the CFR:

                        (ii) “Corn whisky” is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 80 percent corn grain, and if stored in oak containers stored at not more than 125° proof in used or uncharred new oak containers and not subjected in any manner to treatment with charred wood; and also includes mixtures of such whisky.

                        So the way I read it, if a whiskey is distilled from equal to or more than 80% corn it is considered a "corn whisky". But, you are right, there is no maximum amount of corn allowed for bourbon. So I believe that this means that a corn whiskey can also be a bourbon if it is done properly.

                        1. re: jpc8015

                          I looked a little closer and I stand corrected. Corn whiskey is aged in new oak without any char whereas bourbon is always stored in charred oak. I guess that is the distinction. JMF is right, I guess there is no upp limit on the amount of corn.

                          I still stand by the fact that Jack Daniels is not bourbon though.

                          1. re: jpc8015

                            Can you cite a reference that says Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 (Black Label) Tennessee Whiskey is produced from only 50 percent corn?

                            1. re: zin1953

                              I can't find anything. I might have pulled it out of my ass.

                              1. re: jpc8015

                                According to the new definition of Tennessee Whiskey signed into law yesterday, Tennessee Whiskey also must be at least 51% corn. In fact, the definition is that exact same as the federal definition for bourbon except that it must be made in Tennessee and filtered through sugar maple charcoal.


                                1. re: sku

                                  Remember that law is only one state, Tennessee, not federal law. So it only has weight in the actual state of Tennessee.

                                  1. re: JMF

                                    That's right, but it effectively applies to nearly every company making Tennessee Whiskey since they are almost all located in Tennessee.

                            2. re: jpc8015

                              The only reason JD could possibly not be a bourbon is because they don't say so on the label.

                              Almost all whiskey is charcoal filtered after aging, before bottling. The only difference is for JD and Dickel they filter before putting in the barrel, as well as after. It is bourbon because the filtering isn't adding anything. Only removing harsher fusel oils and congeners.

                                1. re: JMF

                                  I just want to add that Tennessee Whiskey is now officially a sub-set of Bourbon due to the Tennessee State ruling. According to the State Ruling, it is made exactly as bourbon is, with the addition it has to be made in Tennessee, and it has to have that one additional filtering (the Lincoln County process), before aging. But, one brand, Prichard's, can call itself a Tennessee Whiskey, without doing the pre-barrell filtering.

                            3. re: JMF

                              There is both a lowest and highest limit for a bourbon.

                              Bourbon must be made with a mash (grain mixture) containing at least 51% corn …
                              It must be aged for some period of time in new charred oak barrels …
                              It must be distilled at no higher than 160 proof, and be barreled at no higher than 125 proof …
                              And finally, it must be bottled at 80 proof or higher (but less than 160 proof) …


                              1. re: MichaelRowland

                                Incorrect, theres no upper limit. If it's over 80% and sold unaged or aged in used barrels it can be sold as corn whiskey, but if it's aged in new barrels it's bourbon. See http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2009...

                                1. re: oknazevad

                                  It always helps to quote real sources, rather than blogs . . .

                                  CODE of FEDERAL REGULATIONS

                                  Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms


                                  Subpart C—Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits

                                  §5.22 The standards of identity.

                                  Sub-¶(b) Class 2; whisky. “Whisky” is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash of grain produced at less than 190° proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to whisky, stored in oak containers (except that corn whisky need not be so stored), and bottled at not less than 80° proof, and also includes mixtures of such distillates for which no specific standards of identity are prescribed.

                                  (1)(i) “Bourbon whisky”, “rye whisky”, “wheat whisky”, “malt whisky”, or “rye malt whisky” is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored at not more than 125° proof in charred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of the same type.

                                  ----> 27CFR, Part 5, Sub C, §5.22(b)(1)(i)

                                  1. re: zin1953

                                    Why bother? How many 1st and only time posters on this thread...

                                    1. re: ac106

                                      I don't bother for the one-time poster. I "bother" for the rest of the people who read this and may be misled . . .

                                      1. re: zin1953

                                        I may be a 1st timer but so was everyone else at some point. Great source and glad you were able to validate the upper proof limits.

                                        1. re: MichaelRowland

                                          That's right, there's an upper proof limit for distillation proof (160 proof/80 % abv) and barrel entry proof (125 proof/62.5 % abv). But no upper limit on the percentage of corn in the mashbill (which is what the earlier conversation was about and what I thought you were referring to earlier today). That's a common misconception, as people misinterpret the minimum 80% corn mashbill needed for corn whiskey as putting a ceiling on bourbon, when the big difference is that corn whiskey is sold unaged or aged in uncharred or used barrels (new charred barrels would make it bourbon, even if the mashbill was over 80% corn).

                                          1. re: oknazevad

                                            Okay, looks like we are in full agreement. TY for the info.

                                  2. re: oknazevad

                                    Just going from the source I posted. Seems to be accurate from the info zin1953 gave.

                    2. re: mojoeater

                      You better go back to your liquor store. I've seen bottles that said 'Texas bourbon' & 'Virginia bourbon'.

                      1. re: ja9554

                        You do realize you're responding to a comment made seven years ago, don't you?

                    3. re: JMF

                      No lime stone water not a bourbon. Not made in bourbon county Kentucky not a bourbon. Filtered not a bourbon. Jack is filtered threw charcoal, made with city water, not made in Bourbon County Kentucky. Jack is not in anyway a Bourbon!

                      1. re: bird223

                        I recommend you read the last dozen posts.

                        1. re: bird223

                          Far be it for me to "step" on Southern pride, but . . .

                          / / / / /
                          CFR 27 (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), Part 5 (Labeling and Advertising of Distilled Spirits), Section 22 (Standards of Identity) states, in the relevant part:

                          (b) Class 2; whisky. “Whisky” is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash of grain produced at less than 190° proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to whisky, stored in oak containers (except that corn whisky need not be so stored), and bottled at not less than 80° proof, and also includes mixtures of such distillates for which no specific standards of identity are prescribed.

                          (1)(i) “Bourbon whisky”, “rye whisky”, “wheat whisky”, “malt whisky”, or “rye malt whisky” is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored at not more than 125° proof in charred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of the same type.
                          / / / / /

                          See http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/...

                          Nothing in there about having to originate in Bourbon County. Is that where it started? Well, in the ORIGINAL Bourbon County, VIRGINIA -- yes. Is that how the spirit got its name? Sure. MUST it come from there? No.

                          a) Loreto, KY -- where Maker's Mark is produced -- is in Marion County.
                          b) Lawrenceburg, KY -- where Four Roses is distilled - is in Anderson County.
                          c) Bardstown, KY -- where who knows how many Bourbon distillers are located -- is in Nelson County.
                          d) Frankfort, KY -- where Buffalo Trace and related brands are distilled -- is in Franklin County.

                          1. re: zin1953

                            Not many are aware of the Catholic History of the US, but Bardstown and Bourbon are tied directly to it. The French King in exile, Louis Philippe d'Orléans of the Bourbon dynasty was a supporter of a second diocese in the US other than Baltimore. Bardstown became the second Catholic Diocese in the US. The church sent Trappist (Cistercian) Monks from France in the early 1800's to establish faith in the region. The trappist monks became permanently established around 150 years ago (http://www.monks.org/). Those leaving Pennsylvania after the Whiskey Rebellion of the Washington administration moved into Kentucky and Tennessee and assimilated with these communities. The proto-Cathedral in Bardstown has many items donated by the French Monarch and as he was considered important, the drink of choice was named for the dynasty, Bourbon, the last name of the French Kings. Louisville is another example of the French influence in Kentucky. The Trappist Monastery in Bardstown, called Gethsemni Abbey is the largest consumer of Bourbon Whiskey in the State of Kentucky today. They use it to produce Bourbon fudge, Bourbon cakes, etc which can be purchased on line at http://www.gethsemanifarms.org/fudge....

                            1. re: creamsherry

                              Interestingly, to spite all the information, links and references presented here in opposition to bird223's position, creamsherry pronounces bird223, 100% correct. That settles it!

                              1. re: Bacchus101

                                Actually, creamsherry said "100% INcorrect," but who cares? As near as I can tell, August 27, 2011 was the last time bird223 posted on this site, so it's rather a moot point, don't you think?

                                1. re: Bacchus101

                                  bird223 is NOT 100% incorrect. Jack Daniels is indeed not make in Kentucky. See -- I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy. ;)

                              2. re: bird223

                                I suggest you take a trip to Lynchburg Tn. That "City water" you refer to is a spring that was selected by Jack himself when he set up the distillery.

                                Pay particular attention to the part that says "Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is made with cool, pure, iron-free cave spring water from right here in the Hollow."


                          2. Thank you, I agree. Here are some other common whisky-related mistakes that are pet peeves of mine.

                            Contrary to popular belief, Bourbon does not have to come from Kentucky (this discussion is going on right now on another thread).

                            There is very little (and sometimes no) rye in Canadian "Rye" whisky.

                            Spell it whisky for Japanese, Scotch and Canadian; whiskey for American and Irish.

                            Johnnie Walker Blue is not the be all and end all of anything (okay, this is opinion, but still).

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: sku

                              There is no rye grain in Canadian Whisky. Canadian Rye Whisky however is typically 100% Canadian rye grain spirit.

                              Crown Royal and Canadian Club are not rye based anymore. Haven't been for years.

                              There are several very good rye-based Canadian Whiskeys, with Alberta Premium, Alberta Springs, and Centennial by Highwood coming to mind.

                              The lesson is: Read Your Labels!

                              1. re: Scary Bill

                                Thanks for the correction Bill, I was referring more to the tendency to refer to any Canadian Whisky as Rye, regardless of it's content.

                                1. re: sku

                                  And don't the distillers just love that. Most Canadians, and I can say this because I am one, don't have a clue that they're not drinking rye. Branding has a much stronger influence than product content, since most people never look beyond the name on th label.

                                  1. re: Scary Bill

                                    Canadian Club has a website, and right on there they say there's "rye, rye malt, barley and corn" in their most popular whisky. And if you look carefully they used to spell it whiskey, too.

                                    It is the rye that gives Canadian whiskies more earthy tones than American ones. American whiskey used to be mostly rye whiskies, but prohibition closed the legit distilleries. That left the hillbilly stills and the bootlegging Canadians. Bourbon had momentum when prohibition was lifted, so American rye never really made a comeback. Canada never stopped making the stuff, so whiskey with rye became more Canadian than American in association.

                                    So the myth that there's no rye in Canadian whiskey is a myth.

                                    1. re: blair_houghton

                                      "So the myth that there's no rye in Canadian whiskey is a myth."

                                      Well, yes and no. As some of the other posters have mentioned, Canadian whiskies do not have to disclose how much rye content is used in their mash. There may be some rye in CC, but it's certainly not "rye-based." It may be less than 1% rye. Indeed, most commercial Canadians consist of over half grain neutral spirits, which is why they are so light in flavor.

                                      American "Straight Rye" whisky, on the other hand, must, by Federal law, consist of at least 51% rye, or else it cannot be labeled and sold as such.

                                      1. re: craigasaurus

                                        And I have heard say that there is no similar regulation in Canada - is this really true? There are some Canadian whiskies that are 100% rye that don't bother to call themselves Rye on the label (Alberta Premium), others that call themselves Rye but I have no way of knowing how much rye is actually in them (Centennial Rye), and others that don't label as such but are still referred to as "rye" in bars (Crown Royal, Wisers, etc.). I recently blew a native Canadian's mind when I told him that what he knows as "rye" has almost no rye in it. Seriously - jaw dropping, mind-blown, stunned goodness.

                                        If there are no labeling regulations, is there any other reliable way to find out the specific grain content of Canadian whiskies? I have made it a personal crusade ever since I moved up here and the provincial monopoly has played hell on my bourbon acquisition. I like rye a lot, but I'm really not crazy about whiskey-flavored vodka.

                                        American rye, on the other hand, is most definitely getting the comeback it may never have had post-Prohibition. A friend of mine who has been working in Iowa for the last two months was just bemoaning the fact that the sudden demand for Templeton has set back their next bottling such that it's impossible to find in her area, and she was planning on restocking before heading home to St. Louis in a week. It seems most people are blaming the sudden rye rush on the current trend for reviving truly classic cocktails - many of which call for rye and just aren't the same made with bourbon.

                                  2. re: sku

                                    ok thanx bill...I should have read a little more before replying just above.

                                2. re: sku

                                  Blue Label=too smooth...I want what I'm drinking to at least taste like whisky.

                                  1. re: sku

                                    I am hearing you on everything, but am not on the rye part. I believe they are required to have a minimum percentage to have that label. I might be wrong here, but since I have read some weird theories on this thread I had to throw that out there. lol. jack is not only legally a bourbon but also a straight bourbon whiskey. cheers

                                    1. re: creamsherry

                                      Canada does not seem to regulate how much rye has to be in whiskey to label it "rye."

                                      Canadians refer to Crown Royal, Canadian Club, Wiser's, etc. generically as "rye." At this point, most Canadian whiskies have very little rye left in them, as sku says. There are some Canadian ryes out there, but they really have no labeling requirements that help you find out the rye content without some research. Alberta Premium and Alberta Springs are true ryes, but don't have the word anywhere on their label. Centennial Rye is a blend, but has enough rye that you can actually taste it, unlike the major labels.

                                      ETA: And now I realize that I have basically just repeated myself from two years ago.

                                  2. Who has been calling JD "bourbon"? Certainly not a mistake I can imagine any of the folks I know making.

                                    P.S., agree on the Dickel. Good stuff, particularly for the money.

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: Woodside Al

                                      In my five years bartending the majority of people refer to Jack as bourbon. Sometimes, I'd correct them if I weren't busy.

                                      1. re: Woodside Al

                                        I hear it sometimes when I order a bourbon & coke, and the bartender includes JD in the list of what he has available. *eyeroll*. Needless to say if I wanted a Jack & coke that's what I'd be ordering! It is definitely not the same thing.

                                        1. re: sockii

                                          Perhaps the bartender figured that since you ordered a bourbon & coke, you couldn't tell the difference anyway.

                                            1. re: craigasaurus

                                              *eyeroll* Yes, I am well aware it is a much-mocked drink in these parts. I happen to like it and can very well taste the difference between one made with Jack and one made with bourbon, thank you very much. Is there a need to turn this discussion into low-brow/high-brow drinking contest?

                                              1. re: sockii

                                                if it is, i'm gonna pull out the bottle of germain-robin XO i bought at Total Wine yesterday and win

                                                jack & coke, like schlitz & football, has its place in the world of comfort and propriety

                                                of course, at the moment, i'm watching zimmern's show and quaffing a sam smith's apple cider, so it's not comfort-zone sunday

                                                1. re: sockii

                                                  "I happen to like it and can very well taste the difference between one made with Jack and one made with bourbon"

                                                  Could you please describe the difference?


                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                    I'm not good at putting words to taste sensations. Pardon me if I don't have the perfect foodie vernacular.

                                                    I just know what I like and what I don't. I like the taste of bourbon. I don't like the taste of Jack. I drink bourbon straight when I have the good stuff (typically at home as I hate paying bar prices for premium spirits); in a bar when I just want to relax with a pleasant, easy drink I like the taste of bourbon & coke. And if I get a Jack & coke instead it never tastes as good to me nor the same as even a cheap well bourbon & coke.

                                                    1. re: sockii

                                                      Question: Could your preference for bourbon over jack in a bourbon & coke be psychological? Have you compared them blind?


                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                        By the time you are blind, do you think you can tell the difference?

                                                    2. re: Chinon00

                                                      Jack has an almost astringent, when compared to something like Maker's Mark, taste. It has a charcoal smokey peppery sort of bite to it on top of the whiskey. Something like Maker's or better bourbons are smoother and missing these additional flavors. Jack and coke balance each other out. Something like Maker's and coke just seems a bit flat, you taste the coke and a slight hint of the bourbon. The sweet in the coke combined with the jack has a more complex set of flavors. People can turn up their nose at jack all they want as being too common or low brow, but it does work well in certain drinks where other better whiskeys or bourbons just wouldn't.

                                                      1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                        The sharpness or lack thereof is due to the mash bill, not Tennessee style vs bourbon style. Maker's is a wheat-flavored bourbon and so has a very smooth, sweet flavor, but that's not typical of many other bourbons. Knob Creek, Bulleit, Old Grand Dad, and other rye-flavored bourbons have a lot more flavor/punchiness and will stand out quite a bit more in the mix.

                                                        1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                          Jack was better before they diluted it down to 40%. Still nothing so wrong, just a basic American whiskey.

                                              2. Now, this thread has turned into something interesting. In the first place, everyone seems to agree that the distinction (i.e., between bourbon and Tennessee whiskey) is meaningful, although there seems to be some uncertainty, even now, as to precisely what qualities define the difference. Tennessee whiskey surely tastes different from bourbon; but, then again (as at least 2 posts here acknowledge), Dickel does not taste the same as JD; which raises the obvious, but nevetheless as yet unanswered question: do bourbons (and, for that matter, Tennessee whiskeys) taste more like each other than they do the whiskeys in the other category? If so, then what is the nature of the distinction that defines the category (according to taste, I mean, not according to method of production)? If not, then what--apart from marketing, of course--is the purpose of the distinction?

                                                Clearly, the only responsible way of approaching this problem is for all truly interested parties to arrange whiskey tastings to compare, contrast, and report back here.

                                                13 Replies
                                                1. re: olfashiond

                                                  I agree. The OP states that "you wouldn't call Bushmills a scotch, would you?
                                                  " No, but Irish and Scotch are clearly distinguished by the use of peat in Scotch. The one Irish which I've had which utilizes peat is Tyrconnell. I enjoy it but I wouldn't confuse it with Scotch. On the other hand I have enjoyed both Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon in say a Manhattan.
                                                  So on a whiskey list it probably would be technically more accurate to separate Bourbon from Tennessee. But a shared "Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey" listing would also be acceptable to me.

                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                    Not to put too fine a point on it, but a Manhattan should be made with Rye anyway. IMO, there's more of a breadth of difference among various bourbons than between the Tennessee Sours and many of the Bourbons I've tasted.

                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                      Irish is triple distilled. that is the difference(or one difference) and what makes irish whiskey unique. the triple distill is theirs

                                                      1. re: creamsherry

                                                        Uh, no. There is nothing in the legal requirements/regulations/definitions of the Irish Whiskey Act of 1980 that REQUIRES it to be "triple distilled." Bushmill's puts that on its label as a marketing point, but that's it.

                                                        The act itself is found here: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1980/e...

                                                        While it IS true that Bushmill's, and some other distilleries also, distill three times, that is NOT a requirement.

                                                        1. re: zin1953

                                                          I never said it was a legal requirement, but it is a known fact they do it to differentiate between scotch, canadian whisky, etc.

                                                          1. re: creamsherry

                                                            Not *every* distillery does it, btw, and Irish whiskey is differentiated from Scotch, Canadian, Bourbon, etc. by the mash bill.

                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                              very good point plus thanx Zin. you got 30something yrs expeience and the bottom line all four are different.

                                                    2. re: olfashiond

                                                      tennessee whiskeys are filtered through sugar maple charcoal. bourbons are not. i believe that originally, bourbons had to come from bourbon county, in the same sense that a french "syrah" would be labeled cote rote, or a pinot noir labeled morgon, and the fact that the county of bourbon more than likely took its name from a ruling family of france seem to suggest that there may have been an influence toward regionallity. however, at this point all a whiskey needs to be called a bourbon is a majority of corn mash with a little rye thrown in (minus the sugar maple filtering)...plus extra flavor, not just from the barrel...supposedly elijah craig {spelling?} discovered the process of charring barrels when his (dis)still(ery) burned to the ground, leaving the salvagable barrels charred, and in his effort to save money he re-used them...hence charred oak barrels, the final ingredient for bourbon...(tho im not sure how much credence to give to the elija craig story)
                                                      still...i love bourbon.

                                                      1. re: the capers

                                                        Actually, there are a number of requirements for a whiskey to be called a bourbon (From Wikipedia):

                                                        Bourbon is an American form of whiskey made from (pursuant to U.S. law) at least 51% corn, or maize — typically about 70% — with the remainder being wheat and/or rye, and malted barley. It is distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof, and aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years. The two years maturation process is not a legal requirement for a whiskey to be called "bourbon," but it is a legal requirement for "straight bourbon." However, in practice, most bourbon whiskeys are aged for at least four years.

                                                        Bourbon must be put into the barrels at no more than 125 U.S. proof. Generally, it is then adjusted to 80–100 proof and bottled. Some jurisdictions, mostly in the United States, do not allow alcoholic beverages with over 40% alcohol content to be sold. However, the recent trend among distillers has been to return to higher proofs, and even “cask strength” bottlings.

                                                        Bourbon can legally be made anywhere in the United States where it is legal to distill spirits. Legitimate production is not restricted to Kentucky, although currently all but a few brands are made there, and the drink is associated strongly with that state...The name is taken from Bourbon County, Kentucky.

                                                        1. re: mojoeater

                                                          TITLE 27--ALCOHOL, TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND FIREARMS

                                                          CHAPTER I--ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO TAX AND TRADE BUREAU, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

                                                          PART 5--LABELING AND ADVERTISING OF DISTILLED SPIRITS

                                                          Subpart C--Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits

                                                          Sec. 5.22 The standards of identity.

                                                          (1)(i) ``Bourbon whisky'', ``rye whisky'', ``wheat whisky'', ``malt
                                                          whisky'', or ``rye malt whisky'' is whisky produced at not exceeding
                                                          160 deg. proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn,
                                                          rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored
                                                          at not more than 125 deg. proof in charred new oak containers; and also
                                                          includes mixtures of such whiskies of the same type.
                                                          (ii) ``Corn whisky'' is whisky produced at not exceeding 160 deg.
                                                          proof from a fermented mash of not less than 80 percent corn grain, and
                                                          if stored in oak containers stored at not more than 125 deg. proof in
                                                          used or uncharred new oak containers and not subjected in any manner to
                                                          treatment with charred wood; and also includes mixtures of such whisky.
                                                          (iii) Whiskies conforming to the standards prescribed in paragraphs
                                                          (b)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section, which have been stored in the type
                                                          of oak containers prescribed, for a period of 2 years or more shall be
                                                          further designated as ``straight''; for example, ``straight bourbon
                                                          whisky'', ``straight corn whisky'', and whisky conforming to the
                                                          standards prescribed in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, except that
                                                          it was produced from a fermented mash of less than 51 percent of any one
                                                          type of grain, and stored for a period of 2 years or more in charred new
                                                          oak containers shall be designated merely as ``straight whisky''. No
                                                          other whiskies may be designated ``straight''. ``Straight whisky''
                                                          includes mixtures of straight whiskies of the same type produced in the
                                                          same State.

                                                          (2) ``Whisky distilled from bourbon (rye, wheat, malt, or rye malt)
                                                          mash'' is whisky produced in the United States at not exceeding 160 deg.
                                                          proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye,
                                                          wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored in
                                                          used oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of the
                                                          same type. Whisky conforming to the standard of identity for corn whisky
                                                          must be designated corn whisky.

                                                          (3) ``Light whisky'' is whisky produced in the United States at more
                                                          than 160 deg. proof, on or after January 26, 1968, and stored in used or
                                                          uncharred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such
                                                          whiskies. If ``light whisky'' is mixed with less than 20 percent of straight whisky on a proof gallon basis, the mixture shall be designated ``blended light
                                                          whisky'' (light whisky--a blend).

                                                          (4) ``Blended whisky'' (whisky--a blend) is a mixture which contains
                                                          straight whisky or a blend of straight whiskies at not less than 20
                                                          percent on a proof gallon basis, excluding alcohol derived from added
                                                          harmless coloring, flavoring or blending materials, and, separately, or
                                                          in combination, whisky or neutral spirits. A blended whisky containing
                                                          not less than 51 percent on a proof gallon basis of one of the types of
                                                          straight whisky shall be further designated by that specific type of
                                                          straight whisky; for example, ``blended rye whisky'' (rye whisky--a

                                                          (5)(i) ``A blend of straight whiskies'' (blended straight whiskies)
                                                          is a mixture of straight whiskies which does not conform to the standard
                                                          of identify for ``straight whisky.'' Products so designated may contain
                                                          harmless coloring, flavoring, or blending materials as set forth in 27
                                                          CFR 5.23(a).
                                                          (ii) ``A blend of straight whiskies'' (blended straight whiskies)
                                                          consisting entirely of one of the types of straight whisky, and not
                                                          conforming to the standard for straight whisky, shall be further
                                                          designated by that specific type of straight whisky; for example, ``a
                                                          blend of straight rye whiskies'' (blended straight rye whiskies). ``A
                                                          blend of straight whiskies'' consisting entirely of one of the types of
                                                          straight whisky shall include straight whisky of the same type which was
                                                          produced in the same State or by the same proprietor within the same
                                                          State, provided that such whisky contains harmless coloring, flavoring,
                                                          or blending materials as stated in 27 CFR 5.23(a).

                                                        2. re: the capers

                                                          *OFF SUBJECT!*

                                                          < or a pinot noir labeled morgon, >???????? Morgon, last time I looked, was a cru Beaujolais, made from Gamay grapes.

                                                          1. re: the capers

                                                            >>> in the same sense that a french "syrah" would be labeled cote rote, or a pinot noir labeled morgon <<<

                                                            ONLY if that Syrah was indeed grown within the appellation of Côte-Rôtie. Gorwn anywhere else and it would *never* be called that. Now would it have been called that prior to the creation of the regulations for appellation Côte-Rôtie contrôlée (which, BTW, can include up to 10 percent Viognier); Hermitage was a much more popular wine back then.

                                                            As for Morgon, as Chef June has quite rightly pointed out, being one of the 11 Crus de Beaujolais, it is produced from the grape variety Gamay noir au jus blanc, and not from Pinot Noir.

                                                            1. re: the capers

                                                              I'm going to need a pair of Pince-nez and a pointer here. Cote Rotie is made from several different grapes, Syrah among them. Morgon is made from Gamay grapes not Pinot Noir. As the poster above said, CH is about learning. there is no requirement that Bourbon whiskey needs any rye to be called bourbon. there are minimum requirements of corn, but no other specs on the mash. the whiskey needs to be distilled to a maximum alcohol concentration (80% I recall,) and aged a minimum of 2 years. It is then be diluted and bottled at anywhere from 35% to 62% alcohol. this is from memory so subject to correction(especially the percentages) but basically the req's.

                                                          2. It's pretty common in my experience (over many years and U.S. states) to see Jack Daniel's freely substituted without comment when you order bourbon, particularly in places where the bartenders' skills don't extend much beyond pouring beer or highballs (e.g., bars catering to young drinkers, airplanes), and/or the selection of liquors is limited (e.g., wedding and conference receptions).

                                                            The vast majority of American bartenders have no idea what rye whiskey is; many who think they know, don't, reaching for Canadian whisky. Most Candians are blends with little or no rye grain content; a bare handful actually meet the US definition of straight rye, but they are little seen here.

                                                            Rye is still a mystery at many high-end bars that are reasonably serious about cocktail craft, though the situation has improved a bit in the last year or so as rye makers have invested more in marketing and tried to take its image upmarket with fancier, longer-aged bottlings.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                              Amazing to think now that rye whiskey once WAS whiskey for several generations of Americans. It was certainly what my father or grandfather meant when they asked for "whiskey." Now it's seemingly become very obscure (although very slowly regaining recogniton) and almost no bartender seems to know how to make, say, a proper Manhattan, but instead reaches for bourbon, Canadian, or, weirdly, Jack Daniel's.

                                                              1. re: Woodside Al

                                                                Yep, rye was the king of whiskeys in America for generations: the Father of Our Country distilled it, and it was the original base for all the classic whiskey cocktails. Without Prohibition, bourbon might have been relegated to a historical footnote, a forgotten bit of moonshine only referred to in old cowboy movies as "corn liquor", cheap firewater for thirsty roughnecks. I'm glad to see rye making a slow comeback: it's a great bit of authentic Americana, like jazz and peanut butter.

                                                                (For the record: I like Scotch and Irish, love bourbon, only got to know real rye a couple of years ago, but have become a minor evangelist for it.)

                                                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                >>> The vast majority of American bartenders have no idea what rye whiskey is; many who think they know, don't, reaching for Canadian whisky. <<<

                                                                Actually most I've seen reach for Old Overholt.

                                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                                  I like Old Overholt a lot, just picked up a bottle recently ($11 for a 750ml!), think it's a tremendous value, admire it for being a Prohibition survivor. Speaking only for Greater Boston, though, there's not one bar in fifty around here that stocks a single bottle of real, American straight rye whiskey. The situation is improving but still pretty dismal.

                                                                  I was at a high-end restaurant bar the other night (very trendy, of-the-moment Italian place), where the barmen know their stuff reasonably well, though I wouldn't put them in the top flight of serious craft bartenders in Boston. I ordered rye, the bartender scratched his head for a moment, then rummaged around to find their sole bottle, Jim Beam rye (which ain't terrible, but not my favorite). The next night, I was at the bar at the old Ritz-Carlton (which just recently became a Taj): ordered rye, got Canadian. The working-man's bars around here have no idea about it, tending to carry Jack, a couple of bourbons (Turkey, Beam, maybe Old Grand-Dad), an Irish or two, and a few Scotches. (Of course, folks around here still think Southern Comfort is based on whiskey, too.)

                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                    At what liquor store(s) in Boston can you buy Old Overholt? I've glanced around after hearing good things, but haven't seen it.

                                                                    1. re: wontonton

                                                                      I found mine at the Martignetti's on Soldier Field Road in Brighton. Given their broad selection of whiskies, I'm betting you could find it at Gordon's on Main St in Waltham, too.

                                                              3. My father managed the ad campaigns for JD for more than two decades. Every one painstakingly referred to it as a Tennessee whiskey. It drives him nuts to hear it called bourbon.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: The Dive

                                                                  My Dad is from Tullahoma, where Dickel is made, just down the road from Lynchburg where JD is made. He travelled in Europe for work and used to serve Dickel in snifters to French friends and tell them it was American cognac.

                                                                  1. re: lupaglupa

                                                                    That's how good Dickel is...

                                                                    It's just so tasty.

                                                                    I heard that they almost went out of business a couple of years ago. Is that true?

                                                                    1. re: therealbigtasty

                                                                      I don't think so - I think that Dickel is owned by one of the big liquor conglomerates <sigh> like everything else.

                                                                      1. re: lupaglupa

                                                                        Dickel is owned by Diageo, which owns or distributes many famous alcohol brands (Guinness, Smirnoff, Cuervo, J&B, Tanqueray, Johnnie Walker, Bushmill's, several single malt scotches, etc.) and more or less descends from the Guinness Co. Apparently George Dickel over-produced for some time and the distillery was shut down in the '90s, remaining closed while the back stock was sold off until 2003.

                                                                        1. re: Woodside Al

                                                                          That's what happened. I was curious because I have some family in Tullahoma and he'd said Dickel was going out of business, but they just had too much made...hm.

                                                                          If people would just wise up and drink Dickel instead of Jack...then the world would be a sensible place!

                                                                2. I grant you --absolutely -- that Jack Daniel's, in any of its incarnations, is NOT Bourbon.

                                                                  With that as a given, what's the difference? Not in geography, but in taste.

                                                                  25 Replies
                                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                                    I can DEFINITELY taste the difference. Bourbon is sweeter to me. Jack is a little more oaky/smoky.

                                                                    1. re: mojoeater

                                                                      BUT . . . the question is, is this because one is a Bourbon and the other isn't, OR is it a natural difference between two similar whiskies?

                                                                      Lagavulin is more peaty than Bowmore, for example, yet both are examples of single malt Scotch whisky from Islay. The difference is one of production techniques, not of geography. Martell Cognac is sweeter than Hine Cognac, for example, yet both are "Fine Champagne" Cognacs. Again, the difference is one of "house style," not of geography.

                                                                      I agree that Jack Daniel's tastes different than, say, Wild Turkey. But Maker's Mark tastes different than Wild Turkey, too, and both taste difference than Old Weller, Old Forrester or Rip Van Winkle -- Bourbons all. And, for that matter, Jack tastes different than George Dickel, yet both are examples of Tennessee whiskey.

                                                                      Is the difference between Jack Daniel's and Wild Turkey any greater because one is a Bourbon and one isn't?

                                                                      I suspect the answer is "no." I suspect this is a distinction without a difference.

                                                                      That said, were I doing the list for a restaurant, I would not place Jack in the "Bourbon" category either.

                                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                                        Tennessee whiskey afficianados will tell you that the charcoal filtering (that which separates TN whiskey from bourbon) imparts a smoky taste as well as a certain syrupy quality which makes it taste distinctly different than bourbon. As I'm not a big Tennessee drinker, I can't vouch for this distinction.

                                                                        Of course, as you point out, different beverages of the same type can taste different (you didn't even mention the great variety of wine tastes even among those from the same varietals). Sometimes that has to do with ingredients, productions techniques or even geography.

                                                                        The definitions (bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey) etc., are primarilly statutory and regulate what can be on the label, based primarily on tradition, influence of various interest groups and all of the other non-taste based elements that go into legislation. They don't tell you what something tastes like, except to the extent you can make broad generalizations.

                                                                        1. re: sku

                                                                          OK. Charcoal filtering is NOT what separates the two. Many bourbons are charcoal filtered (look at every Evan Williams lable if you disagree). Jack Daniels is charcoal MELLOWED (their name for it), which means slowly dripped through maple sugar charcoal. But there are other qualities that separate it from bourbon. Look at the above posts for the exact criteria for a whiskey to be called Bourbon. It involves ingredients, temperature, proof, and more.

                                                                          1. re: sku

                                                                            I sent off an email to the Jack Daniel's Distillery to ask if they were using a mash that was 51% corn. Not sure if I'll get an answer, but one can hope.

                                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                                              I can't vouch for its authority, but one online source (not the Distillery) claims that JD uses an 80% corn mash and is aged (like bourbons) in charred barrels of new oak.

                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                Yeah, that's what I thought . . . in other words, if they were in Bardstown instead of Lynchburg, it would be labeled Bourbon.

                                                                                That was precisely my point when I wrote above, "I suspect this is a distinction without a difference. That said, were I doing the list for a restaurant, I would not place Jack in the "Bourbon" category either."

                                                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                                                  The JD website itself names charcoal filtering as the thing that distinguishes it from bourbon:

                                                                                  Is Jack Daniel's a bourbon?

                                                                                  Jack Daniel's is not a Bourbon - it's a TENNESSEE WHISKEY. Jack Daniel's is dripped slowly - drop-by-drop - through ten feet of firmly packed charcoal (made from hard sugar maple) before going into new charred oak barrels for aging. This special process gives Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey its rare smoothness. It's this extra step - charcoal mellowing - which makes Jack Daniel's a Tennessee Whiskey.


                                                                                  1. re: sku

                                                                                    Yes, we all understand the distinction (but thank you for putting the designation in capital letters—that really helps). The question is whether the distinction matters: whether, as zin1953 said much earlier, the distinction is one that makes no difference. My suspicion is that it makes no difference when it comes to flavor: that is, that there is no distinctive difference between a Tennessee whiskey and a bourbon—that whatever difference there exists, it is indistinguishable from the kind of difference you will find between any two bourbons, or between JD and Dickel. If you can’t characterize the difference, then it is, essentially, a distinction that makes no difference.

                                                                                    Certainly you can insist that the distinction in production methods is one that matters, but, if you do, then what are you really arguing for? Would any true connoisseur claim to prefer cognac not because of its distinctive flavor, but because of where it is made? (Yes, I know that in the case of cognac, where it is made has been established to be a significant factor in how it tastes; but that has not been established with respect to Tennessee whiskey.) If you prefer to distinguish between spirits based on point of origin rather than on flavor, then what is your rationale?

                                                                                    I can see that this truly matters to a lot of people, so I don’t presume to say that the point-of-origin distinction is unimportant; but I don’t understand the thinking, and I’d like to. But please don’t anyone post another description of how the stuff is made. I really don’t care.

                                                                                    1. re: olfashiond

                                                                                      FYI, I pasted the question and answer (including all caps portion) directly from the website. It wasn't my intent to make any sort of point by capitalizing. Sorry if it offended.

                                                                                      And it's not that you like something because of the way it is produced, it's that looking at production methods can help explain flavor profiles, not just between Tn whiskey and bourbon, but between two bourbons or between two different preparations of a soup.

                                                                                      Frankly, as I stated earlier, I tend to agree with Zin on this point, but I don't drink enough Tenn. whiskey to know how similar or different it is to various bourbons.

                                                                                      1. re: olfashiond

                                                                                        Because a Tennessee whiskey is from Tennessee, and is therefore not the same thing as a bourbon, the same way "cognac" that is not from Cognac really isn't a cognac, or a "champagne" from somewhere other than Champagne isn't really a champagne. For instance, a lot of well made mezcal tastes pretty much exactly like tequila, and is made from the same stuff, but it isn't a tequila, and cannot legally be called one, because it's not from Jalisco. Would you argue that there is no meaningful distinction between tequila and mezcal or champagne and "champagne" as long as they taste pretty much the same? I'm certain that the producers would vehemently disagree with you, and so I suspect would a lot of consumers.

                                                                                        Would you argue that if someone made a whisky in, say, Ireland or Japan that tasted like scotch that the naming of scotch whiskey was largely meaningless? I've had very good Suntory whiskys from Japan that tasted pretty much the same as really good blended scotches (and was made with precisely that intention), but I would never think to call it scotch. It's not from Scotland, and therefore not part of the same tradition that scotch whiskys come from.

                                                                                        Having said all that though, I think there is a meaningful taste difference between Tennessee whiskey with its sugar-maple charcoal filtering and that of most bourbons (which are, as pointed out below, not filterd in the same way even when charcoal is used). Some bourbons, however, seem to be made purposely a bit on the sweet side these days, perhaps to sell more towards the market of the very popular JD?

                                                                                      2. re: sku


                                                                                        1) I agree that Jack Daniel's is a Tennessee Whiskey, and not a Bourbon. (As I've said above, were I printing a restaurant or bar's list of spirits, I would not list it under "Bourbon.")

                                                                                        2) At least some Bourbons, however, are also charcoal filtered. (See Evan Williams.)

                                                                                        3) The Jack Daniel's website calls it "charcoal mellowing," but either way, it's "filtering."

                                                                                        4) This is only relevant, vis-a-vis this discussion, IF all Tennessee Whiskey *must* be charcoal mellowed/filtered as a LEGAL REQUIREMENT of what makes a Tennessee Whiskey a Tennessee Whiskey, as distinguished from a Bourbon. This is not relevant if "charcoal mellowing" is a solely production technique of Jack Daniel's, as oppsoed to George Dickel, for instance. In that regard, "charcoal mellowing" would be similar difference between one whiskey and another to one distiller using, say, 75% corn and 25% rye in the mash, while another uses a ration of 75-25 corn to wheat.

                                                                                        1. re: zin1953

                                                                                          Zin, to clarify, Evan Williams is filtered through activated charcoal, as are many bourbons. Activated charcoal is the carbon stuff used in brita filters and is done to remove impurities.

                                                                                          Jack Daniels (and Dickel as well) is filtered through sugar-maple charcoal (known as the Lincoln County process), which is more like the charcoal you cook on and is used to impart flavor. This is the process that people say adds the smoky and syrupy flavors to it and that, I believe, prevents it from legally being called bourbon.

                                                                                          Unlike "bourbon," Tennessee Whiskey is not a legal term, but a term based in tradition that includes the Lincoln County Process. Thus, I don't believe there is a legal requirement for anything to be called Tennessee Whiskey, but there is a tradition of how it is made that is supposed to be related to flavor. Whether that bears out in tasting is another question.

                                                                                          1. re: sku

                                                                                            Of course it's a little distressing that no one at the distillery has replied to my email.

                                                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                                                              Fortuitously, this month's Whisky Magazine has a feature article on Jack Daniel's. In it, Dominic Roskrow tastes new make spirit (freshly distilled, unaged spirit) befoe and after the charcoal filtering process. He reports that after the filtering, the spirit is "softer and frutier and nowhere near as chewy."

                                                                                              1. re: sku

                                                                                                I don't doubt it, but I'm not sure it's relevant to the discussion at ahnd -- though VERY relevant to the production of Jack Daniel's.

                                                                                                This entire thread boils down to whether or not there is a specific and meaningful distinction between *Tennessee Whiskey* (as exemplified by Jack Daniel's) and other whiskies known collectively as *Bourbon*. By "specific and meaningful," I am not referring to production techniques between one brand of whiskey and another, but between whiskey TYPES. Is "Tennessee Whiskey" (Jack Daniel's, George Dickel) distinct and different from "Bourbon" as a category, in the same way that Scotch whisky is different from Irish whisky?

                                                                                                If the answer is no, then -- once again -- while I would certainly separate it from "Bourbons" on a restaurant list of spirits, I think it's a distinction without much difference.

                                                                                                If the answer is yes, then not only should it be listed separately, but no bartender should ever use it in place of Bourbon in a recipe unless it's a specific call by the customer.

                                                                                            2. re: zin1953

                                                                                              I stumbled upon this discussion while doing research. my question is:
                                                                                              legally and technically, does JD conform to the requirements that define bourbon. if so, it is a bourbon whether the owners wish to call it such or not. just as tequila producers will not call their product mezcal (even though it is) nor do cognac producers call their product brandy (even though it is).

                                                                                              1. re: nitpicker

                                                                                                My understanding is that Jack Daniel does not meet the definition of bourbon because of the sugar-maple charcoal filtering (the Lincoln County process), which is considered a flavor enahncer. The BATF, which regulates liquor production, has recognized the status of Tennessee Whiskey as a distinct cateogry, though it is not set out in the regulations.

                                                                                                I think Zin's point, which is valid, is regardless of the legal definition, does it really make sense to treat JD separately from bourbon since they are so similar in profile and taste.

                                                                                                1. re: sku

                                                                                                  Here's an interesting discussion of the issue from straightbourbon.com:

                                                                                                  1. re: sku

                                                                                                    Well, my real point(s) are (I think) as follows:

                                                                                                    1) It's true that Jack Daniels is not Bourbon, and . . .
                                                                                                    2) If I were writing a restaurant's or bar's list of drinks and spirits, I *would* put Jack Daniel's (and George Dickel) under "Tennessee Whiskey" and NOT under Bourbon, although . . .
                                                                                                    3) Precisely because they ARE so close in flavor profile, I'd make sure they were on the same page, or on the facing page, of my list, but . . .
                                                                                                    4) I wouldn't "get my knickers in a twist" were they included on *someone's* list as "Bourbon" -- however . . .
                                                                                                    5) I *would* get upset if a bartender used Jack Daniel's to make a Manhattan or other drink that called for Bourbon UNLESS it was specifically called by the customer.

                                                                                                    Clear as mud, right? ;^)

                                                                                                    1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                      And I just wish more bars carried DIckel!

                                                                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                        I have read most of this discussion . To answer this for my self
                                                                                                        I think this is right on the 5 points .
                                                                                                        I personally love makers mark ,like evan williams kinda dickle and j d not at all I to do not think they should be listed as a bourbon and would be offended if were interchanged

                                                                                                        1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                          I'd be much more disturbed if a bartender used any bourbon or Tennessee whiskey in my Manhattan( instead of the Rye it is supposed to be made with) than if i asked for bourbon and was offerred JD or GD. the flavor profiles of Tennessee whiskey isn't any more different from bourbons than the difference among bourbons, IMHO

                                                                                        2. re: zin1953

                                                                                          I think zin1953 has hit on the very point of this whole discussion. You can argue all day about location and how it affects taste, but the reality of it with whiskeys is that at the foundation they are based on the same principals. The major differences in taste come from different distilling methods and the "other flavors" used that make up a small percentage of the overall mix. Now I am 100% a bourbon lover. I can easily taste the difference between JD and JB in a cocktail (coke included) or strait. I can even tell you tasting blind which one is Makers Mark, Jim Beam, or Wild Turkey. But the tastes between even "straight bourbons" is HUGE!!! As an example, every year I put together a big ski trip which is attended by about 65 of my friends from all over the world. Each year we do a "bourbon tasting". Everyone pitches in ahead of time and I start collecting bourbons, one bottle for each guy kicking in. Last year we had 10 bottles. Here are the rankings that each was given using the same score cards used at all spirits competitions. i.e. awarding points (which can total 100 in a perfect score) in the following categories: Appearance, Aroma, Flavor, Body, and Overall Quality.

                                                                                          1) Elijah Craig 18 Year
                                                                                          2) Noah's Mill 15 Year
                                                                                          3) Rowan's Creek 12 Year
                                                                                          4) Michters 10 Year
                                                                                          5) Evan Williams Single Barrel 11 Year
                                                                                          6) Booker's 8 Year
                                                                                          7) Eagle Rare 17 Year
                                                                                          8) Baker's 7 Year
                                                                                          9) Kentucky Vintage Bourbon 8 Year
                                                                                          10) Pure Kentucky 10 Year

                                                                                          Now these are all "Straight Bourbons" and taste difference between them is as varied and unique as comparing orange juice to apple juice. The point of all of this is simple: Yes Jack Daniel's is not a bourbon. But what makes it 'not a bourbon' isn't the fact that its from Tennessee rather than Kentucky. So I agree with zin1953, no the difference in taste isn't because one is a bourbon and one isn't. Its just a different distilling method using different ingredients. Whiskeys both, and each unique unto itself because of whats IN the bottle, not whats ON the bottle.

                                                                                    2. I always thought Jack Daniels was considered "sour mash" -not whisky

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Kitchen Queen

                                                                                        Sour mash is like sour dough -- it's still bread, but uses an "old" starter. So, too, sour mash: it's still whiskey . . . but it's not "whisky."

                                                                                      2. I saw a show on distilleries either on Discovery or History channel, and they said that taste-wise what makes Kentucky bourbon a bourbon is their water - mineral, limestone rich.

                                                                                        Another curiosity I learnt from the show was that the new charred oak barrels they can't use afterwards, American distillers export to Scottish distillers. All those expensive single malts come from American used barrels!

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: welle


                                                                                          Bourbon whiskey is required BY LAW to use new, charred white oak barrels in which to age their spirit.

                                                                                          Scotch distilleries do not use new oak. The major source of oak is actually the Sherry producers in Spain; many producers utilize barrels in which formerly Oloroso Sherry was aged. Bourbon barrels are also in widespread use. So, too, are barrels from other sources -- Porto for instance, but that is a minor source. Sherry and Bourbon are the main suppliers of oak for Scotch whisky.

                                                                                          1. re: zin1953

                                                                                            Not being an expert in any way, but just thought I'd chime in. I watched a story on Discovery and they seemed to talk alot about how the source of the water in KY and TN played a role in the taste (being that the water in both states is limestone filtered). Any thoughts to this?

                                                                                              1. re: superadboy

                                                                                                Hard water free of iron. Iron it seems, ruins the taste of the spirit.

                                                                                                1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                  Is Evan Williams a Bourbon or Tenn Whiskey? The liquor store by my house has an ad for the 1.75 ltr for $19.99. I currently have Jim Beam for bourbon and ginger ale and Woodford Reserve for sipping but my Jim Beam is almost gone and I 'm looking for something with more taste/better quality around the same price or a little more expensive. How is the Evan Williams?
                                                                                                  IS the Evan

                                                                                                  1. re: imhungryletseat

                                                                                                    Evan Williams is bourbon. They make 8 brands, including two that for some reason not explained on their website are not available in the U.S.

                                                                                                    They have a very interesting FAQ about Bourbon, though:


                                                                                                    I haven't had it, so I can't help with the question of taste, here. But I'm intrigued, so I will eventually try it. I'm not sure I'd buy a 1.75L bottle of anything as my introduction to it, even if I got rave reviews from the interwebs.

                                                                                                    1. re: blair_houghton

                                                                                                      I was raised on Evan Williams - it's what Dad always keeps around as his basic. For a cheap bourbon, I personally prefer Evan Black to Beam White, and Evan is usually the cheaper of the two, I believe. But EW is what I grew up sniffing the lingering aroma of in my dad's empty shotglasses as I did the dishes, so I may not be the most objective source. It's hard to sort out sentiment from preference sometimes. :)

                                                                                          2. For cooking, can I generally substitute Jack Daniels for recipes (desserts, sauces & mop sauces) that call for bourbon?

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: sku

                                                                                                Thank you, as I'm clueless when it comes to booze.

                                                                                            1. You're correct. JD is not Bourbon. This link is the best site I've found in explaining why not. http://www.straightbourbon.com/faq.ht...

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Melodays

                                                                                                This is a stupid point. There's no single authority on what is or isn't a "bourbon." According to federal law & regs, TN whiskey IS a bourbon. But the feds don't produce or distribute the hooch, so who really cares? Marketing depts and whiskey snobs might want to distinguish between bourbon & TN whiskey, but restaurants & bars are not going to make a separate category on their menus just for JD & GD. Lincoln County Process is just bourbon-plus or American whiskey-plus. Anyone who struts around correcting people about this is just being a poseur.

                                                                                              2. You are 100 percent right! It is not a Bourbon, it's not made in Kentucky for one ( which is the first rule of labeling a bourbon a bourbon). 2 Their is not as much limestone in the water in Tennessee to begin with and therefore that does not give Jack that much of a chance right there of being made with limestone water. 3 No and I will repeat this NO bourbon is ever filtered through charcoal, as is Mr Jack Daniels. If you use Jack in a bourbon competition your not a bourbon connoisseur at all. The problem is the miss information about Mash. Just because you see mash on both products does not mean their the same. Mash is a way of distilling and is not just used in bourbon or whiskey. Also take note even if a bourbon shares the same name i.e. Wild Turkey, but it does not have the same proof on the bottle it's not the same bourbon. Each proof is made with different ingredients, and therefore a totally different bourbon on to it's self. 101 proof is not the same ingredients as 80 proof. In closing NO BOURBON IS FILTERED THROUGH CHARCOAL!!! And it must be made with limestone water.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: bird223

                                                                                                  This is probably just a vicious circle, but a lot of misconceptions in bird223's post have been addressed above.

                                                                                                  No, bourbon does not have to be made in Kentucky. Yes, different proofs of a bourbon use the same ingredients. All bourbon, unless they're barrel proof, are reduced in strength by adding water. And...oh never mind. Just read some of the posts above.

                                                                                                  1. re: Frolic

                                                                                                    And every type of Jack Daniels starts out exactly the same. From the same mash, stills everything until it hits the barrel.

                                                                                                2. Bourbon requirements:
                                                                                                  -Mashbill with >=51% corn w/ barley rye and wheat making up the remainder
                                                                                                  -ABV requirements fro when it is distilled (<=80%), put in the barrel (<=62.5%,) and bottled (>=40)
                                                                                                  -Aged in new charred oak
                                                                                                  -NO COLORINGS OR FLAVORINGS ADDED
                                                                                                  -Made in the USA

                                                                                                  It seems that when looking at the legal definition of bourbon JD counts unless one considers the charcoal filtering to be adding flavor. Its the addition of extra flavors that classify Tennessee whiskey as not bourbon. Sugar maple charcoal (as in Tennessee whiskey) adds flavor whereas the charcoal used in filtering (some) bourbons is purely a filtering agent. In no other way is Tennessee whiskey (or specifically JD) legally different from bourbon.

                                                                                                  Is there an error anywhere in my logic?

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: swobohe

                                                                                                    Thank you for stating the requirements so clearly, swobhe.

                                                                                                    I think if for some reason JD wanted to put "bourbon" on the label, the feds would let them. The filtering-as-flavor is a stretch to my mind but maybe you are right.

                                                                                                    Regardless, if a bartender throws attitude about JD being referred to as bourbon then he or she is just being snooty. The main difference is marketing ("Tennessee Sippin' Whisky" is undefined). Even if the sugar maple filtering counts as flavor being added JD is still a so very close to bourbon that the lumping them in the same category hardly a big deal in most contexts (i.e. referring to a Jack & Coke as a bourbon & Coke). If you're having a bourbon tasting then, yes, specifcs are warranted but most of the time referring to JD as a bourbon is just ignoring the marketing.

                                                                                                  2. Okay folks, let's try to put this to bed once again.

                                                                                                    1. Jack Daniel's is not a Bourbon, does not want to be a Bourbon, could not legally put Bourbon on the label and won't as they are proud to be differentiated from Bourbon...that is why the same parent company (Brown-Foreman) also makes Bourbon under a different label--Woodford Reserve.

                                                                                                    2. "Charcoal Filtering" and Charcoal Mellowing are TOTALLY differnt processes. To begin with, "charcoal filtering" is only called that because it takes the "charcoal" out of ready to bottle Bourbon that has been aged in the required new charred oak barrels--it is not passed through charcoal. The entire process happens in minutes and is simply so you don't have black floaty bits of charred tree in your Manhattan. The Lincoln County Process, Charcoal Mellowing, happens before the whiskey touches a barrell and if you ever go to Lynchburg, the folks at Jack Daniel's will proudly explain how it takes hours and hours for their whiskey to leach through the the ten plus feet of maple charcoal they use for the mellowing process. It is exactly the fact that this happens prior to aging and clearly effects the flavor (as noted above, Bourbon law allows no additives, even if that additive might be darn near the same thing you get from a new charred oak barrel) that disqualifies JD from ever being able to be called Bourbon.

                                                                                                    3. Calibrate yourself for the reality that your fellow consumers are idiots. This sad but true fact regularly dictates how estabsihments list/talk/pour their spirits. There is a practical reality that it is easier to just consider JD a Bourbon than to have a separate part of your spirits list for Tennessee Whiskey (even the most ardent lovers of the stuff aren't going to have more than 2 or 3--even in Tennessee!) or explain to some one why you grab it out of the well/rail when some one wants Bourbon on the rocks (If you want a food analogy, think about how many places have "Kobe" burgers...). Lazy? Absolutely. But when you are trying to explain to some one how JD is technically not a Bourbon (look how complicated this post is on a board dedicated to people interested in spirits) and there are 5 other people waiting for a drink, you prioritize--same with space and ease of use on your cocktail menu. The other sad truth is that while speciality cocktails are making a huge comeback, the era of shots and brightly colored "Martini's" are still way to close in the rearview mirror and that means the collective understanding of ingredients and their nuances isn't at a point where Bourbon vs. Tennesee Sour Mash Whiskey matters. If you go to bar that claims to specialize in mixology and they aren't making this distinction, leave immediately. But for the most part, if you want a Bourbon and don't want Jack, ask for brand by name and don't get butt-hurt when some one tries to give you a Old Fashioned with JD in it...it was actually supposed to be made with a Rye, as opposed to Bourbon, in the first place. And with even a sliver of talent on the part of the bartender, it will still taste good.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: ellaystingray

                                                                                                      Good post Ellay, but you make a couple of points that I would take issue with.

                                                                                                      First, the issue of whether Jack Daniels could legally call itself Bourbon is not clear cut. If you look at the regs, JD does meet the definition. Whether the Lincoln County Process constitutes an additive is not something which has been decided by the TTB, and therefore, we don't know the answer. However, it doesn't matter because, as you correctly state, JD has no desire to call itself bourbon and therefore, the issue will never come up.

                                                                                                      Second, charcoal filtering (aka chill filtering) of bourbon is not called that because it takes the charcoal out. It is called that because it uses activated charcoal, like a Brita. The primary purpose is not to filter out barrel bits, which is done on an earlier mesh filtering, but to filter out fats and oils which cause cloudiness when the whiskey is diluted with water. That being said, your general point is correct. It is an entirely different process than the Lincoln County Process.

                                                                                                      1. re: sku


                                                                                                        You make a great point about the activacted charcoal. It it my understanding that not everyone uses activated charcoal and I conflated that with the process of just removing the charcoal with filtration. I believe the cold stabilization process can be accomplished in a few different ways.

                                                                                                        Now, to the first point, I think two things make it clear it cannot be a Bourbon. If they were to Charcoal Mellow through American White Oak, this would be a more tricky argument but they use Sugar Maple which isn't approved for Bourbon--hence making it an additive.

                                                                                                        Moreover, they literally use the word "impart" to describe this process. Their own literature suggests the use of Suger Maple changes the flavor.

                                                                                                        Nonetheless, nice job on catching my mistake.


                                                                                                      2. re: ellaystingray

                                                                                                        you've had a yr to contemplate...want to try again? JD is bourbon and actually could be labeled straight bourbon whisky but they choose not to do this. legally and technically - not in the sense where it is a stretch - JD is definately straight bourbon whisky

                                                                                                      3. Simply it comes from the United States. The country provides the boundaries, not Kentucky. Jack Daniel’s coming from Tennessee is not bourbon simply based on the fact that it comes from Tennessee. It is not bourbon because it goes through an extra process of charcoal filtration and it is made in Tennessee. Tennessee whiskey is made in Tennessee, bourbon is not. Bourbon has nothing to do with the water, nor does it have to do with the state. Plainly bourbon must be made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn, must be Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels and must be made (anywhere) in the U.S. From: http://thebourbonintelligencer.blogsp...

                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: BourbonIntelligencer

                                                                                                          Sort of. After reading your post a couple of time, I think I know what you intended to say.

                                                                                                          You said, "It i[Jack Daniel's] is not bourbon because it goes through an extra process of charcoal filtration and it is made in Tennessee."
                                                                                                          You meant, "It is not bourbon because it goes through an extra process of charcoal filtration. That it is made in Tennessee does not preclude it from being bourbon."

                                                                                                          You said, "Tennessee whiskey is made in Tennessee, bourbon is not."
                                                                                                          You meant, "Tennessee whiskey is made in Tennessee. Bourbon is made anywhere in the US."

                                                                                                          As I understand it, Tennessee whiskey is treated legally as bourbon, merely noting that it came from Tennessee. Some, but not all, Tennessee whiskey is charcoal filtered. Whether charcoal filtering precludes it from being bourbon has been exhaustively discussed above.

                                                                                                          www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                                                                          1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                            Yes, that's what I meant - thanks for clarifying. Legally Tennessee whiskey is bourbon. I would quote Ralfy Mitchell in that "Tennessee whiskey is first Tennessee whiskey and then its bourbon." Though even John Hansell seems to believe, from what I have read, that Tennessee whiskey is not bourbon because of the charcoal filtration (See American whiskey section: http://www.maltadvocate.com/whisky_re...).

                                                                                                            1. re: BourbonIntelligencer

                                                                                                              I believe the quoted reference incorrectly implies that all Tennessee whiskey is charcoal filtered. Some, including Jack Daniel's is. Some isn't.



                                                                                                              1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                                That's because Prichard's is a bourbon, not a Tennessee whiskey, notwithstanding the fact that it's made in Tennessee.

                                                                                                                1. re: ravchaz

                                                                                                                  It seems they make both, neither one charcoal filtered:

                                                                                                                  And if they wanted, they could call their Bourbon product Tennessee whiskey, since all bourbon is whiskey and this one is made in Tennessee. However not all whiskey is bourbon of course, so not all Tennessee whiskey is bourbon.

                                                                                                                  I have to say, this is a confusing topic. I think I've got it straight now, but the next time I need to know, I'm sure I'll have forgotten!

                                                                                                                  www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                                                                                  1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                                    Prichard's raises a real question of what "Tennessee Whiskey" is. Their product is, from what I understand, bourbon made in Kentucky which they simply bottle at their operation in Tennessee. As you note, it does not use the Lincoln County Process. Given that Tennessee Whiskey is not a defined term in the federal regulations, I'm not surprised that the TTB let it go, but it still seems problematic to me.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sku

                                                                                                                      Actually, Prichard's does distill in Tennessee, and calls their one product "Tennessee Whiskey" making it even more complicated, as it appears they don't use the Lincoln County Process, even with the white dog sold under the name of "Lincoln County Lightning".

                                                                                                                      1. re: oknazevad

                                                                                                                        I think some want to distinguish their product as being different/better from all the bourbon products out there. Pretty sure JD is happy to not call their product bourbon. It also gives some distillers the ability to do things differently.

                                                                                                        2. Last night on "Wealth TV" there was a feature on the entire history of Jack Daniels... it was really interesting.... covered much of the banter on this listing as well as the story of Jack.....

                                                                                                          When: 2011-08-21 at 9:30 PM ET
                                                                                                          Show: Behind the Name
                                                                                                          Episode: Jack Daniel's

                                                                                                          1. Let me see if I can create a logic tree here.

                                                                                                            1. All bourbon is American whiskey

                                                                                                            1.1 Bourbon must be made in the United States.

                                                                                                            2. All Tennessee whiskey is American whiskey

                                                                                                            2.1 Tennessee whiskey is always made in Tennessee, though there doesn't seem to be any law difining what it is. (doubtful anyone in Kentucky wants to make something bottled as Tennessee whiskey)

                                                                                                            3. Not all American whiskey is either bourbon, or Tennessee whiskey. Seagram's 7, Old Overholt, Georgia Moon etc.

                                                                                                            4. Because Tennessee is in the United States, whiskies made there "can" be bourbon but are not necessarily bourbon unless they conform to the precise standards.

                                                                                                            5. The only Federal guidelines defining Tennessee whiskey are in regard to NAFTA, a trade agreement, not a piece of Federal Law, per se. The TTB doesn't have any particular classification for Tennessee whiskey.

                                                                                                            5.1 There also doesn't appear to be any Tennessee state legislation regarding a definition of terms for labeling of Tennessee whiskey.

                                                                                                            6. Traditionally, Tennessee whiskey production involves the Lincoln County Process, but not "always." For sure, it does in volume. See Jack Daniel's.

                                                                                                            SO, this really comes down to whether the Lincoln County Process falls under the permissible practices outlined by the Federal government for labeling a bottle as bourbon. As far as I can tell, this hasn't been decided by Federal law (aside from that weird NAFTA clause) or state law. And I don't think any Tennessee whiskey makers want the fight. They just don't need it.

                                                                                                            Jack Daniel's sell north of twice as many 9L cases as the closest "actual" bourbon competitor (Jim Beam), so their Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey thing is doing just fine, thank you. If they some day decided they wanted to put bourbon on their label, it would open a can of worms they don't want, or need.

                                                                                                            As I've said previously in this thread, I think the use of Sugar Maple in the Lincoln County Process is the downfall of any argument stating Jack Daniel's can be a bourbon. Whether you think it adds or subtracts (some might say that if it subtracts, it is eliminated from being an "additive") it isn't White American Oak. Any wood application other than new charred American White Oak should be considered a disqualifier.

                                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: ellaystingray

                                                                                                              I like it ellaystingray. It's a very good summation of a complicated issue. Just a few things I would quibble with though. When you say Tennessee whiskey is "made" in Tennessee, it's not clear what "made" means. It's been speculated that Prichard's is distilled in Kentucky and simply bottled in Tennessee, but I don't believe they have ever said so definitively.

                                                                                                              As to your final point about the filtering being an "additive" Keep in mind that the TTB does not prohibit additives in bourbon. In fact, the regs specifically allow "harmless coloring, flavoring, or blending materials." You can't call it "straight" bourbon with those additives, but you can call it bourbon if the additives are considered an "essential component" of the spirit (cue more Talmudic style debate on what constitutes an "essential component".) 27 CFR 5.23(a)(2).

                                                                                                              Also Jack Daniels did receive a Treasury letter long ago (in the '40s maybe) which recognized Tennessee Whiskey as a distinct American spirit. Of course, the most important point may be the one you make at the end, that JD has no desire to be called bourbon and certainly the bourbons have no such desire either. After all, Jim Beam prides itself on being the world's best selling bourbon and can't be that if Jack is a bourbon.

                                                                                                              http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2011/0... (discussing cask finishing about which there are similar arguments)

                                                                                                              1. re: sku

                                                                                                                So the uninformed and the uber-informed will say Jack Daniels is bourbon and the slightly informed will say it isn't? This pleases me greatly.

                                                                                                                www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                                                                                1. re: sku

                                                                                                                  Very good points sku.

                                                                                                                  To Tennessee whiskey being made in Tennessee; wouldn't it be interesting if Tennessee whiskey COULD be produced in another state and bottled in Tennessee being labeled Tennessee whiskey? That would suggest there aren't much in the way of "true" legal boundaries. Becuase, if you had any actual law that defined Tennessee whiskey, I'd have to think part of that might say it has to be produced in Tennessee...but your point still stands. I'll stick to more formal verbiage now that I realize I am dealing with pro's.

                                                                                                                  Your point about additives is also technically correct (I must be getting lazy). I was thinking the whole time about KSBW specifically and not just regular old "bourbon." Which makes this even more mind bending. If you can technically age a bourbon for one second (which you can) and add "harmless" coloring or flavoring (how can adding flavor be harmless!?) then the LCP could be even closer to "legal" than I thought. But I'm still sticking to my guns on the type of wood used.

                                                                                                                  BTW, your Talmudic reference almost made me spit up a mouthful of Four Rose's all over the keyboard as I spaztically tried not to laugh too hard.

                                                                                                                  Lastly, I would like to suggest no one posts any more on this topic until some one gets paid. There might not be a better discussion of this anywhere on the interwebs.

                                                                                                                  1. re: sku

                                                                                                                    And here I go being the first to break my own rule of no one posting any more...

                                                                                                                    I read more closely your link to the discussion of barrel ageing and the Cowdry note about how bourbon can't become "unbourbon," interesting. BUT, the LCP process happens before ageing so it wasn't bourbon when it went through the process. This is different than something being added, after the fact, i.e. once it is already bourbon.

                                                                                                                    Moreover, (since I can't let this go) I think we'd all agree that Southern Comfort, Red Stag, Rebel Yell (yikes, I'm showing my age, does that even exist any more?) aren't bourbons. And that got me thinking...what about a basic sniff test. No, I'm not talking about nosing barrel samples. Does it look like bourbon? Does it feel like bourbon? Does it taste like bourbon? Does it smell like bourbon? Well, okay, LCP Tennessee whiskey kind of tastes and smells like bourbon, but it doesn't look or feel like it when it's being made.

                                                                                                                    I've been to Beam, Maker's, Woodford, Wild Turkey, Jack and yes, even Prichards--though they were focused on rum then and hadn't brought out any of their whiskies yet. It looks different when you make bourbon than when you make a whiskey with the Lincoln County Process. This is a long process inserted smack dab in the middle of production. It takes hours and hours. I'd go so far as to say that the reason JD bought a whole different facility for Woodford was in part becuase, the Lynchburg facility wasn't set up to make bourbon--it's set up to make LCP Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey. If you were on a tour and the guide had to explain why the bourbon just went right on by the building where the charcoal filtering happened--to the rickhouses where ageing happens--it would just bring up a spaghetti plate of questions that folded back on themselves.

                                                                                                                    Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey made using the LCP just feels different than bourbon. It might be legal, but it isn't kosher. That was for you sku.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ellaystingray

                                                                                                                      Well put, good points, and I agree with you that THAT should be the final word... until the next one that is.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ellaystingray

                                                                                                                        I've been loving this discussion, by folk much more knowledgeable than I on the nuances of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. Like earlier posters, I agree that LCP is the differentiator and that charcoal mellowing gives Tennessee whiskey a different flavor profile than bourbon generally.

                                                                                                                        Having said that, I wonder why if whiskey made according to a Bourbon County, KY process is called bourbon, why isn't whiskey using a Lincoln County, TN process called "lincoln"? Being an admirer of Ole' Abe myself I'd call it that readily, though it might hurt marketing in the ex-Confederate South.

                                                                                                                        Despite having done the JD tour in Lynchburg a couple of times (and bought the T-shirt, BTW) Dickel is currently my lincoln of choice.

                                                                                                                          1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                            Ha. Nice find. I meant Rebel Yell 101. That was the "double cinnimon" spiced liqueur that was produced/promoted starting in the mid- 90's. I have no idea when they stopped doing it.

                                                                                                                            1. re: ellaystingray

                                                                                                                              Hmmm I missed that one, I did out of curiosity pick up a bottle of this last week for $10 and it's about what you would expect for what you paid. It tastes like a decent mellow bourbon that has been watered down, sort of like a Bourbon version of Old Overholt. I dount I would buy it again when I could get Ancient Age or Early Times for about the same price, both of which I tried a while ago and remember thinking were very good for the price. Or some Dickel cascade hollow (I so want to type "holler") for $2 more.

                                                                                                                              just for fun I tried some Rebel Yell against a mini bottle of Beam white label I bought a while back for some inexplicable reason. The Beam is a little sweeter and slightly more flavorful, but neither one is particularly good. Not really a fair comparison as the Beam white is $16 here, would be more fair to compare it to Ancient ancient age, one I think it would lose.

                                                                                                                              Edit : I saved a little beam and compared these, for the same price AAA makes beam white taste like water, not even close. Sad because how much of the general public has even heard of anything other that jack and jim?

                                                                                                                        1. re: sku

                                                                                                                          You are slightly mistaken sku, "harmless coloring, flavoring, or blending materials." etc. can't be used in a bourbon, or straight bourbon, or blended straight bourbon; only in "blended bourbon" / "bourbon a blend."

                                                                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                            Hey JMF, so here's what I'm looking at in the regs. 5.23(a)(2) says harmless coloring, flavoring and blending material can be added to "any class or type of distilled spirits." The exceptions provided in (a)(3) are for (i) material which would render the product an imitation; (ii) use of anything other than caramel, sugar and oak chips in Cognac and (iii) use of anything at all in straight whiskey.

                                                                                                                            Ergo, according to the regs, such additives can be used in bourbon, but not straight bourbon or blended straight bourbon.

                                                                                                                            1. re: sku

                                                                                                                              You only have part of the info there, you are missing the qualifying sentence. "Coloring/ flavoring/blending materials may be used in or added to any class and/or type of distilled spirits. However, the use or addition of these materials may change the class and/or type of the distilled spirits"

                                                                                                                              the use of them changes the class/type.

                                                                                                                              You need to look at chapter seven of the TTB Beverage Alcohol Manual, with the chart that lists USE OF HARMLESS COLORING/FLAVORING/BLENDING MATERIALS, and go down to whiskey/Bourbon. nothing is allowed to be used.

                                                                                                                              Also you need to look at chapter four. under each designation it states what is allowed.


                                                                                                                              1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                Thanks JMF. I'll take a look.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                  JFM, thanks for the link to the manual. The chart listed does indicate that they don't allow coloring/flavoring/blending materials in non-straight bourbon. Curiously though, it also says the same for Scotch, and we know coloring is permitted and present in Scotch, so I'm not sure what to make of it. Have any contacts at the TTB you can ask?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: sku

                                                                                                                                    And then there's the question of whether the Lincoln County Process is an addition or a removal.... or (shudder) both.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sku

                                                                                                                                      Doesn't that presume the TTB knows what they're doing???

                                                                                                                                      First of all, look at http://www.ttb.gov/ -- "TTB" stands for the (A)lcohol and Tobacco (T)ax and Trade Bureau. How does one arrive at "TTB" when it should be the ATTTB???

                                                                                                                                      Secondly, it's SOP in the wine trade that if your COLA (Certificate of Label Approval) gets bounced (rejected), you re-submit it as is, with no changes, where odds are a *different* inspector will review and approve it!

                                                                                                                                      Third, when a very famous California winemaker stopped by to discuss things with an inspector about the wine trade, it became clear he had no idea what he talking about, so the winemaker invited him to stop by his winery, look around, ask questions. The inspector's response? "Oh, gee -- thanks! But you know, whenever I get to New York, I just never seem to be able to get out of Manhattan!"

                                                                                                                                      Fourth . . . do I have to go on? I got a million of 'em! ;^)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                        Sigh...! Yes, and I have to deal with this stuff from TTB all the time now.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the buzzkill Zin. We were just about to solve this.

                                                                                                                          2. Those of us who sip good whiskey like Jameson Irish Whiskey know that Jack Daniel's is not bourbon. I bought a bottle of Jack Daniel's black label about 4 months ago while in a nostalgic fog, and it tasted so bad that it must have been filled with the stuff that should have been bottled with a green label. I will never buy that stuff again.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                              At the last affair I attended with an open bar the only whiskey was Crown Royal and JD. I tried a Jack and was really disappointed. I have not had it in years and have been fortunate to get into some really nice bourbons so my expectations had changed.

                                                                                                                              1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                Wow a snub from an Irish whiskey drinker, might be a new low for JD LOL.

                                                                                                                                (Just kidding Chili, it's a reflex among Scotch drinkers, I actually don't mind Irish whiskey, I have a bottle of Clontarf and used to have some Tullamore Dew. Want to try Redbreast at some point just a little pricey. Can't say I loved Jameson's when I tried it though)

                                                                                                                              2. Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson . . . Thread Drift Approaching . . . .


                                                                                                                                Does anyone here (besides me) remember Jack Daniel's GREEN label whiskey?

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                  How long ago was this? I thought I had seen either JB or JD green label but it might have been Evan Williams. I've only been into whisk(e)y for about a year and a half.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                    Still in production today, Jim Beam "Choice" (green label) is an 80-proof, charcoal filtered KSBW* that is aged FIVE years, as opposed to the "regular" Jim Beam (white label), which is bottled with no age statement.

                                                                                                                                    No, I was talking about Jack Daniel's Green -- IIRC, it's only difference, in terms of labeling, was where the Black labels reads, "Old No. 7," the green read simply "No.7" -- but I haven't seen it since the late-1960s. It still exists, but is in limited distribution.

                                                                                                                                    Originally, JD Black was bottled at 90 proof, and Green at 86; the Green was also younger, apparently. In 1956, when Brown-Foreman bought the distillery, they lowered the alcohol levels to 86 and 80, respectively, and the Black was lowered again -- this time to 80 proof -- in 2004, IIRC.

                                                                                                                                2. "Jack Daniel's is not Bourbon."

                                                                                                                                  probably already been mentioned, but "Yes, it is."

                                                                                                                                  It meets all the legal requirements to be classified as a straight bourbon whiskey. Jack is the largest selling whiskey in the world no matter the kind, but they choose to call it what they do. I can't blame them.

                                                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: creamsherry

                                                                                                                                    Mr. Sherry,

                                                                                                                                    This is an awfully long thread and I am tempted to ask if you've read it all...but that would just sound snarky, I am sure you have. Evergreen, Davis, Tempest and even Zin have taken your bait so I will too, just with a different tact.

                                                                                                                                    Please tell us why the above posts suggesting Jack Daniel's may not be Bourbon are wrong.

                                                                                                                                    Some of us actually want to know.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ellaystingray

                                                                                                                                      I did read most of it, but picked and chose when to answer...sorry long night.lol. I am not an expert, but this is one of those things I just happened to pick up at an early age. I also have an interest in history and have seen/heard this many times. I recently watched an hour or two on 'modern marvels' I think or some other show solely about jack daniels history, production, and so-on that went over this very topic in detail. I will look for some more evidence but will use this as a start:


                                                                                                                                      bourbon's requirements are pretty steadfast and simple. please scroll down to the 2nd or 3rd category: "Legal Requirements" and it lists it very easily. only bourbon comes from US just like only scotch can come from scotland, porto from portugal, sherry is from spain,etc, etc, etc, etc. The US should be and is proud of this. It is possible to see 'bourbon' from england as an example...the link explains that(sort of like how you can see something listed as champagne even though its not from champagne france). also before reading the rest and after reading the bullet points from "Legal Requirements", read the very last paragraph from "Legal Requirements" for more info. I hope this helps. jack daniels wants to stand on their own and I can understand this but jack is bourbon. what else could it be?


                                                                                                                                      read the first line of tennessee whiskey too....

                                                                                                                                      1. re: creamsherry

                                                                                                                                        As a complete and total aside . . . ignoring the bourbon v. not bourbon debate . . . .

                                                                                                                                        With respect, *regardless* of whether or not Wikipedia is correct or incorrect, I would NEVER cite them as an authoritative source . . . and I've even contributed to some of the articles!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: creamsherry

                                                                                                                                          Dude, seriously, read the thread.

                                                                                                                                          Not you Zin. I'm sort of afraid of you.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ellaystingray

                                                                                                                                            "Not you Zin. I'm sort of afraid of you."

                                                                                                                                            Thanks you Sting, you made my rainy morning sunny.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                                                              Why me? I'm nice, kind to small furry creatures -- and my kids . . . .

                                                                                                                                              1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                Zin, with all due respect, I've seen you eviscerate people with a plastic keyboard and the enter key.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: ellaystingray

                                                                                                                                                  I have nothing but respect for anyone who can do that :-)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                              LEGALLY ITS BOURBON. if your uncle sparks one up saying otherwise during thanksgiving cuz he works there...then...I guess make your choice. it doesn't need to go on another yr but old habits die hard so why not?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                                This is incorrect.
                                                                                                                                                "vi) To be called a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey all of the Whiskey in the bottle must have the above characteristics i.e. not blended with other Whiskey’s."

                                                                                                                                                To use the term "straight" the whiskey must be a minimum of two years stored in new charred oak containers.

                                                                                                                                        2. My cliff notes:

                                                                                                                                          Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't. Is. Isn't.

                                                                                                                                          <Learned scholars enter fray.>

                                                                                                                                          Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe. Maybe not.


                                                                                                                                          Until Jack Danel's asks for a government ruling, we won't know 100% for sure. It never will, so we never will.

                                                                                                                                          www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                                                            You're WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                            Okay, maybe not. But hey, it's always fun to argue. Where's StriperGuy when we need him?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                                                              Hey, you stole my Cliff notes from the not quite as popular
                                                                                                                                              "A vodka martini isn't a Martini" conversation, which easily segues to the scintillating
                                                                                                                                              "It's a cocktail glass, not a Martini glass" conversation

                                                                                                                                              1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                                                                Gee, MY cliff notes say, "What possible difference does it make?"

                                                                                                                                              2. Okay, so just so I have this clear.

                                                                                                                                                The people who make bourbon say JD IS NOT bourbon.
                                                                                                                                                The fine folks at JD say it's not bourbon.

                                                                                                                                                But for some of you that's not good enough??


                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                                  Actually, most of the people I know who *make* Bourbon say Jack IS a Bourbon. The fact that Jack Daniel's (and George Dickel, or that matter) call themselves "Tennessee Whiskey" and NOT "Bourbon" is marketing -- and (obviously) quite successful marketing at that.

                                                                                                                                                  The fact that YOU link to a New Zealand-based website to prove something about American whiskey is, in and of itself, rather telling, don't you think?

                                                                                                                                                  There is NO LAW that *forces* someone to call/label a Bourbon "Bourbon," just as there is no law that *forces* someone to call/label a Cabernet Sauvignon wine (for example) a "Cabernet Sauvignon." A winery, if it so chooses can (again, for example) call it by a proprietary name ("Insignia*) or just label it Red Table Wine. So, too, if someone makes a Bourbon whiskey and chooses to call it something else -- and by so doing carve out a distinct and (almost) unique place in an otherwise overcrowded marketplace -- I'd say they're doing a GREAT job!

                                                                                                                                                  But labeling it as "Insignia" doesn't change the fact it is a Cabernet Sauvignon (and could be so labeled, if the winery chose to do so); neither does labeling it "Tennessee Whiskey" change the fact that if is Bourbon (and could be so labeled i the distiller chose to do so).


                                                                                                                                                  P.S. The whole "Tennessee Whiskey" thing doesn't bother me anywhere near as much as the "wheated Bourbon" thing -- I just wish there was a way to label the mash bill, not in percentages (which I'll take to be a trade secret), but in a way to make it easier to know which whiskies are "wheated" and which are not.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                    Zin, you may know this, but wheated bourbons are a pretty small part of the market. The only major distilleries making them are Maker's, Buffalo Trace (Weller and Van Winkle lines) and Heaven Hill (Old Fitzgerald). Of course, there are some independent bottlings that use them and there are still some old stocks of wheated whiskey from Stitzel-Weller and Bernheim distilleries (such as the Jefferson Presidential series and Pappy Van Winkle 20 and 23).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sku

                                                                                                                                                      Yes -- love the old Stitzel-Weler bottlings . . . .

                                                                                                                                                      My comment was aimed more along the lines of labels, rather than distillers -- and it just being a bit more helpful in trying to find them. Strictly selfish on my part, and certainly no big deal at all . . .

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sku

                                                                                                                                                        I bought a bottle of the Bernheim Original recently, I rather like it - reminds me a lot of the Old Weller 107 in the respect that it is pretty spicy for a "wheated" Bourbon and has some bite, as opposed to Maker's (the only other wheated I have had) which I find overly sweet and not all that interesting.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                                          Bernheim is actually a straight wheat whiskey which is different from a wheated bourbon. Wheated bourbons are made from a mash bill made up of at least 51% corn with wheat as the secondary flavor grain. Straight wheat whiskeys, like Bernheim are made from at least 51% wheat. For Bernheim, I believe corn is the secondary grain.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sku

                                                                                                                                                            Oh D'oh I didn't even read the label LOL - so it is.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                        I like this answer. I believe that JD is a bourbon but it certainly not referred to as a bourbon. It's just JD;s marketing the sourmash process. JD advocates always state that its the sourmash that makes JD. Every distiller uses the sourmash process.

                                                                                                                                                        But this answer should conclude the discussion I've have with my neighbor.


                                                                                                                                                    2. I enjoy the banter here BUT, the real issue is the word "bourbon". Kentucky has the rights to it (same goes for champagne in France) and thus, poor Tennessee is only whiskey ... however the more you drink the less you care! Enjoy it all and try some Evan Williams, the first to distill bourbon and the Trybox series so you know what we get up here in the TN mountains!

                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hiyakve

                                                                                                                                                        Gawd, haven't we killed this topic by now?

                                                                                                                                                        a) The Federal government regulates (among other things) the labeling of all alcoholic beverages sold in this country, not the state of Kentucky.

                                                                                                                                                        b) The Federal definition of "Bourbon" -- see http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/bam/chapte... -- is, word-for-word, as follows:

                                                                                                                                                        "Whisky produced in the US at not exceeding 80% alcohol by volume (160 proof) from a fermented mash of not less than 51percent corn and stored at not less than 62.5% alcohol by volume (125 proof) in charred new oak containers."


                                                                                                                                                        It says nothing about the size of oak container. It says nothing about length of time the whisky must age. And it says nothing about the geographic location of the still, or bottling plant, OTHER THAN it must be within the United States.

                                                                                                                                                        By convention? By tradition? Sure, Bourbon comes from Kentucky.

                                                                                                                                                        By law? By regulation? Nope.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                          So happy to read this post - I started reading some earlier posts and got very confused. Having done the Bourbon highway tour of distilleries in Kentucky - I remember the key element defining bourbon from anything else being the percentage of corn.

                                                                                                                                                          Not sure how other people feel about this or not - but at the Woodford Reserve the paraphrased quote I remember was "back when Congress made laws that made sense - they rejected proposals to limit bourbon to the state of Kentucky". And after reading about the issues that Newcastle Brown Ale went through after moving its factories across a municiple line - I tend to be in agreement on this point.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                            I tried to reply to the other guy but I guess it never went thru(yesterday)....I am talking about the one you replied to Zin who thought it was a KY thing like champagne in france. He was on the right track(though way off), and you summed it up yourself in your quote:

                                                                                                                                                            bourbon is only from the United States of America....at least 'real' bourbon such like only real sherry is from spain, real porto is from portugal, real champagne is from france, etc, etc. Like it or love it, BOURBON is a USA thing!

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: hiyakve

                                                                                                                                                            see my post just below but KY is the "unofficial" king of bourbon and old bourbon

                                                                                                                                                          3. I always love reading these posts. It seems to me that much of this debate as it relates to alcohol is a marketing debate. Everyone wants what they do to be more unique and special than what the guy down the street makes. Sometimes that is true and sometimes it isn't.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                              Well . . . the "unique" aspects typically DO come down to marketing. When it comes to wine, at least, it was always said, "We all do the exact same thing; we just each do it a little differently."

                                                                                                                                                            2. Even though JD isn't a bourbon, I've blind-tasted it against other KY / TN whiskies and it hasn't stood up very well. In fact I haven't found one whisky in the JD line that I really like.

                                                                                                                                                              To my palate JD has a very dry taste, it's very singular, and a serious blast of alcohol.

                                                                                                                                                              That all said, I won't turn down an occasional JD and coke, maybe it's the sweetness of the coke that compensates for the dryness of the JD... but I've never bought a bottle of it.

                                                                                                                                                              26 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TombstoneShadow

                                                                                                                                                                JD IS a bourbon. They just decided not to call themselves one. The only thing that distinguishes Tennessee whiskey from other bourbon is the Lincoln County filtering process, which is basically more of a flavoring process than filtering.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                  OK, I guess we haven't killed this thread yet . . . ;^)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                    nope, stubborn minds just can't help it... ;-)>

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                    Tennessee whiskey *usually* is charcoal filtered, but doesn't have to be. See Pritchard's.

                                                                                                                                                                    Quick. Now lock the thread right behind me. ;)


                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                                                                                      So, um... *sigh* ...

                                                                                                                                                                      What's Tennessee whiskey, then? Is there any legal definition, or is it all in the name? Can I make a single malt in Tennessee and call it Tennessee Whiskey? (Does it even need to be made in Tennessee, legally?)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                        Conceivably any whiskey made in Tennessee could be called "Tennessee whiskey", just as a whiskey that is made in Kentucky that doesn't quite fit all the legal definitions of bourbon can be called "Kentucky whiskey" as Early Times is labelled. (Early Times contains some whiskey aged in used barrels, which disqualifies it from being called a straight bourbon, along with some new-barrel-aged straight bourbon. Its made by Brown-Forman, Jack Daniel's parent company).

                                                                                                                                                                        However, the only legal definitions are in trade agreements (including NAFTA) which legally define it a straight bourbon made in Tennessee. So not only does it seem that a Tennessee single malt wouldn't be able to be called "Tennessee whiskey" without mentioning the single malt nature of it, it means that, despite the title of this thread, Jack Daniels IS bourbon, legally.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: oknazevad

                                                                                                                                                                          I can't believe I'm doing this...

                                                                                                                                                                          Oknazevad, you make a fascinating point about the exact wording of the NAFTA clause pertaining to distinctive products. I checked again and it DOES say that a Tennessee Whiskey is "...a straight [lower case s] Bourbon Whiskey authorized to be produced only in the state of Tennessee,.." Okay, international and Federal law experts weigh in. Does wording in a trade agreement de facto imply that the government has already made up its mind on whether JD is a Bourbon? I say doubtful. Does the wording in a trade agreement by proxy allow that it is completely legal, for instance, a Bourbon made in Kentucky to use the Lincoln County Process and be labeled Bourbon? I think also unlikely but I don't know. Obviously, no one is likely to want to do this, but does the NAFTA wording effectively approve the LCP as a non-additive process under Bourbon regs? I guess it could provide some precedent. Note: See my posts above as to why I think it could be considered an additive.

                                                                                                                                                                          Also, I don't think I understand your point in regard to "Tennessee single malt." In Scotchspeak, single malt means the whisky came from one distillery. That is okay for Bourbon and if Jack Daniel's is a Bourbon, then there is a problem. Jack Daniel's comes from one distillery. Thing is, it's also okay for Bourbon to come from multiple distilleries as long as it's all Bourbon--Pappy Van Winkle is an example. Because your first graph made me interested, I'd like to know what I am missing about your second one.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ellaystingray

                                                                                                                                                                            "In Scotchspeak, single malt means the whisky came from one distillery."

                                                                                                                                                                            Doesn't single malt also imply a single grain? Malted barley in the case of scotch; and I've heard of some 100% rye Straight Ryes referred to as "single malts." (Perhaps the latter somewhat tongue in cheek.)

                                                                                                                                                                            Possible to do an all-corn Bourbon? I've never heard of such a thing...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                              Several craft distilleries do all corn bourbons. Tuthilltown comes to mind as one of the first to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                No, the "single" in "single malt" is that its all from one distillery. A scotch that is made entirely from malt, but comes from multiple distilleries, is called a "blended malt". ("Single grain", btw, means from a single distillery from multiple grains.)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: oknazevad

                                                                                                                                                                                  Right, so the "single" implies both: single distillery AND single [malted] grain.


                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                    No, the "single" is purely about the distillery. The "malt" states the grain. "Single grain" means a single distillery but made from multiple grains, not just one single grain. So the "single" cannot be referring to only one grain used.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: oknazevad

                                                                                                                                                                                      Ah, I see what you mean. Fair enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: davis_sq_pro


                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, it does means that malted barley is the only grain, that is the "malt" part of single malt as it implies use of 100% malted barley. I should have made that clear. The twist is that you can have blends, not able to be called Single Malts, that only contain Single Malts--Vatted Malts. Moreover, the "single" in Single Grain actually refers to the distillery, not the grain. It other words, a grain whiskey from a single distillery. It gets increasingly complicated but this is a thread about Bourbon...;)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ellaystingray

                                                                                                                                                                                    Even more complicated by the fact that "vatted malt" is no longer in use, having been tossed out in favor of "blended malt" in the regulations since 2009.

                                                                                                                                                                                    (And yes, before anyone asks, Scotch whisky consisting of single grain whiskies from multiple distilleries could be labelled "blended grain". But the vast majority of grain whisky in Scotland is used in blends.)

                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: ellaystingray

                                                                                                                                                                                  As NAFTA is a treaty and therefore part of federal law, yes the federal government has defined Jack as bourbon. No doubt about that. And if it can be done in Tennessee and still be bourbon, it can be done in Kentucky. Any distinction is pure marketing.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I also don't think the LCP is additive. It may help give a jump start on aging by removing some heavy fusel oils, which the barrel normally does, but that's not additive. The contact isn't long enough to add anything substantial, and the charcoal is too thoroughly burned to have any real flavor. Any perception of sweetness is likely from Jack's very high corn mashbill.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The point of my last paragraph was just to contrast malt whiskey vs bourbon. Don't get hung up on the "single". The main point was that by defining "Tennessee whiskey" as bourbon from Tennessee, a malt whiskey made there would have to identify itself as such, whereas in any other state a malt whisky could just label itself as "Colorado whiskey", for an example actually in use. In other words, it's actually the only case where the simpler label is more restricted in use.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: oknazevad

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oknazevad, I disagree with your interpretation with regard to malt whiskey. The treaty is indeed a definition approved by the federal government, but for trade purposes only. The real purpose is to provide international protection for Tennessee Whiskey and prevent other nations from using that term. It does not affect the labeling classifications used by TTB since it does not appear in TTB regulations. Therefore, there is no reason that a Malt Whiskey made in Tennessee for domestic consumption could not call itself "Tennessee Whiskey," since the TTB would be the agency approving that that label and Tennessee Whiskey is not a defined term under TTB regulations. The place where the whiskey could run into problems is if it attempted to export to countries where the treaty was applicable, though again, the purpsoe of the treaty isn't to require Tennessee producers to adhere, it's to prevent other countries from using the term.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sku

                                                                                                                                                                                      The most important thing that the NAFTA definition tells us is that Jack Daniel's likely agrees that Tennessee Whiskey is bourbon, since there is no way that definition would have made it into the treaty without their approval.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sku

                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, that's probably true about domestic labeling (though, considering the blatant error they made with the unaged Jack Rye, I think we may give the TTB too much credit). But the main thrust that Jack would clearly know about the NAFTA clause and not have objected (at the least) kinda proves that they know full well that their whiskey is bourbon despite their marketing.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: oknazevad

                                                                                                                                                                                      In Scotland, a "single malt' is a distillery that came from one distillery and is made from 100% malted barley. There is no equivalent in American whiskey and the term is not a legally defined term in the US. That being said, some American products do use the term. Old Potrero, reverst t otheir malted rye whiskey as a "single Malt" and some distilleries have used the term of Scotch style, barlety malt whiskey.

                                                                                                                                                                                      And yes, you can do a 100% corn bourbon, using enymes for fermentation. I believe the Hudson bourbons from Tuthilltown are 100% corn. That of course, would not be a single malt, as corn is not malted.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sku

                                                                                                                                                                                        Corn can be malted, though. It's done in South America for production of Chicha... Would love to try an aged 100% malted corn spirit. Not sure it would be very good, but it would certainly be interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: TombstoneShadow

                                                                                                                                                                            I like the Single Barrel expression quite a bit. Just looking back at my tasting notes on it, I found there is some good sweetness in there, including some interesting cocoa notes, while a subtle smoky char provides a nicely sophisticated foil for the sweeter notes. I did think it tended to be a drier, more tannic whiskey, but I don't think it was so unbalanced in that direction as to be unlikable.

                                                                                                                                                                            I haven't had the Old No.7 in forever, and the last time I had a dram of Gentleman Jack I recall thinking that it felt a bit weak and thin, which is what I vaguely recall thinking about Old No. 7. I don't much care for coca-cola, or mixing liquor with soft drinks, so I can't comment on that, but I've enjoyed my bottle of Single Barrel and think it offers a lot more than the other two JD bottlings.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Big Crunch

                                                                                                                                                                              Crunch, I agree with you about the Gentleman jack, I got a small bottle a couple years back and I seem to remember that the flavor was kind of weak at the front of my mouth then just vanished as it worked its way back, with no finish whatsoever. Truly a whiskey for those who don't like whiskey.

                                                                                                                                                                              Not a fan of Old No 7 either, prefer Dickel No 12 by a mile.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                                                                Judging from my notes, the finish isn't much better on the Single Barrel either. Actually, I have down "nonexistent" as my description.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                                                                  Dickel would be my choice over JD #7. Dickel makes some nice whiskey.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I always get bananas from JDSB. Okay but not a fan and cost too much for what it is. Unfortunately JD Silver Select is not available in the US but is a cut above

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                                                                                    I've got a bottle of Dickel barrel select I've been waiting until I am in a somewhat special mood to open.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. And now, to add to the ridiculousness of this thread, there is Dickel Rye, which is definitely not bourbon, and is not distilled in Tennessee (it's from Indiana), though the good folks of Dickel bring it to Tennessee and subject to the Lincoln County filtering process.


                                                                                                                                                                              Jack Daniel's has also released a rye (unaged), which is definitely not bourbon.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sku

                                                                                                                                                                                Just watch . . . Diageo is going to pay $$$$$ to some small county in Indiana with a big budget deficit to change their name to "Tennessee" so they can say their's is a "Tennessee Rye." You heard it here first! ;^)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Agreed...it's distilled in Lynchburg, Tennessee. A few months ago I bought a bottle of Black Label after not drinking Jack Daniel's for a few years in favor of Jameson's Irish. I think the bottle must of been mislabeled because the stuff tasted like Green Label which I had the misfortune of tasting a long time ago in Missouri.

                                                                                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                    This is the most interesting thread ever. Well, next to the one about the styrofoam cups.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                                        The past week or so I have had to force my fingers away from the keyboard and literally walk away from several threads. I keep saying to myself, mustn't poke the animals in the cages.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                                          (You should see the WINE side!) ;^)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                                            I try not to. My patience can handle only so much whining...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                                              zin1953 said: "You should see the WINE side!"

                                                                                                                                                                                              true enough...but lately , BEER geeks really take the top comedy prize for obsessing over minutae. Some of the discussions on "beer styles" rival the old Abbot & Costello routines.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                                                                Absinthe people...now, they're crazy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't know... I took a look through this thread and decided to never visit the wine forum again:


                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I felt the same about THIS thread -- especially when it got revived from the dead -- but . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This thread is full of purposeful ignorance; that wine thread is full of purposeful arrogance. Which one is worse?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                        There is plenty of ignorance to go around. ;^)

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Interestingly enough, Jack Daniels just posted a meme on Facebook that references this topic. If Jack Daniels posts it, I guess its the definitive statement regarding if it is or is not bourbon.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The below photo was posted by them with the comment - Taste the charcoal mellowed goodness.


                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ariadanz

                                                                                                                                                                                          They are good at marketing

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's easier to compete in a smaller pool of competitors

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ariadanz

                                                                                                                                                                                            That doesn't say it's not bourbon; it seems to say that it's a way of improving bourbon. But it makes no claim as to whether the output product is or is not still bourbon.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                              My view was that it basically owned up to the fact it at least WAS Bourbon. Improved Bourbon from their point of view, but at a bare minimum - made from Bourbon. Mind you, almost all of the liquor stores around here including the massive Total Wine chain all put it under the Bourbon category when they're listing prices or shelving bottles.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ariadanz

                                                                                                                                                                                                Ah, okay. I thought you meant the other way around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I guess we're all in agreement... until the next time someone posts in this thread :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. WAIT A MINUTE!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought all bourbon was just Tennessee Whiskey that was made in Kentucky and didn't get charcoal filtered. You mean bourbon is something other than altered Tennessee Whiskey?!?!?!?!


                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Big Crunch

                                                                                                                                                                                              There are bourbons, made in Kentucky, that _are_charcoal filtered.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                                                                But it is a different process than that used for JD. Actually many spirits are charcoal filtered. And all spirits are filtered in some form.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. A little update to this long and winding threat. The Tennessee state legislature has passed a bill which defines Tennessee Whiskey. The definition is the same as the federal definition in bourbon with two additions: 1. It must be made in Tennessee and 2. the whiskey must be filtered through Sugar Maple Charcoal (i.e. the Lincoln County Process).


                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sku

                                                                                                                                                                                                What does the TTB say about that? Thanks for the update.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I wouldn't expect the TTB to say anything. There could be the possibility of a lawsuit arguing that the federal regulations preempt this kind of law, but the TN law doesn't directly conflict with anything in the regs since the TTB regs don't define Tennessee Whiskey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: sku

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Two interesting details from the linked article:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1) Pritchard's (non-LCP TN whiskey) would be specifically exempted.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  2) The law only pertains to whiskey sold within TN.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. The debate is back, on liquor.com - where the guy writing the article has definitively stated JD is NOT Bourbon :


                                                                                                                                                                                                  There is one thing in a comment I had not heard before (from a 1964 law) - that the maximum corn content for bourbon is 79% - if that is still true, then JD and Dickel would NOT be bourbon, as their corn content is 84%. (I managed to find the 79% stipulation by some creative googling, but it might be obsolete for all I know.


                                                                                                                                                                                                  This comment amuses me:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Jack Daniels is NOT a bourbon. It is eliminated from the distiction by the charcoal filtering. No bourbon, clasified as a real bourbon undergoes this process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am an Ambassador for Makers Mark and do all of their shows here in Dallas. I am from Kentucky and know everything there is to know about bourbon.


                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I actually emailed Noah Rothbaum editor at Liqour.com about that about thirty seconds after I got the liquor.com newsletter. I had just read an article by LeNell a half hour earlier, that was published yesterday as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Noah responded "Hi J- Good to hear from you. This question has generated quite a bit of controversy! As far as we can tell, there has never been a whiskey that undergoes the Lincoln County process that has been legally labeled a bourbon. The fact is that the TTB has never issued a ruling on whether the Lincoln County process is allowed in bourbon production or not. And as long as Jack Daniel's does not apply and get approval to call its product a bourbon (which we sincerely doubt it will), Jack Daniel's is not bourbon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I appreciate your taking the time to write and your passion about American whiskey. One thing we can both agree on is that both bourbon and Tennessee whiskey are delicious.



                                                                                                                                                                                                    Personally I disagree that it isn't bourbon because
                                                                                                                                                                                                    "And as long as Jack Daniel's does not apply and get approval to call its product a bourbon (which we sincerely doubt it will), Jack Daniel's is not bourbon."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    But we all have our own opinions. I respect Noah and his research and the books he has written. We've had a few good conversations on spirits over the years. But I think it's specious to base the decision on the idea that just because JD doesn't have the title "Bourbon" on its label, then it isn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I prefer LeNell's train of thought where she states, "According to the principal federal regulator the Tax and Trade Bureau of the Treasury Department (TTB), the iconic Tennessee whiskey Jack Daniels could be labeled as straight bourbon. It is technically made according to all the regulations defining straight bourbon. In fact, in treaties where the U.S. has sought protection for the terms ‘bourbon’ and ‘Tennessee whiskey,’ it has defined Tennessee whiskey as “straight bourbon whiskey made in Tennessee.”"

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Here's a link to her article.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That comment by "JD" gave me a chuckle as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      As for that comment of the 1964 law. II don't have a copy of the regulations from that year. I do know that at present the law doesn't have a maximum and I know of several 100% corn bourbons on the market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also this
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey« Read less
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bourbon is an American Whiskey produced mainly in the southern state of Kentucky, although there are notable bourbons from other states within the USA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        To comply with US trade legislation a whiskey can only be called Bourbon if it fulfils the following conditions:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The ‘mashbill’ (recipe of grains) used in production must consist of no less than 51% and no more than 80% corn. The typical corn content is around 70%. The remainder of the mashbill is made up with other grains, generally rye, wheat and malted barley.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The whiskey must leave the still at no higher than 80% alcohol by volume

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • It must be aged in new charred white oak casks at no higher than 62.5% abv when it enters the cask.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • It must be bottled at no less than 40% abv.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Nothing other than water may be added to the spirit to alter its flavour. This is the reason why Jack Daniel’s is not a Bourbon (see below).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • If the maturation time is less than four years, the whiskey must state its age on the label.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Is Jack Daniel's a bourbon?
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jack Daniel's is not a bourbon - it's a Tennessee Whiskey. Jack Daniel's is dripped slowly - drop-by-drop - through ten feet of firmly packed charcoal (made from hard sugar maple) before going into new charred oak barrels for aging. This special process gives Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey its rare smoothness. It's this extra step - charcoal mellowing – that makes Jack Daniel's a Tennessee Whiskey. Via jackdaniels.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: vinnib

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Really? Really? After six years of discussion, this is what you come up with? Marketing fluff???

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jack Daniels has a VESTED INTEREST in distinguishing itself from Bourbon -- its entire marketing campaign has been based upon the "fact" that it's not a "Kentucky Bourbon", but that it's a "Tennessee Whiskey."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now, ask yourself what a Tennessee Whiskey is. It's a Bourbon that has been subjected to the "Lincoln County Process."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The fact that Jack Daniels has never been labeled as "Bourbon" doesn't change the fact that -- under the Federal regulations governing domestic whiskey -- it fits the definition for "Bourbon."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          BTW, filtration is not an addition to the whiskey ("nothing may be added . . ."). It's filtration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          / / / / /

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think the last part of JMF's post above is well-worth repeating:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          >>> I think it's specious to base the decision on the idea that just because JD doesn't have the title "Bourbon" on its label, then it isn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          >>> I prefer LeNell's train of thought where she states, "According to the principal federal regulator the Tax and Trade Bureau of the Treasury Department (TTB), the iconic Tennessee whiskey Jack Daniels could be labeled as straight bourbon. It is technically made according to all the regulations defining straight bourbon. In fact, in treaties where the U.S. has sought protection for the terms ‘bourbon’ and ‘Tennessee whiskey,’ it has defined Tennessee whiskey as “straight bourbon whiskey made in Tennessee.”"

                                                                                                                                                                                                          / / / / /

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Personally, I cannot believe that this is still being discussed after 6.5+ years -- especially because it's such mediocre whiskey to begin with!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. This discussion was concluded 6 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roreiss

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Basically all American whiskeys: Bourbon and Rye, (and Tennessee whiskey) are sour mash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. How this from Jack Daniels website in FAQ
                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Is Jack Daniel's a bourbon?
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Jack Daniel's is not a bourbon - it's a Tennessee Whiskey. Jack Daniel's is dripped slowly - drop-by-drop - through ten feet of firmly packed charcoal (made from hard sugar maple) before going into new charred oak barrels for aging. This special process gives Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey its rare smoothness. It's this extra step - charcoal mellowing – that makes Jack Daniel's a Tennessee Whiskey."

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: vinnib

                                                                                                                                                                                                              As has been mentioned several times in this thread, that's simply marketing spin.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Essentially, it is still bourbon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Just as "craft beer" is basically a marketing term, so is the case with "Tennessee Whiskey".
                                                                                                                                                                                                              They just want to position themselves as unique. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's simply creative marketing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. This annoyingly "not-dead-yet" thread actually convinced me to buy a half-pint of old No.7 a couple of nights back, since I haven't tried the stuff in probably a decade. The verdict is that it's about as dull and unimpressive as I recall. Certainly not bad, but man, is it ever a one-dimensional and simplistic whiskey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Big Crunch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I doubt most JD drinkers have ever tried George Dickel, but if they did, they would never go back. Except for those who actually don't like the taste of whiskey, and want something mild and bland.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sure they would. It's all about the name. The marketing, etc. Most would never admit that Dickel tastes better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I will add to the previous post. Did you ever see pictures of Lynrd Skynrd, or Keith Richards or Guns and Roses drinking George Dickel? You get the idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Keith drank Rebel Yell too. Was pretty good many years ago. Now not so much

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, I read that in his autobiography. He said Bill Idol was with him at the time, etc., etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      where do they sell george dickel at.thought i was readin somewhere that it wasnt availible in my state but a liquior store i usually go to has a webpage and they had the white corn whiskey on it.i was lookin for the no 12 whisky though

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jack2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jack? It would help to know where you live . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        George Dickel No. 12 is the only Tennessee Whisky in my bar ... Water's For Washin', Dickel's For Drinkin'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. So... (I love this thread...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Turns out that some Tennessee whiskey may, soon, actually cease to be bourbon... (Dickel apparently wants to reuse barrels.)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for sharing the article ... an interesting battle is brewing for sure!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Awesome - perhaps we should start a new thread!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So it seems Diageo bought Dickel a while back, and now wants to cut corners - what a surprise!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The bill was tabled last month. It could come up the next legislative session but is most likely effectively dead. It wouldn't have been likely to pass anyway with Brown Forman against it.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, and everytime I see a new post on this thread, I die a little inside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. wellllll, except for the charcoal mellowing and the TN/KY rivalry, Jack Daniels would generally be called a bourbon