The Subtle Differences Between Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon

Are you looking for a unique experience? If so, you may want to try whiskey or . Although both are distilled made from corn, there are some important differences between the two. Understanding these differences can help you decide which type of whiskey is right for you.

Tennessee whiskey and bourbon share many similarities in their production processes. Both must be distilled at no more than 160 proof (or 80% by volume) and aged in charred for at last 2 years. Additionally, both must have a minimum of 51% corn in the mash bill. The main difference between Tennessee whiskey and bourbon is the Lincoln County Process used to make Tennessee whiskey. This process requires the whiskey to be filtered through maple charcoal before being put into barrels for aging. This extra filtration removes some of the heavier compounds from the new make, giving the final product a mellower and smoother flavor profile than bourbon.

When it comes to flavor profile, Tennessee whiskey has a sweet taste with notes of honey and caramel while bourbon has a sharper taste with notes of oak and smoke. Furthermore, Tennessee whiskey producers are permitted to add up to two percent coloring or flavoring while this is not allowed in bourbons. Therefore, if you're looking for an enhanced flavor profile, Tennesseee whiskey may be your best bet.

Ultimately, wether you choose Tennessee Whiskey or Bourbon will depend on your own personal taste preferences. With its unique filtration process and added flavors, Tennessee Whiskey offers an interesting twist on traditional bourbons that many people enjoy. On the other hand, if you prefer a sharper flavor profile with natural oak notes then traditional Bourbon may be better suited for your tastes. Ultimately only you can decide which type of whiskey is best for you!

Is Tennessee Whiskey Smoother Than Bourbon?

Tennessee whiskey, such as Jack Daniel's, is often considered to be smoother than traditional bourbon. This is in part due to the Lincoln County Process, a unique step taken in the production of Tennessee whiskey. During the process, the whiskey is filtered through charcoal made from sugar maple trees before it is aged in barrels. This filtration process helps to remove some of the heavier compounds from the whiskey, resulting in a mellower and smoother final product. While both Tennessee whiskey and bourbon can have complex flavor profiles that vary widely depending on how long it has been aged for and what type of barrel it was stored in, Tennessee whiskey typically has a smoother taste due to this additional filtration step.

tennessee whiskey vs bourbon

Differences Between Bourbon Whiskey and Tennessee Whiskey

The major differences between a bourbon whiskey and a Tennessee whiskey lie minly in the distillation process. Bourbon is made with a mash of at least 51 percent corn, while Tennessee whiskey is made with at least 51 percent corn but is then filtered through maple charcoal, known as the Lincoln County Process. This filtering process gives Tennessee whiskey its distinctive flavor and aroma. In addition, bourbon is aged in new charred oak barrels while Tennessee whiskey must be aged in used barrels, usually previously used for bourbon. Finally, bourbon has no set minimum aging requirement while Tennessee whiskey must be aged for at least two years before it can be called Tennessee Whiskey.

The Unique Characteristics of Tennessee Whiskey

Tennessee whiskey is distinct from other styles of whiskey due to its unique production process. The process begins with filtering the spirits through sugar maple charcoal, which removes impurities and gives the whiskey its signature flavor. Afterward, the whiskey is aged in new, charred white oak barrels for a minimum of two years. This aging process not only refines the flavor but also gives it its color. The combination of distillation and aging results in a smooth, mellow flavor that is unique to Tennessee whiskey.

Is It Safe to Drink Tennessee Whiskey Straight?

Yes, Tennessee whiskey can be enjoyed straight. Its flavor profile is characterized by a mellowness due to the charcoal filtering process it undergoes before aging. The whiskey has subtle notes of charcoal, toasted oak, caramel, and vanilla. It's smooth enogh to drink neat and many people prefer it this way. Alternatively, it can also be used in a variety of cocktail recipes to create refreshing drinks.

Is Tennessee Whiskey a Type of Bourbon?

Yes, Tennessee whiskey is a type of bourbon. By definition, bourbon must be made in the United States, contain at last 51% corn and be aged in brand new charred oak barrels. In addition to these requirements, Tennessee whiskey has some unique characteristics that set it apart from other bourbons. Specifically, after distillation, Tennessee whiskey is filtered through sugar-maple charcoal before it is placed in the barrels for aging. This process gives Tennessee whiskey its distinctive flavor and character. Jack Daniel's is the most widely known Tennessee whiskey and has been produced since 1866. While there are many other brands of Tennessee whiskey available, Jack Daniel's remains a global leader in the category.


In conclusion, Tennessee whiskey and bourbon are both delicious American whiskeys that have a few key differences. Tennessee whiskey must be filtered through maple charcoal before aging, a process known as the Lincoln County Process, which gives it a smoother and mellower flavor than bourbon. Additionally, distillers of Tennessee whiskey may add up to two percent of coloring and/or flavoring whereas bourbon must be distilled at no more than 160 proof. All in all, thee subtle differences result in two distinct flavors that are sure to please the palate.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.