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tr1strev
02-18-2009, 18:53
Greetings from Maryland. I'm new here and gathering good info and after beering it through college and law school I am exploring the world of bourbon. While I know the basic difference between Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon, I can't yet tell a significant difference. My boss swears by GD 12. Is my pallet not yet developed or are they that close. Also, any advice on good ones to try. Thanks for any help.

kickert
02-18-2009, 19:07
To be a bourbon, a whiskey must:
be made of a grain mixture containing only corn, rye, wheat or barley and must be at least 51% corn
be distilled to no more than 160 proof
contain no additives other than water
be aged in new, charred oak barrels
not be introduced to the barrel at higher than 125 proof
be aged for a minimum of two yearsTennessee Whiskies break rule number 2 because they are run through charcoal prior to barreling. This is considered an additive.

craigthom
02-18-2009, 19:16
Yes, that's what they claim. I don't think there's ever been a definitive statement by the government, but we'll never known until somebody puts "Bourbon" on a bottle of Tennessee Whiskey, and that's not going to happen.

Dickel No. 12 is good stuff.

callmeox
02-18-2009, 19:25
Many bourbons are filtered through activated charcoal, but this takes place after aging and prior to barreling.

Tennessee whiskeys undergo filtering via the Lincoln County Process (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_County_Process). It is a significant variance from bourbon as it uses charcoal made from sugar maple and not the inert activated charcoal.

Blitz
02-18-2009, 19:25
Legal requirements

On 4 May 1964, the U.S. Congress recognized Bourbon Whiskey as a “distinctive product of the United States," creating the Federal Standards of Identity for Bourbon. Federal regulations now stipulate that Bourbon must meet these requirements:

Bourbon must be made of a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maize).[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourbon_whiskey#cite_note-cfrb1i-0)
Bourbon must be distilled (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distilled) to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholic_proof) (80% alcohol by volume).
Bourbon must be 100% natural (nothing other than water added to the mixture).
Bourbon must be aged (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aging_barrel) in new, charred oak barrels.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourbon_whiskey#cite_note-cfrb1i-0)
Bourbon may not be introduced to the barrel at higher than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume).
Bourbon which meets the above requirements and has been aged for a minimum of two years, may (but is not required to) be called Straight Bourbon.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourbon_whiskey#cite_note-cfrb1iii-1)
Bourbon aged for a period less than four years must be labeled with the duration of its aging. In practice, almost all bourbons marketed today are made from more than two-thirds corn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maize), have been aged at least four years, and do qualify as "straight bourbon"—with or without the "straight bourbon" label. The exceptions are inexpensive commodity brands of bourbon aged only three years and pre-mixed cocktails made with straight bourbon aged the minimum two years.


I think even this entry from Wikipedia is missing a requirement. It must be made in the U.S. to be called bourbon.

tr1strev
02-18-2009, 19:42
Thanks, but I guess my main question is how those differences relate to taste. It may be just something I have to explore myself (which is a good thing) but it seems that the Tennessee whiskeys are sweeter?

kickert
02-18-2009, 20:07
Personally I find TN Whiskey has more of a "chemical sweetness" especially the JD bottles.

Stu
02-18-2009, 21:32
In my opinion GD tastes like a good bourbon. Whereas JD has paint thinner on the nose and a chemical aftertaste. I know a lot of folks who are more knowledgeable than me disagree, but that's the beauty of this forum - diverse opinions.

fishnbowljoe
02-18-2009, 21:54
I've had all the variations of JD. The Silver select is the only one that doesn't have that odd flavor or chemical sweetness that Kickert alluded to. Some have called it a hint of banana. I have yet to have the pleasure of a taste of Dickel. I just think that the charcoal filtering either adds to, or takes away something from the whiskey that affects it during the aging process. I have a couple of good buddies that swear by JD. They have tried many of my bourbons, and don't care much for most of them. For some strange reason they seem to like Rebel Yell though.:skep: They also get pissed at me when I give them a hard time and tell them that bourbon is like JD with flavor.:slappin: Anyway, to each their own. To quote somebody,"It's all good!". Joe

sotnsipper
02-19-2009, 07:27
While I know the basic difference between Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon, I can't yet tell a significant difference. My boss swears by GD 12. Is my pallet not yet developed or are they that close.

There is not a "Significant" difference between the two. The only difference is, like others have stated, the maple charcoal filtering. As far as everything else (a specific mash bill, barreling, aging) TN Whiskey is just like Bourbon. I would not say that your pallet is not yet developed. I would say that if you compare two bourbons head to head, you are going to find different taste profiles for each. If you compared JD to GD, you are going to get the same results. And of course if you did TN against bourbon, it will be different. There is not one specific taste profile (that I have found as of yet) that says "This is a TN whiskey". I would suggest that you do a taste comparison of your favorite bourbon with your favorite TN whiskey to see if you can come to a conclusion on a significant difference, if there is one to be found.


Also, any advice on good ones to try. Thanks for any help.

As far as TN whiskeys go, take the bosses recommendation and go with the GD 12. The 8 and the Cascade Hollow are ok, but I prefer the higher proof and overall taste of the 12. I tend to steer away from JD altogether. In my opinion, it is overpriced and under proofed. For the bourbon side, it comes down to what you like in a bourbon. If you are going for a higher wheat bourbon, I suggest (highly) Old Weller Antique 107, or any other Weller for that matter. For a higher rye bourbon, I would suggest Old Forrester Signature, Wild Turkey 101, Fighting Cock, or Old Grand Dad 114. If price is a factor, I would suggest Evan Williams Black or BIB. EW is a great bourbon for the price. I hope this helps you out!!

P.S. Welcome to the Board!!

funknik
02-19-2009, 07:39
I swear by the Dickel No.12, although it has a distinct grain flavor that I get to a much lesser degree in bourbons. Both TN whiskies have a high corn mashbill with very little rye, so they are less balanced than many bourbons -- also, they seem to have much less of a barrel presence in the finish than most bourbons. JD has a little more barrel than GD to me, but that's not enough to recommend it -- the proof is too low and the price is too high. Even Dickel No.8 is better than JD Black for half the price. I would offer that none of the TN whiskies I've had are especially complex (maybe due to the virtual lack of flavor grain), but they are pretty easy drinking. The closest TN/Bourbon comparison I can think of would be GD12 vs. WLW SR -- they remind me very much of each other.....the bottom line is there is much more variety in bourbon than TN whiskey, so it can't hurt to find a TN you like and just keep it around. ;)

sotnsipper
02-19-2009, 08:26
I swear by the Dickel No.12......the bottom line is there is much more variety in bourbon than TN whiskey, so it can't hurt to find a TN you like and just keep it around. ;)


I agree 100% with funknik on this.

Blitz
02-19-2009, 09:26
I don't care for JD or Gentlemans Jack, but I really like JD Single Barrel. I really need to try Dickel.

sotnsipper
02-19-2009, 15:03
I tend to steer away from JD altogether. In my opinion, it is overpriced and under proofed.!


JD -- the proof is too low and the price is too high.


We had to be typing at the same time.:lol:

leebo
02-19-2009, 18:12
GD #12 one of my favorite pours. I did 2 nights of tastings last year 25 + people each night ,and by a show of hands GD12 came out on top. The other 3 pours were, weller antique 107, saz rye jr and Old Grand Dad 114.

tr1strev
02-19-2009, 18:53
Thanks everyone. Let the journey begin!!!!!

Maddog918
02-19-2009, 22:55
you have to try JD single barrel. One of my favorites. But the Dickel Barrel Select is the best overall. The JD Single Barrel is 94 proof and the Barrel Select is 86. Gentlemen Jack is smooth with no taste. They filter it through charcoal twice and I think it destroys the flavor. Anyway, I a novice at Bourbon. I use to sneak my dad's Old Grand Dad when I was a Kid. But other than that I like Maker's Mark.

Josh
02-20-2009, 09:38
I think there is a taste difference between TN's as a group and Bourbons. TN Whiskey is smoother, has more char and maple in the nose and on the tongue. Bourbon is more complex and in most circumstances is hotter.

But that said, I like them both. Haven't had JD in a long time but I am a fan of GD, esp. the Barrel Select. Great stuff.

ILLfarmboy
02-20-2009, 23:13
Since I happen to be drinking GD No. 12 tonight, and I occasionally drink JD Single barrel, I'll weigh in here.

sotnsipper and funknik's posts are dead on.

I will add, if it hasn't been said already, GD No.12 is more bourbony. Jack has more soot and a bit more maple. Jack also has that banana thing going on where GD dose not.

A new palette may confuse George Dickel with bourbon but it would be a lot harder to confuse Jack Daniel's with bourbon.

cigarnv
02-21-2009, 07:20
I swear by the Dickel No.12, although it has a distinct grain flavor that I get to a much lesser degree in bourbons. Both TN whiskies have a high corn mashbill with very little rye, so they are less balanced than many bourbons -- also, they seem to have much less of a barrel presence in the finish than most bourbons. JD has a little more barrel than GD to me, but that's not enough to recommend it -- the proof is too low and the price is too high. Even Dickel No.8 is better than JD Black for half the price. I would offer that none of the TN whiskies I've had are especially complex (maybe due to the virtual lack of flavor grain), but they are pretty easy drinking. The closest TN/Bourbon comparison I can think of would be GD12 vs. WLW SR -- they remind me very much of each other.....the bottom line is there is much more variety in bourbon than TN whiskey, so it can't hurt to find a TN you like and just keep it around. ;)

This is dead on to my take.... especially the easy drinking part... very soft to the palate...

sku
02-21-2009, 11:12
I'll join the chorus of Sotnsipper, Funknik and Illfarmboy. I love Dickel No. 12 for its more Bourbon like qualities (it also makes the best Manhattan around).

I can't say I like any of the other Tennessees I've tried, which includes: JD 7, JDSB, Gentleman Jack and Dickel Barrel Select. All of them are too sweet for me. I've never tried Dickel No. 8 but would certainly like to if it ever comes back.

cowdery
02-21-2009, 19:22
The differences between Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon Whiskey are similar to the differences between "whiskey" and "whisky," in that there is much less to it than most people think.

People will sometimes get all high-and-mighty about how Jack Daniel's isn't a bourbon, and it isn't, but as a practical matter the difference is merely technical. For all intents and purposes, Jack Daniel's and George Dickel are bourbon in all but name. If they taste different, which was the original question, it is because each maker crafts a slightly different flavor. Those differences in flavor have nothing to do with them being different "types." The effect of the charcoal filtering process used in Tennessee is simply to jump-start the aging process. Many in bourbon country say it removes too much flavor, but that's inside baseball. It's fair to debate that point, but it's still a very small difference. Tennessee Whiskey is very much within the profile of Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

The fact that both Jack and George have very little rye in their mash bills probably has more to do with their taste than the Lincoln County Process does.

I used the comparison to "whiskey" versus "whisky" because it is one of those essentially trivial things that some people get their panties in a bunch about, and ignorant people pontificate about.

As some people have mentioned, it is even conceivable that Jack and George could be labeled "straight bourbon" if they wanted to be. Again, reasonable people can disagree about this, but that is how I interpret the regulations.

As you will note, "straight bourbon whiskey" has a lot of requirements under the law. "Tennessee whiskey" has none, except the very limited requirements to merely use the term "whiskey." So, in that sense, the regs are essentially irrelevant. A lot of people make assumptions about why Dickel and Daniel's aren't labeled as bourbon and all those assumptions are wrong. They aren't labeled as bourbon because they choose not to be.

kickert
02-21-2009, 19:27
The differences between Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon Whiskey are similar to the differences between "whiskey" and "whisky," in that there is much less to it than most people think.


And Chuck has picked his hill to die on.

Squash
02-21-2009, 20:35
Well stated Cowdery.

sku
02-21-2009, 20:39
As you will note, "straight bourbon whiskey" has a lot of requirements under the law. "Tennessee whiskey" has none, except the very limited requirements to merely use the term "whiskey." So, in that sense, the regs are essentially irrelevant. A lot of people make assumptions about why Dickel and Daniel's aren't labeled as bourbon and all those assumptions are wrong. They aren't labeled as bourbon because they choose not to be.

Chuck, I've often heard that JD got the DOT or some agency to issue a letter or opinion recognizing Tennessee Whiskey as a distinct classification, yet I've never seen the text of such a letter. Can you shed some light on this issue? Does such a letter exist and have you seen it? What is it's weight or authority?

cowdery
02-21-2009, 22:50
See Bourbon, Straight (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com/bourst.html), page 122.

In 1941, Reagor Motlow solicited and received a letter from the Alcohol Tax Unit of the Treasury Department acknowledging that Tennessee whiskey is distinct from bourbon. Motlow's concern was that because his product met all the requirements for bourbon, it might be required to label itself as bourbon. He wanted, and got, a piece of paper from the government that said "Tennessee whiskey is not bourbon." That is, however, all it says. It gives no reasons. About all I can say about its weight and authority is that it has been sufficient for the purposes for which the company uses it.

mrt
02-22-2009, 04:08
Many thanks for both the question and the informative replies. Whenever I come across a JD bottle on the shelves, I used to consider "....this is American whiskey too....but not a bourbon...should I go for a bourbon anyway?" :) After this thread, I will feel free.

sotnsipper
02-22-2009, 10:02
The fact that both Jack and George have very little rye in their mash bills probably has more to do with their taste than the Lincoln County Process does.



Both TN whiskies have a high corn mashbill with very little rye, so they are less balanced than many bourbons.


Both JD and GD have less than 10% rye and barley on their mash bills making them very high in corn. If I remember correctly, JD is 6% rye and 8% barley and GD is 8% on both rye and barley. The rest is corn.

craigthom
02-22-2009, 10:09
I remember from the tour that JD is 80% corn. The other grains are divided 12% and 8%. I just don't remember which is which. I think the 12% was the malted barley, which leaves only 8% for the barley. Either way, there's not much in there besides corn.

sotnsipper
02-22-2009, 10:25
I remember from the tour that JD is 80% corn. The other grains are divided 12% and 8%. I just don't remember which is which.

You are right, but it is 8 rye and 12 barley.