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  1. #1
    Novice
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    Feb 2009
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    Maryland
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    Tennessee vs. Bourbon

    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.

  2. #2
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Tennessee vs. Bourbon

    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 years
    Tennessee Whiskies break rule number 2 because they are run through charcoal prior to barreling. This is considered an additive.
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  3. #3
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Tennessee vs. Bourbon

    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.

  4. #4
    Advanced Taster
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    Dec 2008
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    Chicago Area, Illinois
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    121

    Re: Tennessee vs. Bourbon

    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.[1]
    • Bourbon must be distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume).
    • Bourbon must be 100% natural (nothing other than water added to the mixture).
    • Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels.[1]
    • 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]
    • 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, 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.

  5. #5
    Novice
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    Feb 2009
    Location
    Maryland
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    9

    Re: Tennessee vs. Bourbon

    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?

  6. #6
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Tennessee vs. Bourbon

    Personally I find TN Whiskey has more of a "chemical sweetness" especially the JD bottles.
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
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    Sep 2006
    Location
    Arkansas
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    982

    Re: Tennessee vs. Bourbon

    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.

  8. #8
    Moderator
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    Mar 2008
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    Illinois
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    Re: Tennessee vs. Bourbon

    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. They also get pissed at me when I give them a hard time and tell them that bourbon is like JD with flavor. Anyway, to each their own. To quote somebody,"It's all good!". Joe
    " I never met a Weller I didn't like"

  9. #9
    Disciple
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    Sep 2008
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    Portland, Maine
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    Re: Tennessee vs. Bourbon

    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.
    Last edited by funknik; 02-19-2009 at 07:33.
    "A person can work up a mean, mean thirst after a hard day of nothing much at all . . . "

    Andy

  10. #10
    Advanced Taster
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    Mar 2008
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    Murfreesboro, TN
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    176

    Re: Tennessee vs. Bourbon

    Quote Originally Posted by funknik View Post
    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.
    Rye, The Spice Of Life.

 

 

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