Is Tennessee Whiskey Different to Bourbon?
We recently discussed the difference between whiskey and bourbon, which got us talking about Tennessee Whiskey and whether it’s different to bourbon. In short the answer is yes Tennessee whiskey is different to bourbon, but the lines are a little blurred…as most Tennessee whiskeys would technically also satisfy the criteria to be called a bourbon.
So much in the same way all bourbons are whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon…the same could be said that most Tennessee whiskeys are bourbon but not all bourbons are Tennessee whiskey.
So What Exactly Makes a Tennessee Whiskey Different to Bourbon?
Tennessee whiskey, such as the hugely famous and popular Jack Daniels, are typically bourbon whiskeys which are distilled in Tennessee and go through an additional filtration or steeping process before being aged in oak barrels. This filtration or steeping varies from distiller to distiller but typically uses maple charcoal. The laws around Tennessee whisky definition don’t define the exact rules around this process, resulting in some distillers filtering the whiskey while others steep maple charcoal with the whiskey.
Regardless of the above process chosen, this additional process using charcoal and the geographic requirement to be distilled in the great state of Tennessee are the key factors which make Tennessee whiskey different to bourbons. The difference is quite minimal…but try telling that to a proud Tennessee whiskey drinker.