Is Jack Daniel’s Whiskey or Bourbon? 

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“Is it whiskey or bourbon?” – This is a question that comes up regularly with regard to Jack Daniel’s, one of the world’s best-selling alcoholic beverages. In this article, I will help you quelch all your doubts related to Jack Daniel’s! 

Jack Daniel’s is a type of Whiskey. A lot of people tend to think otherwise as the taste of the extremely popular brand of Tennessee Whiskey bears a close resemblance to the taste of Bourbon whisky. In fact, a lot of similarities can be observed in the distillation processes and ingredients as well. 

There are different variations of whiskey available across the globe.  These include Scotch, Malt whiskey, rye whiskey, bourbon, and more! Jack Daniel’s is a type of Tennessee whiskey which originated in Tennessee, USA, and has a rich sweet taste. It also has a distinct aroma that is loved and enjoyed globally. 

Read on to know more!


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Is Jack Daniel’s a Rye or Bourbon? 

Bourbon may enjoy a lot of popularity across the globe but Jack Daniel’s, a type of Tennessee Whiskey, is the most popular whiskey across America. In this article, I will explore the key differences between a rye, bourbon, and Tennessee Whiskey. 

For the uninitiated, both Bourbon and Rye are types of American whiskey. It is important to note that all Bourbon and Rye are whiskeys but not all whiskeys are Bourbon and Rye.

A type of Whiskey, Bourbon bears a sweet, wood, vanilla, and caramel taste. It is made out of 51% corn, barley malt, and rye and is high in corn content just like Tennessee whiskey.  

The aging process of Bourbon takes place in charred new oak barrels over a period of two years. When it is put into the barrels, the ABV level shouldn’t be any more than 62.5%. Following the aging process, it should be bottled up between 40% and 80% ABV level.

Rye whiskey bears a spicy and light taste and the main component of this alcoholic beverage is rye. Other key ingredients include corn and barley. Just like Bourbon, rye is also aged in oak barrels and must be kept in the barrels at no more than 62.5% ABV level. 

The differences between Bourbon, Tennessee whiskey, and Rye whiskey lie in the preparation processes and the types of ingredients used. Tennessee whiskey originated in Tennessee and contains 51% corn, rye, wheat, and barley. 

The sweet and charcoal taste is the result of the charcoal filtering process that the whiskey is made to undergo. This whiskey also exudes a rich aroma of this whiskey which is enjoyed by whiskey enthusiasts across the world. 

It is clear from the information provided above that the preparation process of Tennessee Whiskey brands like Jack Daniel’s varies from the preparation process for Bourbon and Rye whiskey. 


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Is Jack Daniel’s a Bourbon or Scotch? 

Jack Daniel’s is a type of Tennessee Whiskey which is known all over the world for its sweet and charcoal taste. As the name suggests, Tennessee Whiskey originated in Tennessee, USA. Jack Daniel’s is not a type of Scotch drink as the latter originated in Scotland. 

A whisky can be a Scotch only if it has been produced and bottled in Scotland. Unlike Bourbon or Tennessee Whiskey, Scotch bears a smoky taste and it can be either malt whisky or grain whisky. 

This type of whiskey generally offers different types of aromas including cereal, fruity, floral, woody, feint, and winey, among other things. Originally, all types of Scotch whiskey used to be made out of malted barley. 

As seen earlier, Bourbon is also a type of whiskey but there are some additional processes that are to be kept in mind during its preparation. The aging process of whisky has to take place in reusable barrels unlike the preparation process for Bourbon which requires charred, new oak barrels. 

It can, therefore, be concluded that Jack Daniel’s is neither Bourbon or Scotch. The charcoal taste of this popular Tennessee whiskey is a result of the Lincoln County Process wherein its charcoal is filtered. 

This type of whiskey also has to undergo the aging process in charred new oak barrels for at least a period of two years and its ABV level should be a minimum of 40%. Jack Daniel’s is prepared via charcoal mellowing wherein the whiskey has to be drained through a whopping 10 feet of maple sugar charcoal.  

Is Jack Daniel’s a Malt Whiskey? 

No, Jack Daniel’s is not a type of malt whiskey. If you look into the preparation process of Jack Daniel’s as well as the main ingredients, it becomes evident that it is not a type of single malt whiskey. If you are new to the extensive and colorful world of whiskey, you must know what single malt means. 

Single malt means that the product should come from a single distillery and it has to be exclusively barley in the case of single malt. This implies that Jack Daniel’s cannot be a malt whiskey. It is a type of Tennessee whiskey which contains 51% corn as well as specific amounts of rye, wheat, and barley. 

Why Is Jack Daniel’s Not Considered a Bourbon? 

Jack Daniel’s is a type of Tennessee Whiskey which is different from Bourbon. The latter may be a type of whiskey but its preparation process includes certain extra rules. 

However, we should first look at the similarities between Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon. Both of these whiskeys originated in the USA and undergo the aging process inside charred new oak barrels or virgin oak barrels. 

Additionally, both of them contain 51% corn and have the same requirement when it comes to minimum ABV level. 

The main difference, however, is the preparation process. Jack Daniel’s undergoes the Lincoln County Process prior to aging inside the barrel.  Unlike Jack Daniel’s and other brands of Tennessee Whiskey, Bourbon does not have to go through the charcoal filtering process. 

Due to the similarities that exist between Jack Daniel’s and lots of Bourbon brands, people tend to consider them to be the same type of whiskey. However, the makers of Jack Daniel’s themselves insist that it is not Bourbon and have taken steps to prevent the federal government from referring to it as such. 

Jack Daniel’s Alcohol Whiskey Percentage 

Jack Daniel’s is a type of American whiskey which comes from Tennessee, USA. It undergoes the charcoal filtering process which lends the beverage charcoal and sweet flavor. 

Prior to 1987, Jack Daniel’s black volume would be produced at 45% ABV (Alcohol by Volume) level or 90 U.S. proof. After 1987, the black label was brought down to 80 U.S. proof. Jack Daniel’s underwent another dilution process in 2002. 

In 2002, the alcohol content was further brought down to 80 U.S. proof or 40% ABV level. Thus, Jack Daniel’s undergoes the aging process in virgin oak barrels and must be at 80 U.S. proof or 40% ABV. 

Is Jack Daniel’s a Blended Whiskey? 

Blended whiskey originated in the USA and it is different from bourbon or Tennessee whiskey. Blended whiskey is required to contain a minimum of 20% straight, pure whiskey. Makers of this type of whiskey mix the unadulterated alcohol content with neutral spirits or other whiskeys that are higher-proof in nature. 

It is important to note that despite containing straight whiskey that has been aged, the final mixed product does not have to undergo the aging process. 

Unlike the definitive charcoal and sweet taste that is the hallmark of Jack Daniel’s and other brands of Tennessee Whiskey, blended whiskey brands generally don’t have any distinct characteristics. 

It is evident from the above-mentioned facts that Jack Daniel’s is not a type of blended whiskey. However, a lot of people tend to associate blended whiskey with bourbon. 

Related Questions 

What Does Jack Daniel’s Taste Like?

Jack Daniel’s whiskey has a distinctive sweet and charcoal taste. It is due to the charcoal filtering process that brands of Tennessee Whiskey have to undergo. According to whiskey enthusiasts, the aftertaste is similar to the taste of dark chocolate and orange. 

Does Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Have a Distinct Aroma? 

Jack Daniel’s whiskey comes equipped with a distinctive smell. Its unique smell which is a pleasant amalgamation of fruity sweetness, vanilla custard, banana, and oak sets it apart from other types of whiskey. 

What Are the Various Types of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey? 

There are mainly four types of Jack Daniel’s whiskey. More variations exist when it comes to ABV level. The original Jack Daniel’s whiskey is Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7. Meanwhile, the other varieties include Gentlemen Jack, Tennessee Honey, and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel. 

Sometimes, the distillery responsible for the production of this whiskey also comes up with limited editions. 

Where Does the Distillation of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Take Place?

Jack Daniel’s is a type of Tennessee Whiskey that originated in Tennessee. The distillery responsible for the production of this whiskey is located in Moore County, Tennessee. 

Final Words

The preparation processes for both Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey may have a lot of similarities but the charcoal filtering process sets the latter apart from the rest. Contrary to popular belief, Jack Daniel’s is a type of Tennessee whiskey and its distillation process takes place in Tennessee, USA. 

If you are interested in exploring the wide variations of whiskey that exist around the globe or simply wish to enjoy a good drink, Jack Daniel’s whiskey has got you covered. You can also use this beverage to create a great number of fun cocktails! 

Chad Smith

Meet Chad Smith, a seasoned bartender with a passion for mixology. He's the founder of Tin Roof Drink Community, a blog where he shares expert tips, creative recipes, and fosters a vibrant community of cocktail enthusiasts and aspiring bartenders. Join Chad as he takes you on a flavorful journey through the world of drinks. Cheers!

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