The Five Biggest Bourbon Myths

Locations: Kentucky Tennessee


From our Friends

Discussion (33)

  • albert_pacino_little_friend_1cd552b posted 6 months ago

    "JACK DANIEL’S IS BOURBON"

    Jack Daniel’s is a bourbon; the "Lincoln County Process" (LCP) was a marketeering gimmick defined in a 1941 Internal Revenue Service ruling issued at the request of the Jack Daniel's distillery.

    The term Tennessee Whiskey does not have a legal definition in the U.S. Federal regulations that define the Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits and NAFTA defines Tennessee whiskey is "a straight Bourbon Whiskey authorized to be produced only in the State of Tennessee" (this is also the same definition Canadian law recognizes).

    To illustrate that the LCP is just an capricious state definition used for marketing their beloved tax revenue cash cow in 2013, the governor of Tennessee signed House Bill 1084, requiring the LCP to be used for whiskey produced in the state using the label “Tennessee Whiskey", but absolutely arbitrarily exempted another Tennessee Whiskey producer (Benjamin Prichard's) from having to conform to that definition.

    In any case it should be noted that the 2013 Tennessee state definition fully fits within existing legal requirements defined for bourbon production.

    To illustrate the artificial distinction of the Tennessee Whiskey definition, if the JD marketing department tomorrow decided to rebrand and label their product as a bourbon they could without violating any legal definition, state, federal, or international.

    Moreover charcoal filtration is not unique to JD, and is also used in the production of spirits other than bourbon.

    So if a consumer feels that their bourbon tastes better for having the words "Tennessee Whiskey" on the label more power to the JD marketing department, but to me it will always be an overpriced brand with a rabid cult following (especially within the military) that I best remember for cutting down their alcohol content to 80 proof from the original 90 for greed-driven marketeering.

  • oltexan posted 8 months ago

    Regarding aging, I can remember back in the 70s when Jack Daniels became extremely popular. The Black used to be labeled 7 Years Old, and the Green 4. When demand started to exceed supply, it suddenly became "Old No. 7" and they quit talking about age. Age definitely matters with bourbon and it always has, as is true of most of the great whiskeys of the world.

  • kerby.rok.620bd posted 1 year ago

    Jack Daniels meets all legal requirements for a Bourbon. The company it self chooses not to be called a bourbon.

  • daleabertram@ymail.com posted 1 year ago

    All true bourbons are from Kentucky. Others are not true because they are not Bourbon county whiskey.

  • jasonq posted 1 year ago

    @Liquor.com: "as no brand has ever tried to label a charcoal-filtered whiskey as bourbon."

    Ezra Brooks is a charcoal-filtered bourbon. Evan Williams Black Label is too - says so right on the label.

  • smallzie01.8a3e posted 1 year ago

    Bourbon is not charcoal filtered such as JD. The sugar charcoal filtering process is considered an additive. Additives are not allowed in bourbon. All bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon. I'm a former bourbon maker from the heart of bourbon country in Kentucky. Jack is good but Woodford rocks.

  • Lance_Steel posted 2 years ago

    Also as far as I know there is no regulation specific to bourbon prohibiting additives, charcoal or otherwise. What you may be confusing are the regulations prohibiting additives to American "straight" whiskey.

  • Lance_Steel posted 2 years ago

    By the way, Jim Beam Choice is a Kentucky charcoal filtered bourbon.

  • Lance_Steel posted 2 years ago

    Not true.

    These are the US legal requirements for bourbon designated for US consumption as defined by
    the Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits (27 C.F.R. 5):

    1) Produced in the United States.
    2) Made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn.
    3) Aged in new, charred oak barrels.
    4) Distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume).
    5) Entered into the barrel for aging at no more than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume).
    6) Bottled (like other whiskeys) at 80 proof or more (40% alcohol by volume).

    Jack Daniels fits into these criteria, regardless if their marketing department prefers "Tennessee Whiskey".

    To illustrate, all Tennessee Whiskies are bourbons, but not all bourbons are Tennessee whiskies.

    the "Lincoln County Process" (LCP) was a gimmick defined in a 1941 Internal Revenue Service ruling issued at the request of the Jack Daniel's distillery.

    The term Tennessee Whiskey does not have a legal definition in the U.S. Federal regulations that define the Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits and NAFTA defines Tennessee whiskey is "a straight Bourbon Whiskey authorized to be produced only in the State of Tennessee" (this is also the same definition Canadian law recognizes).

    To illustrate that the LCP is just an capricious state definition used for marketing their beloved tax revenue cash cow, in 2013 the governor of Tennessee signed House Bill 1084, requiring the LCP to be used for whiskey produced in the state using the label “Tennessee Whiskey", but absolutely arbitrarily exempted another Tennessee Whiskey producer (Benjamin Prichard's) from having to conform to that definition.

    In any case it should be noted that the 2013 Tennessee state definition fully fits within existing legal requirements defined for bourbon production.

    To illustrate the artificial distinction of the Tennessee Whiskey definition, if the JD marketing department tomorrow decided to rebrand and label their product as a bourbon they could without violating any legal definition, state, federal, or international.

    Moreover charcoal filtration is not unique to JD, and is also used in the production of spirits other than bourbon.

    So if a consumer feels that their bourbon tastes better for having the words "Tennessee Whiskey" on the label more power to the JD marketing department, but to me it will always be an overpriced brand with a rabid cult following (especially within the military) that I best remember for cutting down their alcohol content to 80 proof from the original 90 for greed-driven marketeering.

  • Lance_Steel posted 2 years ago

    The thing to consider is that the legal definition of bourbon does not exclude Tennessee whiskies. As per my example if I convince lawyers, politicians, and regulators that dripping bourbon over a pyramid creates a new class of whiskey it doesn’t magically cease to be bourbon.

    Here’s a straightforward question to illustrate my point, if JD tomorrow decided to start labelling their whiskey as a bourbon would they be breaking any laws?

    So in the end JD is a bourbon in the general sense as it meets the minimum requirements for this definition, but most specifically it is a “Harmonically Attuned Spirit”, whoops I mean a “Tennessee Whiskey” because it interacts with charcoal chips prior to being barreled.

    This whole distinction started back in 1941 when the JD distillery requested the IRS to make a distinction of “Tennessee Whiskey” from bourbon based on the Lincoln County Process, but there is no such legal definition in the U.S. Federal regulations that define the Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits.

    In actuality the only legal definition of the term Tennessee Whiskey in U.S. federally recognized legislation occurs in NAFTA, which states only that Tennessee whiskey is "a straight Bourbon Whiskey authorized to be produced only in the State of Tennessee, and yet it doesn’t even require the use of Lincoln County Process.

    To illustrate just how arbitrary and capricious the definition is, in 2013, the governor of Tennessee signed House Bill 1084, requiring the Lincoln County process to be used for products produced in the state labeling themselves as "Tennessee Whiskey" and yet specifically exempted Benjamin Prichard's because they don’t use the process; nonetheless this was tacked onto, guess what, the existing legal requirements for bourbon production.

    Distillers use various materials to treat their product to remove congeners and still fit within the definition of their respective base spirits, the difference with JD is that they have solicited politicians to create a unique definition for themselves within the bourbon category to increase their profitability.

    I prefer not to play such semantics games, so JD is a bourbon with a history of politically influenced marketeering strategies.


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