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The Age-Old Rivalry: Decoding Tennessee Whiskey vs. Kentucky Bourbon – Tennessean

The Age-Old Rivalry: Decoding Tennessee Whiskey vs. Kentucky Bourbon – Tennessean

A Historic Rivalry: Tennessee Whiskey vs. Kentucky Bourbon

Let’s face it, the battle between Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky bourbon is something everyone loves to dissect. Rivalries are fascinating, aren’t they? They create an air of suspense and excitement, and when it comes to the world of whiskey, things become even more interesting.

A Tale of Two Drinks

From their distinctive tastes to their unique methods of production, Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky Bourbon are like two sides of a coin. Sure, you could argue that they’re made of the same ‘bushel and a peck,’ but then you’d be missing the point. These spirits have an age-old history and are born from different methodologies that result in two incredibly distinctive drinks.

The Land of Jack Daniel’s: Tennessee Whiskey

For the uninitiated, Tennessee whiskey is bourbon’s mellower cousin from the South. Made in Tennessee, as the name suggests, this beverage is considered a straight bourbon made strictly following certain regulations.

The Lincoln County Process

What sets Tennessee whiskey apart is an extra step in the distillation process called the Lincoln County Process. This involves filtering the spirit through a thick layer of sugar maple charcoal before putting it into barrels. The process infuses the whiskey with a distinct smoky and sweet flavor that sets it apart from its counterparts.

The Tennessee Taste

If you’ve ever tasted Tennessee whiskey, you’ll realize it’s warm and full-bodied, with an alluring tinge of caramel and vanilla. Its consistency is velvety and there is an unmistakable smoothness that embraces your tastebuds. It’s no wonder brands like Jack Daniels and George Dickel have established such loyal followings!

The Birthplace of Bourbon: Kentucky

Now, let’s switch gears and head over to the Bluegrass State, the birthplace of bourbon. Despite its rich, buttery flavor, bourbon follows a few strict laws to earn its name.

The Corn and the Char

Specifically, to be considered a bourbon, the spirit must be made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn and aged in new charred-oak barrels. The corn brings in a sweetness, while the heavily charred barrels infuse the spirit with its trademark caramel color and an oaky, rich flavor.

The Kentucky Kick

Kentucky bourbon makes its presence known. It’s robust and full of personality. When sipped, you’ll find deep hints of vanilla and caramel, just like Tennessee whiskey, but there’s also a kick of spice that really sets it apart. Brands such as Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark are known worldwide for their exquisite bourbons.

Tennessee Whiskey vs. Kentucky Bourbon: The Verdict

So, where do we land in the Tennessee whiskey vs. Kentucky bourbon debate? Well, it’s all down to personal preference. While the two spirits may appear the same on the surface, their individual nuances and varieties create a unique experience with each sip.

Ultimately, whether you reach for a bottle of liquid sunshine from Tennessee or an oaky delight from Kentucky, there’s no denying both are winners in their own right. And isn’t that what a great rivalry should be about?

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Written by Emma Jones

Emma Jones has been writing about the spirits industry for the past five years. She has a degree in journalism and has written for several publications. Emma is passionate about the history and culture of whiskey and bourbon, and loves to share her knowledge with her readers. She is an active member of the Bourbon Women Association and the Kentucky Distillers Association. Emma is also a frequent speaker at whiskey and bourbon events, and has been featured in several publications and podcasts. She is dedicated to educating her readers on the history and culture of whiskey and bourbon, and is always looking for new ways to share her knowledge.

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