Jack Daniels is not a Bourbon
Like bourbon, however, it’s strictly a product of the United States...and more specifically, the hills of Tennessee.
The production of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey begins with the careful selection of the finest corn,
rye and barley malt.
These choice grains are mixed with the water from their own cave spring to form a fermentable mixture called 'mash.'
Jack Daniel’s is made by the old 'sour mash process.' Of course, there is nothing really 'sour' about Sour Mash Whiskey.
It's called sour mash because the distiller uses part of the previous day’s mash to start the fermentation in each new batch.
Therefore, all of the mash is 'related.
The end result of the fermentation process is stiller’s beer, which is sent on to the still for distillation.
If Jack Daniel’s were to be placed in a barrel and aged immediately after distillation,
it would be a bourbon.
However, that is not the case. The whiskey is trickled very slowly
through 10 feet of hard maple charcoal, right after distillation.
It's this extra step
in the whiskey-making process that makes Jack Daniel’s more than a bourbon...and provides
the special character known only to Tennessee Whiskey. This mellowing process is accomplished
by the use of hard maple charcoal that is produce in a very special and traditional way.
In the fall of the year, when the sap is down, hard maple trees from high ground are cut.
The logs are aged for a year, sawed into slats and carefully stacked into ricks.
The ricks are burned in the open air to produce a pure charcoal,
which is ground up and tightly packed in the mellowing vats.
Following the charcoal-mellowing process, Jack Daniel’s is placed into
charred white oak barrels for storage and aging in our warehouses.
As the whiskey ages, the extreme temperature changes of the passing seasons
cause the whiskey to expand and contract, driving the whiskey deeper into and out of
the wood of the barrel each year. Hot summers age whiskey faster than cool ones.
At Jack Daniel’s they have found the optimum aging to be between four and six years.
Maturity, therefore, is a matter of judgment...taste
judgment...and not a matter of counting days, months or even years.