About Tennessee Whiskey

About Tennessee Whiskey
Tennessee Whisky must contain a minimum of 51% corn, be produced in Tennessee, be distilled at less than 80% ABV (160 proof), filtered through a bed of sugar maple charcoal, and be aged for a minimum of two years in new charred barrels.

The Taste: The taste descriptors for Tennessee whisky tend to parallel those of its Kentucky cousin. The distinction and the difference comes on the finish which is long, clean, and very, very smooth—a result of the final sugar maple charcoal filtration. Legally, Tennessee whiskeys could be sold as Bourbon; but the two Volunteer State distillers are proud enough of their “sipping whisky” to insist that the difference be known to all.

Tennessee whiskey is a first cousin of Bourbon, with virtually an identical history. The same sort of people used the same sort of grains and the same sort of production techniques to produce a style of whiskey that, remarkably, is noticeably different. The early whiskey distillers in Tennessee, for reasons that are lost in the mists of history, added a final step to their production process when they began filtering their whiskey through thick beds of sugar maple charcoal. This filtration removes some of the congeners (flavor elements) in the spirit and creates a smooth, mellow palate. The two remaining distillers in the state continue this tradition, which a distiller at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery once described as being "same church, different pew."

Top Picks for Tennessee Whiskey

Flynt Family Single Cask Series Cask Strength Straight Tennessee Whiskey
93 points
$89
Bright gold color. Aromas of cinnamon caramel, honey and cherry syrup, roasted pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, and cracklin’ oat bran cereal with a round, full body and a peppery, layered, long honeydew melon, kiwi, ginger toffee, cinnamon, clove, coconut, and rose jam on biscuit finish. An endlessly complex and unique Tennessee Whiskey worth volunteering for.
King’s Creek 9 Year Old Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
91 points
$39.99
Golden amber color. Artificial aromas of silky whipped cream, roasted peach, snickerdoodle cookies, pie crust, caramel, and sweet tea with lemon with a silky, crisp, fruity light-to-medium body and an even, complex, long dried mint, caramelized nuts, chocolate covered salted toffee, toasted coffee cake, cigar ash, and candied cherry finish. A super-solid, smooth and mild Tennessee whiskey.
91 points $39.99
Kirkland Signature Tennessee Whiskey
88 points
$24.99
Golden amber color. Roasted aromas and flavors of honey roasted nuts and grains, charcoal, and honey baked cherry with a silky, lively, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, breezy vanilla cream and pepper finish. A spicy, grainy whiskey that will cut through nicely in cocktails.
88 points $24.99