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

Uncle Nearest Master Blend Edition Premium Tennessee Whiskey
96 points
$149
Simply delicious, this is dessert in a glass. The aromas and flavors transport you to a summer afternoon indulging at your favorite ice cream parlor.
Awards: 2022 Best Tennessee Whiskey
Uncle Nearest 11 Year 1820 Premium Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey Barrel No. US-53
95 points
$120
A round, somewhat floral Tennessee Whiskey with luxurious vanilla flavor.
Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Tennessee Whiskey
94 points
$59
A pastry shoppe in an old west saloon; delectable sweet flavors and aromas make this Whiskey too easy to sip and forget about the strength beneath.
Davidson Reserve Single Barrel No. 15-0026 Small Batch Tennessee Straight Sour Mash Whiskey
92 points
$59
A rich, oaky Tennessee Whiskey with all the dark, mysterious flavors.
Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Tennessee Whiskey
88 points
$49
A rich and round Whiskey with bushels of cherry flavor.
The Clover 10 Year Old Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey
88 points
$69
Distinctively dry and chocolate-y, this rock-solid Tennessee Whiskey delivers.
James Younger Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
88 points
$13.99
Best Buy
A smooth and easy-drinking Tennessee whiskey with lots of appeal.
88 points $13.99 Best Buy
Wanderin’ Rogue Batch No. 057 Tennessee Whiskey
87 points
$22
A rock solid Tennessee Whiskey with sweet corn character and a rich, satisfying palate.
Elvis Straight Tennessee Whiskey
86 points
$49
Light and grain forward, this is a pleasantly soft sipper that would make an excellent Highball.
Trader Joe’s Tennessee Whiskey
84 points
$13.99
A dense and spicy Tennessee whiskey for cocktails.
84 points $13.99