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 Whiskey Blend No. 002
97 points
$149
Golden amber color. Inviting, elegant aromas of kirsch, ripe fig, fine leather, caramelized mango, and spice cake with a lightly tannic, vibrant, dry medium-full body and a warming, subtle, very long graham cracker crust, tropical fruit tart, and cafe au lait finish. Fantastic flavor integration and hints of tropical fruit make this a MAMMOTH knockout Tennessee Whiskey.
Awards: 2021 Best Tennessee Whiskey
Uncle Nearest Master Blend Edition Premium Whiskey Blend No. 002
97 points
$149
Golden amber color. Inviting, elegant aromas and flavors of kirsch, ripe fig, fine leather, caramelized mango, and spice cake with a lightly tannic, vibrant, dry medium-full body and a warming, subtle, very long finish with shades of graham cracker crust, tropical fruit tart, and cafe au lait. Fantastic flavor integration and hints of tropical fruit make this a mammoth knockout Tennessee Whiskey.
Awards: 2021 Best Tennessee Whiskey
Uncle Nearest 1884 Premium Small Batch Tennessee Whiskey
95 points
$49
Golden amber color. Aromas of vanilla-almond bark, honey-roasted peanuts, ripe orange, mahogany, and hints of pine with a satiny, lively, dry medium body and a warming, elegant, very long candied cherries, dates, toasted coconut, dark chocolate, and hints of white flowers finish. A delicious Tennessee Whiskey with elegant floral nuances and seamless integration of flavors.
Uncle Nearest 11 Year 1820 Premium Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey Barrel No. US-53
95 points
$120
Golden amber color. Aromas of fine black tea, cigars, vanilla bean, lily, and speculoos cookies with a round, dryish medium-to-full body and a warming, layered, very long graham cracker crust, spice cake, chess pie, and pecan praline finish. A round, somewhat floral Tennessee Whiskey with luxurious vanilla flavor.
Uncle Nearest 1884 Premium Small Batch Tennessee Whiskey
95 points
$49
Golden amber color. Aromas of vanilla-almond bark, honey-roasted peanuts, ripe orange, mahogany, and hints of pine with a satiny, lively, dry medium body and a warming, complex, very long candied cherries, dates, toasted coconut, dark chocolate, and hints of white flowers finish. A delicious Tennessee Whiskey with elegant floral nuances and seamless integration of flavors.
Uncle Nearest 11 Year 1820 Premium Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey Barrel No. US-53
95 points
$120
Golden amber color. Aromas of fine black tea, cigars, vanilla bean, lily, and speculoos cookies with a round, dryish medium-to-full body and a warming, nuanced, very long graham cracker crust, spice cake, chess pie, and pecan praline finish. A round, somewhat floral Tennessee Whiskey with luxurious vanilla flavor.
Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Tennessee Whiskey
94 points
$59
Amber color. Aromas of cajeta, nut brittle, artisan peanut butter, honey, cafe mocha, and graham cracker with a velvety, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a warming, elegant, very long caramel buttercream and vanilla bean finish. A decadent, undulating Tennessee Whiskey of great refinement.
Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Tennessee Whiskey
94 points
$59
Amber color. Aromas of cajeta, nut brittle, artisan peanut butter, honey, cafe mocha, and graham cracker with a velvety, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a warming, complex, very long caramel buttercream and vanilla bean finish. A decadent, undulating Tennessee Whiskey of great refinement.
Davidson Reserve Single Barrel No. 15-0026 Small Batch Tennessee Straight Sour Mash Whiskey
92 points
$59
Copper color. Aromas of chocolate malt shake, gingerbread cookies, brown sugar-tossed sweet plantains, licorice, freshly sawn oak, and maple with a lightly tannic, vibrant, dry full body and a hot, interesting, long carob, date cake, marcona almonds, and licorice finish. A rich, oaky Tennessee Whiskey with all the dark, mysterious flavors.
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