For years, when anyone thought of whiskey coming out of Tennessee, the only names that came to mind were Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel (for those in the know). But, in the last few decades, Tennessee whiskey has come to mean more than just two brands—although both are still cranking out high-quality whiskeys. Before we delve into some of the best Tennessee whiskeys to drink right now, we need to clear something up.
While there are various types of whiskey made in the “Volunteer State,” including rye and bourbon, it’s the simple Tennessee whiskey the state is most known for. And this is where it gets a little confusing for some whiskey drinkers. There’s a fierce debate as to whether or not Jack Daniel’s and other Tennessee whiskeys are actually bourbons.
We might get into some trouble, but here goes. Tennessee whiskey simply means a straight whiskey that’s made in (you guessed it) Tennessee. While not actually called bourbon, the process is remarkably similar. Most Tennessee whiskey uses the charcoal filtering step referred to as the Lincoln County Process before maturation begins. Other than that, the requirements to be considered a Tennessee whiskey are almost the same as bourbon. So, it’s pretty much up to you—and, thus, the debate rages on.
As we previously mentioned, while the state is most known for Tennessee whiskeys like George Dickel and Jack Daniel’s, you can also find distilleries crafting bourbon, rye, and even single malt whiskey. Below, you’ll find 10 of our favorite Tennessee-produced whiskeys, proving once and for all that the state is figuratively saturated with great whiskey and not simply in Lynchburg and Tullahoma.
Best Tennessee Whiskeys to Drink Right Now
1. George Dickel 15 Year Single Barrel Whiskey
No Tennessee whiskey list is complete without a mention of George Dickel. Produced in Tullahoma, TN, this beloved brand is an institution in the state. One of its best is its Single Barrel. While the proof varies from barrel to barrel, you can expect a bottle to be around 100 proof. This mellow, easy-drinking whiskey has a mash bill of 84 percent corn, 8 percent rye, and 8 percent malted barley. Matured for fifteen years, the result is a warming, rich whiskey with notes of caramel apples, cinnamon, vanilla, and rich oak.
[$65.99; georgedickel.com]Get it
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