Two of the most popular brands of alcohol in the United States are Jim Beam and Jack Daniels. If you’re attending a party, sitting at a bar, or relaxing with some friends, chances are good that you’ll see one or both of these labels.
However, many people believe that these two beverages are one in the same, or very similar to one another. The truth is, Jim Beam and Jack Daniels are distinctly different in several ways. For example, one is a bourbon made in Kentucky, while the other is a whiskey distilled in Tennessee.
For our Jim Beam and Jack Daniels comparison, we’ll dig down into what makes these two labels so successful, what they have in common, and how they differ.
Let’s get started with some of the differences between the two.
The Main Differences Between Jim Beam vs Jack Daniels
The main differences between Jim Beam vs Jack Daniels are:
- Jim Beam is a bourbon, which is a type of whiskey, whereas Jack Daniels, is a sour mash whiskey, identified as a Tennessee whiskey.
- Jack Daniels is made in Tennessee, whereas Jim Beam comes from Kentucky.
- Jim Beam is aged for 4 years, whereas Jack Daniels is aged from 4 to 12 years in order to get the same taste.
- Jim Beam is bottled at 86 proof, whereas Jack Daniels is bottled at 80 proof.
Let’s move on to Jim Beam. This Kentucky bourbon whiskey is owned and operated by Beam Suntory. What surprises most people is that Jim Beam is the number one selling bourbon brand around the globe (note the distinction from whiskey).
Established in 1795, Jim Beam has been managed by the same family for seven generations. This Kentucky bourbon has used the same formula and process since it was founded in the 18th century.
Johannes “Jacob” Boehm established the first Jim Beam distillery. Although he was of German descent, Jacob later changed his last name to the more anglo-sounding “Beam.”
It was announced in 2014 that Jim Beam, Inc. was going to be sold to a Japanese group for $13.6 billion USD. These distillers and brewers, who are part of Suntory Holdings, Ltd., are known for developing the first whiskey in Japan.
When the Jim Beam and Suntory Holdings portfolios are combined, they boast an imposing lineup. Their offerings include the following:
- Jim Beam bourbon
- Bowmore Scotch whiskey
- Canadian Club whiskey
- Courvoisier cognac
- Knob Creek bourbon
- Marker’s Mark bourbon
- Midori liqueur
- Pinnacle vodka
- Suntory’s Yamazaki and Hakushu whiskeys
You can find Jim Beam bourbon in over 200 countries and territories around the world. The countries in which Jim Beam is most popular include:
- United States
The Jim Beam lineup is extensive and offers a wide variety of options. Here’s a look at some of the more popular choices from Jim Beam:
This complex yet rich whiskey includes hints of butterscotch, fudge, fruits, cereals, and sweet spice. It has a long finish and smells of oak and smoke.
Jim Beam Devil’s Cut
Devil’s Cut has a woody and complex taste, which is dominated by oak and vanilla. If you like sweet whiskey, this is the perfect choice for you. This option from Jim Beam is infused with the whiskey from its wooden casks.
Jim Beam Distiller’s Masterpiece
This offering from Jim Beam consists of sweet almonds, brown sugar, and provides hints of rye and wood aromas. Distillers Masterpiece is a well-balanced and soft whiskey, which includes notes of cooked fruits and caramelized sugar.
Jim Beam Green Label
The Green Label selection from Jim Beam is aged for five years. It is charcoal filtered and offers a smooth, smokey taste. This is the ideal choice for those who enjoy bourbon cocktails.
Jim Beam Jacob’s Ghost
Jacob’s Ghost is a white whiskey that is aged in white oak barrels for one year, then filtered. The taste of this whiskey will have you thinking of sweet cereals and a day at the beach.
Jim Beam Signature Craft
Signature Craft agest for over a decade (12 years to be exact) in oak casks. The sweet aromas you’ll discover with this offering from Jim Beam includes honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and smoke. The sweet taste of marzipan, vanilla, and maple are present in this bourbon, as well as an aftertaste of vanilla and smoke.
Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask
The Signature Craft Quarter Cask is aged in casks that are smaller than the traditional Signature Craft. This type of aging creates intense woody aromas, along with a sweet and soft palette that gives you a pleasant taste.
Jim Beam Single Barrel
Single Barrel bourbon comes in individual bottles, which are made up of aromas like caramel, vanilla, oak, toffee, and nutmeg. Some of the medium-length offerings finish with traces of oak and cocoa.
Jim Beam White Label
Jim Beam’s White Label is the original bourbon from the 1795 distillery. This bourbon ages in oak barrels for four years, and contains the smooth hints of spice traditional drinkers are most familiar with.
Jim Beam Yellow Label
In 2010, Yellow Label was the winner of the “Best Rye Aged Under 10 Years” category. This bourbon will surprise you with aromas of caramel, nutmeg, cherries, and spices. You’ll discover a long aftertaste with plenty of warm flavors that will remind you of cherries, lemons, and pepper.
Jim Beam is copper in color and has thin legs that create shapes like hearty, robust waves on the side of your glass. It will turn cloudy when you add ice to it.
Every bottle of Jim Beam smells a bit like fresh-cut hay, a hint of sweetness, a touch of vanilla, and a whiff of cornfields.0
The initial taste of Jim Beam is watered down and thin. However, once you’re past that, you’ll notice a taste of vanilla, corn, and a note of sourness. The sour taste is due to the fact that Jim Beam is distilled by using corn mash, which has been fermented in oak barrels.
Jim Beam has a long fermentation process which consists of distillation twice and aging for at least four years in charred American oak casks. This helps to create the flavor of wood that Jim Beams bourbons are most famous for.
You’ll get a long finish with a Jim Beam bourbon, with corn, watery caramel, citrus, and just a hint of oak.
Moving on to Jack Daniels, which is a type of whiskey made in Tennessee. This popular label is produced and owned by the Brown-Foreman Corporation.
Jack Daniels whiskey goes through a specific distillation process that earns it the designation as a Tennessee whiskey. This is a term which the federal government recognized in 1941, which was roughly 80 years after Jasper Newton Daniel began distilling the now-famous whiskey.
Those familiar with the history of the whiskey say that Daniel learned how to distilling from the good Reverend Dan Call. In 1866, Jasper purchased the land on which the distillery remains to this day.
Some distilleries claim to be the oldest in the United States, however, none can show proof of registration that dates back as far as Jack Daniels.
Fun Facts About Jack Daniels
- Nearly 250,000 people visit the distillery every year
- Frank Sinatra was rumored to drink almost an entire bottle of Jack Daniels every day
While no one knows the actual reason why Jack Daniels bottles are adorned with the No. 7 logo, there are a few rumors circulating that claim the following:
- Jasper Daniels had seven girlfriends
- One of the prized Jack Daniels barrels was lost for seven years
- Jack Daniels barrels were transported on the number 7 train
- Every warehouse can hold up to one million gallons of whiskey. The distillery has at least 87 warehouses. This means the Jack Daniels site can house nearly one billion gallons of whiskey at any given time.
- Jack Daniels lays claim as the fourth highest-selling spirit around the globe. It is the highest-selling spirit in the United States
- The Jack Daniels parent company is Brown Foreman, which also sells another popular alcoholic beverage, Finlandia Vodka.
Jack Daniels offers four different offerings as part of its Tennessee Whiskey lineup:
- Gentleman Jack
- Jack Daniels Single Barrel
- The Original Old No. 7
- Tennesse Honey
To create unique and individual flavors, in an effort to appeal to a wider variety of palates, Jack Daniels’ offerings go through different mellowing processes, use different ingredients, and go through various maturing methods.
Jack Daniels has a smooth and woody smell. You’ll also notice hints of vanilla and caramel, along with notes of oak and fruit.
When drinking Jack Daniels, the first thing you’ll get is a sweet taste with a light body. You’ll notice hints of perfumed wood, cinnamon, and touches of orange as well.
Jack Daniels whiskey provides a quick finish. Warm caramel gives way to white pepper and walnuts.
Jim Beam vs. Jack Daniels – Which One Do You Prefer?
These two finely crafted whiskeys are among the best in the world. Though they’re manufactured through similar methods, Jack Daniels has the label of being a Tennessee liquor. That means is goes through charcoal filtration as part of its distillation process.
Jim Beam, on the other hand, is a Kentucky bourbon, which is distilled through the use of corn mash which has been fermented in wood oak barrels. If you’re looking for a good foundation to use for mixed drinks, then consider Jim Beam, although it works just as well neat in a tumbler.
Comparatively, Jack Daniels Old No. 7 is one of, if not the most recognizable whiskeys in the United States and one of the best selling in the world. No matter which offer you choose, you’re sure to have a pleasant and satisfying experience.
Choosing between Jim Beam and Jack Daniels is really simply a matter of choice. Do you want a bourbon or a whiskey? Would you like a thin, woody taste or a sweet, light-body drink? Everyone has their favorites when it comes to these two popular labels. Which one do you prefer?