Revalation No. 1

Jack Daniel’s is not a Bourbon. Although it abides by the very strict rules that could define it as one, what separates them from the rest is not that it is from Tennessee (as Bourbon can legally be made anywhere in the US) but that their whiskey goes through one extra step that Bourbon does not: charcoal mellowing. This meticulous and costly process sees every single drop of Jack Daniel’s make its way through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal, one drop at a time. Charcoal mellowing softens and refines the harsh flavours that come from distilling cereal grains such as corn. It makes for such a profound difference that Tennessee whiskey was legally defined in 1957, seven years prior to the US congress nationally recognising Bourbon as an official and protected category.

Revelation No.2

A whiskey is defined as an alcoholic beverage made from distilling fermented grain mash. A whiskey can be made anywhere in the world but there are certain regions that are protected by appellation laws (ie. Scotch whiskey – Scotland, Irish whiskey – Ireland, Bourbon whiskey – all states in the US and Tennessee whiskey – Tennessee only)

Revelation No.3

Bourbon is just one of several kinds of whiskey that are made in America. American whiskey is generally made using a combination of cereal grains such as corn, malted barley, rye and wheat. Aged in brand-new charred American Oak barrels, they are therefore synonymous with big, bold flavours of vanilla, toffee and oak. American whiskey is absolutely without pretence, and we would encourage you to drink them any way you enjoy. But do not for a second think they are not, in their own right, high quality sipping whiskeys. 

Revelation No.4

Age is not a true indication of quality. Just like brewing tea, there is a period in which the batch is maturing and developing flavour. Age a whiskey too long and it will deteriorate and become bitter. Due to the intense heat in Kentucky and Tennessee (hot in summer and freezing in winter) the whiskey ages very quickly. One-year aging in Tennessee is equivalent to appropriately three years in a colder climate like Scotland.

1. Bourbon Whiskey

Made using a minimum 51 per cent corn in the grain bill and aged in new American oak barrels. A minimum two years on oak is required to be called “straight” and if matured less than four years it must be stated on the bottle.
Our picks – Woodford Reserve Double Oaked ($65), Maker’s Mark wheated bourbon ($45)

2. Tennessee Whiskey

Freshly made new-make whiskey is charcoal mellowed prior to maturation. In rare cases a secondary mellowing occurs post maturation as well.
Our pick – Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack ($55)

3. Rye Whiskey

Made using a minimum 51 per cent rye in the grain bill. Rye is a spicy flavouring grain and is great for classic cocktails such as Manhattans & Sazeracs.
Our pick – Woodford Reserve Rye ($65)