Difference between Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s

March 9, 2017 by Editorial Team

Try pouring a glass of each and you’ll be treated to rich russet-colored liquor from similarly-designed bottles. Putting aside such superficial similarities, let’s discover how a JB is different from a JD.

Definitions

Jim Beam is a Kentucky bourbon whiskey, and being such means it is only produced in Kentucky. It ranks as one of the best-selling bourbons in the world. Seven Beam family generations have been working in whiskey production since 1795. James B. Beam revived the business at the end of the Prohibition era in Claremont, Kentucky. In 1935, Jeremiah Beam, H. Blum, and Harry Homel built the James B. Beam Distilling Company and named their bourbons Jim Beam Bourbon henceforth. The Jim Bean brand was eventually managed by the holding company called Fortune Brands (now defunct) who sold the brand to Suntory Holdings in 2014.

This bourbon is distilled using corn mash fermented in oak barrels. The long fermentation process creates the woody flavor Jim Beam bourbons are known for.

In terms of pricing, Jim Beam is a moderately priced whiskey bourbon with an average price of $27. This low price point makes it readily available even at discount stores. Jim Beam has an alcohol content of 86% or about 43 proof, which makes it a popular choice for people pinching their wallets. Regular drinkers say despite its strong alcohol content, it has a fruity undertone, while some find it has a taste similar to brandy.

Jack Daniel's

Jack Daniel’s is a sour whiskey from Lynchburg, Tennessee. It is arguably the top selling whiskey in the world. It is produced by the Jack Daniel Distillery, which is owned and operated by the Brown-Forman Corp. all the way back from 1956.

The mash used for Jack Daniel’s comes from rye, corn, and malted barley – all distilled in copper stills. It then goes through a filtering process called “mellowing,” which the company says differentiates their product.

Historically speaking, the black label Jack Daniel’s was produced at 90 US proof, or about 45% ABV or alcohol by volume. The Old No.7 (green label variety) was at 80 US proof or 40% ABV. By 1987, the black label was reduced to 86 proof which is roughly equivalent to 43% ABV. The Tennessee Honey is 70 US proof and has a 35% ABV. Both label variations were made from the same ingredients. Professional tasters determine which batch will be sold as black label or green label. Here’s a little bit of trivia: the reduction in alcohol content would have gone by unnoticed if it wasn’t for “Modern Drunkard Magazine.”

Jack Daniel’s is distilled using corn mash fermented in oak barrels with the addition of charcoal filtration. Available in several sizes, a 1.75 liter Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 whiskey has an average price in the US of $39.95.

Comparison

While they are similar in taste, Jim Bean is bourbon whiskey produced in Kentucky while Jack Daniel’s is a sour mash whiskey from Tennessee. While both liquors basically go through the same distillation process of fermented corn mash stored in oak barrels, Jim Bean is fermented a little longer, which gives it a nice, woody flavor.

Jack Beam usually has a stronger taste proof and a fruity character, whereas Jack Daniels gives a less alcoholic and smoother taste which is attributed to the charcoal filtering it goes through.

Comparison Chart

Jim BeanJack Daniel’s
Kentucky bourbon whiskeySour mash Tennessee whiskey
Fermented for a longer periodGoes through a charcoal filtration process
A 1.75 L bottle averages $27A 1.75 L bottle averages $39.95

Video

For more about the difference between Jim Bean and Jack Daniel’s, check out this video.