Tennessee Whiskey & Bourbon from Tennessee, A Primer

When In Doubt, It’s Probably Dickel

Another Tennessee bourbon announcement today and more of the same Tennessee whiskey argument and speculation. I truly believed that we’d settled this once and for all time, but a one minute scroll through social media leaves me sadly mistaken. I’d like to take a moment to spell it all out in the most clear and certain terms I know how. Forgive me any instances of sarcasm. Or don’t. IDGAF. Just pay attention and share with your whiskey expert friends.

I already wrote an article about what Tennessee whiskey is and isn’t. That hasn’t changed. Spoiler- yes, it’s bourbon, and, no, your opinion on the matter doesn’t count.

With each release of an aged Tennessee bourbon, you guys get all high and horny about what it is, who made it, where it came from, and if it’s “really” bourbon. (It is.) Here’s all you need to know.

Only three distilleries existed and were producing whiskey ten years ago. So if the Tennessee product in question is, say, 13 years old, then it had to have come from one of those three distilleries and two don’t count. No one is sourcing product from Prichard’s and Jack doesn’t sell stock.

That leaves us with the Tennessee whisky everyone loves to hate. George Dickel has been selling barrels for years and there are at least a dozen labels that you guys love to fawn over while simultaneously claiming to dislike Dickel. IDK. You do you, but don’t get it twisted; it’s still George Dickel Tennessee Whisky. And it’s damn good it in its original bottle, before the price triples with another name slapped on the label.

Moving on- the reason all these labels claim it’s Tennessee bourbon and not Tennessee whiskey is because Diageo said so. They might sell a boatload of their whiskey, but they’re not going to let someone else directly compete against them with their own product.

And, to stick the finish, the folks at George Dickel didn’t set out to make a separate whiskey 13 years ago. It’s their Tennessee whisky. Only, it’s also bourbon. Which should really settle this stupid argument forever and ever, AMEN.