Jack Daniel’s vs Jim Beam: What’s The Difference?

by Dane Wilson | Last Updated: July 13, 2023

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Glasses clink and spirits begin to flow, opening up the age old conversation about Jack Daniel’s vs Jim Beam. How do they differ? Which one reigns supreme? Though both of these American whiskeys are popular throughout the world, they have their own unique flavor, charm, and history. Whether you have been drinking whiskey and bourbon for years and want to know more about these brands or are a first-timer trying to select the right whiskey, there are differences between Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam you should know about.

Table of Contents

As smooth as Tennessee Whiskey

Overview of Jack Daniel’s vs Jim Beam

Here is a glimpse at how Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam compare:

 Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 WhiskeyJim Beam Bourbon
Alcohol TypeTennesse whiskeyKentucky Bourbon whiskey
Mash Bil80% corn, 12% barley, 8% rye13% rye, 12% malted barley, 75% corn
Alcohol by Volume40%40%
ColorDiluted amber, clearGolden mahogany
NoseHoney, vanilla, dried fruit, gingerbread and marzipan, along with toasted oak and a tinge of smoke.Pine, toasted oak, lemon, toffee, and a subtle amount of vanilla. There are also hints of caramelized fruit.
TasteSweetness of oak, fruit, vanilla, and butterscotch, along with grain and sour cherries. Medium body with a slightly oily mouthfeel.Mint, toasted oak, pepper, vanilla, and citrus. Body is light and subtle, not complex but easy to drink.
FinishMedium length with hints of spice, butterscotch, and oak. Slightly salty.Lingers with a dry citrus and pepper aftertaste.

You can also check out this informative video:

About Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey

Jack Daniel’s has been around for some time in the United States. The company was founded in 1866. The exact date is uncertain, as the distillery’s records were lost in a courthouse fire. However, the brand recognizes 1866 as its founding year, based on historical evidence and the start of production by its founder, Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel. 

Unlike many distillers, Jack Daniel had an unorthodox entry into the world of whiskey. After being orphaned at a young age, Jack was taken in by a minister and distiller named Dan Call. It was under Call’s mentorship that Jack learned the art of whiskey production. However, it’s worth noting the significant influence of Nathan “Nearest” Green, an enslaved man who played a pivotal role in teaching Jack Daniel the techniques of distillation.

Now, let’s delve into the most popular offering by Jack Daniel’s, it’s Old No. 7 Tennesse whiskey:

  • Charcoal Mellowed: Jack Daniel’s whiskey is made through a process called charcoal mellowing, where the whiskey is filtered drop-by-drop through sugar maple charcoal. This step contributes to its smoothness and unique flavor.
  • Handcrafted White Oak Barrels: The whiskey is aged in new, handcrafted white oak barrels. This aging process imparts flavors from the oak and adds depth to the whiskey’s character.
  • Balance of Sweet and Oaky Flavor: Thanks to aging in oak barrels, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey offers a balanced flavor profile, combining sweetness with wood notes. The whiskey exhibits a harmonious blend of caramel, vanilla, and oak flavors.
  • Tasting Judgment: The whiskey is not strictly aged for a set period. Instead, it is deemed ready by the tasters based on its appearance, aroma, and taste. This approach to quality control has been maintained since the days of Jack Daniel himself.

Interesting Jack Daniel’s History

Here is a fun fact for you! Did you ever wonder why Jack Daniel’s whiskey is called Old No. 7? Various theories and debates have been sparked among enthusiasts. While the real meaning behind Old No. 7 remains a mystery to this day, it is believed that it is attributed to either lucky number associations or to historical tax districting and defiance against the revenue department. Others claim that good old Jack was honoring his seven lady friends or that Old No. 7 means this recipe was the seventh that he tried.

But there is one thing that the 7 may actually stand for: seven barrels. In 1904, Jack Daniel’s company sent seven barrels of whiskey to St. Louis, Missouri for the World Fair. Unfortunately, the railroad telegraphed the company saying that the seven barrels were lost in transit. So Jack Daniel’s decided to send another seven. However, in the meantime, the railroad company relocated the previous seven barrels, marking them Old No. 7 so that the old barrels were not confused with the new ones.

Which tale do you believe?

Also, the Jack Daniel’s label has not changed much. Few edits have been made to the logo since the late 19th century!

About Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon

Jim Beam is recognized as one of the best-selling bourbon brands globally, embodying a longstanding tradition of whiskey production with a commitment to quality and innovation. The Beam family, originally Boehm, immigrated to the American colonies in 1740. They settled in Kentucky, where they changed their name to Beam and found favorable conditions for growing corn, including hot summers and a nearby limestone spring. 

It didn’t take long for the Beam family to begin distilling corn for a sweeter kind of whiskey. In 1795, Jacob Beam starting selling his first barrel of whiskey under the original name Old Jake Beam Sour Mash. The whiskey distillery survived the Prohibition era and, in the honor of James Beauregard Beam, who rebuilt the Kentucky distillery in Clermont, the whiskey was renamed “Jim Beam” in 1933-1934.

Since then, Jim Beam has made many changes to the company. In 2014, Suntory Holdings Ltd. Purchased Beam and has owned it ever since.

How the Kentucky Bourbon is Made

Like Jack Daniel’s, the process of producing Jim Beam is unique to the company. Take a look at how this world popular bourbon is made:

Everything begins with the mash bill—a carefully balanced blend of at least 51% corn, rye, and malted barley. This mixture is placed into a 10,000 gallon cooker, along with “setback,” or previous mash. This touch of the previous mash ensures unwavering consistency and gives birth to the essence of Jim Beam bourbon.

Next, comes the water, which has been naturally filtered through limestone and imbued with a unique flavor.

From there, the yeast, which has been closely guarded by the family for generations. This revered family strain has remained unchanged since the end of Prohibition. Once the sour mash has been crafted, it enters the fermenter, where it encounters cooling and the transformative power of yeast. This alchemical process converts sugars into alcohol, giving birth to the revered “distiller’s beer.”

The distiller’s beer undergoes a careful process to coax out the alcohol. The vapors are sent into a doubler, a vessel that is used for the second round of distillation. What comes out is called “high wine,” and that goes into American White Oak barrels that have been charred to level 4, also known as “alligator char.”

Jim Beam bourbon is aged in these barrels for at least 4 years. This gives the barrels time to impact upon the whiskey flavors of caramelized sugars, along with a golden hue.

The Differences Between Jack Daniel’s vs Jim Beam

Having learned a bit more about the companies and the production process, you may be already picking out some of the differences between Jack Daniel’s vs Jim Beam.

Origin and Legacy

You have learned a little about each brand already, but let’s talk more about their legacies. Jim Beam is synonymous with Kentucky bourbon traditions, benefiting from its long-standing reputation and association with the rich bourbon heritage of the region. The Beam family’s dedication to quality and craftsmanship has solidified their position in the whiskey industry. It’s unsurprising that Jim Beam is the second biggest-selling American whiskey in the world, usually exceeding 10 million cases per year.

In recent years, the history behind Jack Daniel’s, which has only recently come to light, has garnered a lot of attention. The brand is now seeking to honor and acknowledge the contributions of Green. In fact, the recognition of Green’s role has added a meaningful layer to the brand’s narrative and has resonated with consumers who value historical significance and inclusivity. You could say this has helped Jack Daniel’s gain more popularity, as they sold over 13 million cases worldwide in 2021.

Key Ingredients

Like many American whiskeys, corn takes the center stage of the mash bill in both Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam. Jim Beam’s mash bill consists of 75% corn, while Jack Daniel’s utilizes 80% corn. This grain contributes to the sweetness and smoothness that define these spirits. Barley plays a supporting role in both whiskeys, adding nutty flavors and balancing the sweetness of corn. Jim Beam incorporates a small amount of malted barley, while Jack Daniel’s uses a larger proportion.

Yeast, a vital ingredient, brings complexity to both whiskeys. Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s employ proprietary yeast strains that have been carefully nurtured over generations. These strains infuse the whiskeys with fruity and spicy notes, enhancing their aromatic and taste profiles.

Production Process

When it comes to the production process, Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s showcase intriguing differences. Both whiskeys start with a mash bill of corn, rye, and malted barley, fermented with proprietary yeast strains. However, the magic happens in the nuances of distillation, maturation, and filtration.

For example, Jim Beam uses a column still to yield a higher proof and light flavor. Jack Daniel’s, on the other hand, uses a copper still, creating a heavier profile. Furthermore, Jack Daniel’s uses charcoal filtration, also known as the Lincoln County Process. The whiskey passes through layers of sugar maple charcoal, infusing it with unparalleled smoothness and removing impurities. In contrast, Jim Beam undergoes charcoal filtration just before bottling, providing a final touch to refine the whiskey’s flavors.

In the maturation stage, Jim Beam ages for a minimum of four years, while Jack Daniel’s rests from four to twelve years. This longer aging process grants Jack Daniel’s a mellower, smoother character. Both whiskeys benefit from the transformative power of charred oak barrels, but the subtle variations in maturation time contribute to distinct flavor profiles.

Jim Beam vs Jack Daniel’s Flavor

Jim Beam is a bourbon whiskey, while Jack Daniel’s is a Tennessee whiskey, meaning there are bound to be flavor differences. The bourbon has a rich flavor and medium body that combines sweet flavors like vanilla and caramel, alongside drier flavors, like spice. In the aroma, you can smell juicy fruits and sweetness.

Jack Daniel’s is thinner in consistency and finishes smooth. While the aroma is nearly the same as Jim Beam, the notes of vanilla and caramel stand out the most on the tongue. Of course, there are plenty of flavored Jack Daniel’s to try!


Although Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam can be enjoyed various ways—neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails—they do have slight differences in their profiles and characteristics that make them more suitable for a method of consumption.

Jack Daniel’s, with its slightly sweeter and smoother profile, is ideal for sipping neat or on the rocks. The distinct caramel and vanilla in Jack Daniel’s is also excellent with mixers like cola. It is no wonder that Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola is a classic combination that is a drink of choice for many whiskey enthusiasts.

On the other hand, Jim Beam offers a richer and more robust flavor profile with a touch of spice. While it can certainly be enjoyed neat or on the rocks, Jim Beam’s flavor profile lends itself well to mixing in cocktails. Its versatility makes it a popular choice for classic whiskey cocktails such as Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, or Manhattan, where the whiskey’s flavor can complement and enhance the other ingredients in the drink.

Ultimately, how you choose to drink Jack Daniel’s vs Jim Beam is based on your specific preferences. You will find that one tastes better with cola or that you prefer another when consuming whiskey on the rocks. That said, you can experiment with both of these whiskeys to discover the most enjoyable way to drink them both.

Jim Beam vs Jack Daniel’s Price

When it comes to pricing, there are variations between Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s, depending on factors such as the specific product line, bottle size, and the region in which they are purchased. However, in general, Jim Beam tends to be more affordable than Jack Daniel’s, with Jim Beam starting at around US$15.99 for 750ml. In contrast, Jack Daniel’s is US$30.00.

Jim Beam offers a range of expressions at different price points, making it accessible to a wide range of consumers. Their flagship product, Jim Beam White Label, is typically priced lower than Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, as you have seen. Jim Beam also offers other expressions such as Jim Beam Black Label ($23.00), Jim Beam Devil’s Cut ($20.00), and Jim Beam Single Barrel ($35-$40), which may have slightly higher price tags based on their aging, limited availability, or unique production methods.

You could say that Jim Beam is a decent bourbon under $50, if you are looking for budget friendly drinks.

Compare those prices to Jack Daniel’s, whose popularity and quality is reflected in the pricing. Additionally, Jack Daniel’s offers a range of higher-end expressions like Gentleman Jack ($39.99), Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel ($52.99), and Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select ($110-$150), which are often priced at a premium level compared to the distillery’s core offerings.

Why Are Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam Both Considered Entry Level Whiskey?

Despite their differences, there is one thing that gets Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam put on the same shelf: they are both considered entry-level whiskeys. Why? Because they are widely available, approachable in flavor, and typically more affordable compared to higher-end or limited-edition expressions. They serve as a gateway to the world of whiskey, allowing individuals to explore and develop their palate before venturing into more complex or higher-priced offerings.

Additionally, both Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s produce a variety of expressions beyond their flagship offerings, providing options for whiskey enthusiasts who seek different flavor profiles or higher quality expressions. These brands have built a loyal following over the years, and while they may be considered entry-level, they continue to attract whiskey lovers of all levels of experience.

For those who are just getting into whiskey, it doesn’t matter who wins the Jack Daniel’s vs Jim Beam debate. You will find an easy to drink whiskey in either bottle, one that also mixes well into cocktails.

Jack Daniel’s vs Jim Beams: Which One Are You Choosing?

After this iconic whiskey showdown, you will have found that yes, there are differences between Jim Beam vs Jack Daniel’s. Those differences are seen in their production flavors, versatility, and pricing. Understanding these differences will allow you to explore and appreciate each whiskey for its unique qualities. Ultimately, you will be able to make an informed choice about which one you would like to try!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is stronger: Jim Beam or Jack Daniel’s?

Both Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s are strong spirits, but the strength of alcoholic beverages is typically measured by their alcohol content. Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s have similar alcohol content, usually around 40% ABV (alcohol by volume).

Is Jack Daniel’s or Jim Beam more popular?

Jack Daniel’s is generally considered more popular globally, but Jim Beam also enjoys significant popularity, especially in the United States.

Is Jim Beam a good bourbon?

Jim Beam is considered a good bourbon by many whiskey enthusiasts. It has a long history and is known for its smooth and approachable flavor profile. However, taste preferences can vary, so it’s ultimately subjective.

Is there a difference between Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s?

There are differences between Jack Daniel’s vs Jim Beam. Jim Beam is a bourbon made in Kentucky, while Jack Daniel’s is a Tennessee whiskey made in Tennessee. The production processes, ingredients, and aging techniques used for each spirit also differ, resulting in distinct flavors and characteristics.