While Maker’s Mark and Jack Daniel’s are both widely-known American whiskeys, there are some crucial differences between the two.
One of the most glaring differences is in their packaging; Maker’s Mark is known for its distinctive red wax seal, while Jack Daniel’s has a more traditional dark brown color.
In terms of taste, both whiskeys are fairly similar, although Maker’s Mark is typically considered to be a bit smoother. This is likely due to the fact that it is made with wheat, while Jack Daniel’s uses rye as its grain.
There are also differences in the aging process; Maker’s Mark uses charred oak barrels, while Jack Daniel’s uses barrels that have been burned with charcoal.
Ultimately, both of these whiskeys have a lot to offer and are worth trying if you’re a fan of American whiskey. However, the subtle differences make it hard to decipher when discussing Maker’s Mark vs Jack Daniel’s.
Brief History of Maker’s Mark
In 1954, Bill Samuels Sr. had a problem. He wanted to create a bourbon that would honor his family’s legacy, of distillers.
Unfortunately, he promptly lit the only copy of the 170-year-old recipe on fire. After accidentally burning a set of drapes along with the recipe, Bill began experimenting with different grains, in search of a mash bill all his own.
To save years of aging time, Bill baked several loaves of bread with various grain combinations instead of distilling them. His quick thinking not only saved time but also led him to swap out the traditional rye grain that is commonly used in bourbons for wheat.
The result was a smooth, drinkable bourbon that has become a favorite among whiskey lovers around the world. Thanks to Bill’s courageous experiment, Maker’s Mark is truly one-of-a-kind.
Brief History of Jack Daniel’s
Jack Daniel’s is one of the most famous names in the world of whiskey. The Tennessee-based distillery that bears his name produces a globally beloved product, and the man himself is in fact the stuff of legend.
According to Jack Daniel’s folklore, he was taught to distill by a preacher named Dan Call, who also happened to be a Grocer and a distiller.
The story goes that Call was a very busy man, and decided that young Jack showed promise in learning the distilling process. So Reverend Call supposedly taught Jack how to run his whiskey still.
However, in June 2016, The New York Times published a story that rocked the whiskey world. The article claimed that Daniel’s actual teacher was Nathan “Nearest” Green, who was enslaved by Call.
Nathan Green brought with him a unique technique of charcoal filtering that he had learned back home when cleaning water in West Africa.
This technique is still used today in the production of Jack Daniel’s whiskey. This technique of charcoal filtering gave the Lynchburg whiskey its unique taste and made it one of the most popular whiskeys in the country.
This bombshell was supposedly known by locals and historians for years. While the details of this story are still contested, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of one of America’s most iconic brands.
Maker’s Mark Tasting Notes
Maker’s Mark is a unique bourbon made with red winter wheat, instead of the usual rye giving it a fuller flavor that is easy to drink.
To ensure consistency, every barrel is rotated by hand and the bourbon is aged to taste, not time. As a result, each bottle of Maker’s Mark has its own unique flavor.
In addition, each bottle is hand-dipped in the signature red wax, which seals in the flavor and ensures that each bottle is of the highest quality.
Although the liquid in the bottles of Maker’s Mark varies slightly, The wheat gives Maker’s Mark a sweeter taste than most bourbons. The nose opens sweet, then grows into a rich fruit and grain fragrance.
The palate leans toward warm roasted nuts with balanced notes of caramel, spice cake, and cobbler. The finish is medium length and very smooth with a hint of cinnamon.
You may also notice hints of vanilla, oak, and toffee in the flavor profile. The ABV for Maker’s Mark is 45%.
One of the things that set Maker’s Mark apart from other bourbons is that it is not chill-filtered before bottling, which means that it can appear cloudy when water is added to it. This also contributes to the thicker mouthfeel that many people enjoy about this bourbon.
Jack Daniel’s Tasting Notes
Jack Daniel’s is made using a process that is unique among Tennessee whiskeys. The distillate is filtered through a ten-foot bed of charcoal made by igniting pyres of sugar maple. This process gives Jack Daniel’s its distinctive flavor.
The charcoal filters out impurities and imparts a smooth, sweet taste to the whiskey. Jack Daniel’s is also aged in oak barrels, which add to the flavor of the whiskey. The combination of these processes makes Jack Daniel’s what it is today.
The distilling process is what gives Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 its unique flavor. The sugar maple charcoal mellows the whiskey drop by drop, and then it’s matured in handcrafted barrels.
This aging process can take years, and the whiskey is only ready to be bottled when the tasters say it is. They judge it by its appearance, aroma, and taste and the resulting liquid is 40% alcohol by volume.
On the nose, it is light and sweet with hints of dry spice and oily nuts. There’s also a touch of smoke that helps to round out the aroma.
On the palate, Jack Daniel’s is relatively smooth and soft with a banana milkshake, mixed nuts, and caramel notes. The finish is sweet with a bit of cereal sweetness and toasty oak.
Similarities Between Maker’s Mark and Jack Daniel’s
Though Maker’s Mark and Jack Daniel’s are both well-known brands of whiskey, they actually have quite a lot in common.
For one, both are produced in the United States. In addition, both whiskeys are made from corn, which gives them their characteristic sweetness.
Another similarity is that both Maker’s Mark and Jack Daniel’s are aged in charred oak barrels, which contributes to their distinctive flavor profiles. Finally, both whiskeys are best enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in a number of cocktails.
Differences Between Maker’s Mark and Jack Daniel’s
Jack Daniel’s is chill-filtered, while Maker’s Mark is not. Some people believe that chill filtering filters out some of the bourbon’s characteristics, which is why many seasoned bourbon drinkers prefer a non-chill filtered whiskey.
Also, Jack Daniel’s is charcoal mellowed, meaning that it is passed through a bed of charcoal before being put into barrels for aging. This process gives Jack Daniel’s its signature smooth taste.
Maker’s Mark, on the other hand, is not charcoal mellowed. As a result, it has a slightly bolder flavor than Jack Daniel’s.
However, the biggest difference between the two whiskies is that Jack Daniel’s is not bourbon, but Maker’s Mark is.
According to Whiskybon, Jack Daniels is a Tennessee whiskey, and not a bourbon, because of the additional step that they take during the distillation process.
This step is called the Lincoln County Process which involves filtering the whiskey through sugar maple charcoal.
This process gives Jack Daniels its signature smooth taste. Jack Daniels also uses a mix of corn, rye, and barley. The different grains give Jack Daniels a unique flavor profile that sets it apart.
So while Jack Daniels may not technically be a bourbon, it is still a uniquely American whiskey.
Maker’s Mark vs Jack Daniel’s Final Thoughts
Maker’s Mark and Jack Daniel’s are both classic examples of American whiskey. They may be made in different ways, but they both have that unmistakable flavor that is the hallmark of great whiskey.
If you’re looking for a smooth drink to enjoy on a cold night, either of these whiskeys will do the trick. Next time you’re at the liquor store, why not pick up a bottle of Maker’s Mark or Jack Daniel’s and see what all the fuss is about? You won’t regret it.