At face value, it wouldn’t seem like Hennessy and Jack Daniel’s have much in common. Hennessy is an expensive and luxurious sounding French liquor. Jack Daniel’s is a rough and tumble-sounding Whiskey from remote Tennessee in the United States.
However, looks can be deceiving. While these spirits have their fair share of differences they also have some things in common. Whether you’re a fan of one, both, or maybe new to the Hennessy vs Jack Daniel’s discussion it’s a worthwhile exercise to research these two.
They’re both loved by a decent segment of the population so there has to be something to it, right?
Hennessy or Jack Daniel’s
The Hennessy vs Jack Daniel’s matchup is one that compares two strong brown liquors. If Jack Daniel’s vs Hennessy was only a discussion of which one gets you drunk then it would be a quick read.
There’s so much more to it than that. If you’re a discerning drinker or just someone on a quest for trivia knowledge, you came to the right place.
Hennessy Cognac is a spirit from Cognac, France. In fact, to be called Cognac the beverage must be made in the Cognac region in France. Otherwise, it would be Brandy. Cognac and Brandy are both distilled spirits made from fermented grapes that are aged in wooden casks.
Due to the high alcohol percentage, grapes, and aging in wood, Hennessy has a fruity, oaky, floral, and spicy flavour. Hennessy was founded in 1765 and still holds its headquarters in France. Hennessy is currently owned by major beverage companies Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Diageo.
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey on the other hand is from Tennessee, USA. It was introduced in 1875 by a man named Jack Daniel that learned how to distill alcohol from a moonshiner.
Thankfully, Jack Daniel took the knowledge he gained and created something much more accessible and beloved than the notoriously sharp moonshine.
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey shares a lot of similarities with Bourbon in that they have an overtly sweet, warm, and smoky flavor. Jack Daniel’s famously won the Gold Medal for finest Whiskey at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, MO.
Jack Daniel’s is owned by the Brown-Forman liquor company which is based in Kentucky though Jack Daniel’s is still made in Tennessee.
Hennessy Vs Jack Daniel’s – How Are They Made?
Jack Daniel’s is made like many other Whiskies or Bourbons with a few key differences – the use of a sour mash and the mellowing process. Jack Daniel’s starts out by creating a mash with grains, yeast, and water.
The mash is heated to begin the fermentation process which creates alcohol when the yeast eats the grains. As mentioned, Jack Daniel’s uses a sour mash which means that spent mash from a prior batch is added to the current mash. This is analogous to using a starter when making sourdough bread.
After fermentation, the liquid is distilled using copper stills which are then filtered through sugar maple charcoal. This charcoal filtering is called mellowing and it is unique to Jack Daniel’s Whiskey.
The young mellow Whiskey is then placed in oak barrels to age for a minimum of four years and sometimes much longer.
Hennessy Cognac’s production starts by making wine. That’s right, grapes are harvested and fermented to make wine.
The wine that makes Hennessy is not the most drinkable as it is made specifically to go through to become Cognac. The Hennessy wine is then distilled twice to become a clear liquid theatrically named eau de vie – which translates to “water of life”.
The eau de vie is moved to wooden casks to mature for multiple years depending on the type of Cognac. Hennessy also uses a barrel rotation system to blend the Cognac before bottling.
Hennessy Vs Jack Daniel’s – What Are They Made Of?
Hennessy is made with Ugni Blanc grapes. These white grapes are specifically used due to their desired level of dryness and acidity.
The characteristics that make Ugni Blanc grapes sought after for Cognac are the same characteristics that make the pre-Cognac wine undesirable.
Jack Daniel’s is made with a combination of new and sour mash. The mash bill is 80% corn, 8% barley, and 12% rye.
Jack Daniel’s also goes above and beyond and makes their own charcoal out of sugar maple and their own oak barrels. Jack Daniel’s also has some flavored varieties that contain cinnamon, apple, and honey.
How Are They Similar?
Even though Hennessy is made with grapes and Jack Daniel’s is made with grains, both of these spirits are fermented and distilled liquors.
They are also both very strong and spend many years maturing in various wooden barrels. The end product is a versatile brown liquor that works just as well served neat as it does as the base in an excellent cocktail.
Price, Size, Colour, Alcohol Percentage Comparison
Hennessy Cognac has an exciting collection of Cognacs. The types of Hennessy Cognac generally vary by the number of years aged and the type of cask the Cognac is aged in. The older and rarer the Cognac the more expensive it gets.
Hennessy VS Cognac is the standard Hennessy offering and comes at the lowest price – $45.99 for a 750 ml bottle.
The color of the Cognac will differ slightly depending on the variety but all Hennessy is golden to amber in color. Hennessy is most commonly found in 375 ml, 750 ml, and 1.75 L bottles.
Hennessy is a strong spirit, coming in at 80 Proof (40% alcohol by volume) with the exception of Hennessy Black (86 Proof).
- Hennessy VS (Very Special) Cognac
- 750 ml, From $45.99
- Hennessy VSOP Privilège Cognac
- 750 ml, From $59.99
- Hennessy Black Cognac
- 750 ml, From $46.99
- Hennessy XO (Extra Old) Cognac
- 750 ml, From $219.99
- Hennesy Paradis Cognac
- 750 ml, From $1199.99
Jack Daniel’s product line is diverse and generally very affordable. Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey goes for $24.99 for a 750 ml bottle.
Limited edition bottles are more expensive based on more aging, special barrels, and single barrels. Just like Hennessy, Jack Daniel’s bottles are most often 375 ml, 750 ml, or 1.75 L in size.
All Jack Daniel’s varieties are some version of golden brown in color. Jack Daniel’s is a high-proof spirit at 80 Proof. The rest of Jack Daniel’s line ranges from 70 Proof to 148 Proof for some of the special releases.
Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey and Non-Flavored variants:
- Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey – 80 Proof
- 750 ml, From $24.99
- Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye – 90 Proof
- 750 ml, From $26.99
- Gentleman Jack – Double Mellowed – 80 Proof
- 750 ml, From $34.99
- Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel
- Single Barrel Select – 94 Proof
- 750 ml, From $54.99
- Single Barrel Barrel Proof – 90 Proof
- 750 ml, From $67.99
- Single Barrel Rye – 90 Proof
- 750 ml, From $54.99
- Single Barrel Select – 94 Proof
- Jack Daniel’s Flavored variants – Tennessee Apple, Tennessee Honey, and Tennessee Fire – 70 Proof:
- 750 ml, From $24.99
How to Drink?
Jack Daniel’s is most often mixed with cola or ginger beer but Jack Daniel’s also works well in any recipe that calls for Whiskey. Hennessy Cognac is smooth and versatile.
Hennessy can be used in any recipe that calls for Cognac or Brandy and has some cocktails where it really shines.
Fresh Whiskey Sours
- ¾ Cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
- ½ Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (3 Lemons)
- ½ Cup Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice (4 Limes)
- ⅔ Cup Sugar Syrup
- Maraschino Cherries
Combine the liquid ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake for 30 seconds and pour into glasses (serves 4). Add a maraschino cherry and serve cold.
- 1 ½ oz Hennessy Cognac
- ¾ oz Orange Liqueur
- ¾ oz Lemon Juice
- Orange Twist (for Garnish)
Add Hennessy, orange liqueur, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
Hennessy should only be replaced by other respected Cognacs. Two great options are Remy Martin VSOP Cognac and Courvoisier Cognac.
Jack Daniel’s should only be substituted for other highly crafted but affordable Whiskey. George Dickel Tennessee Rye Whiskey is also from Tennessee. Jim Beam and Evan Williams are Bourbon but compare favorably to Jack Daniel’s.
Which came first?
Hennessy Cognac is considerably older than Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. Hennessey has been making Cognac since 1765 and Jack Daniel’s while still old dates to the late 1800s.
Which is more popular?
This matchup is a draw. Both of these spirits are very popular.
Which is stronger?
Both Jack Daniel’s and Hennessy are very strong spirits. If one has to be declared the strongest it would be Jack Daniel’s due to its extra strong single barrel collection.