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Jack Daniel’s vs Wild Turkey

Will Beck
Last Updated: February 28th, 2023

Jack Daniel’s and Wild Turkey are the two most distinct brands in America producing premium whiskey. People new to drinking and passionate whiskey drinkers are both familiar with Jack Daniel’s and Wild Turkey products.

Popular bars and pubs spread over America provide variants of both brands to their customers, and bartenders observe how both brands are favorite choices for many drinkers.

However, there are some notable differences between the two, and experienced drinkers have their preferences. Read the article below, which provides a detailed analysis to uncover the disparities between Jack Daniel’s vs Wild Turkey and determine which option is ideal for you.

Jack Daniel’s vs Wild Turkey – History

Both brands had their origin in America. They were the successful outcome of the undying efforts of two men.

Jack Daniel’s

jack daniels tennesse honey liqueur

The founder named the brand after himself. Jasper Newton Daniel hailed from Lynchburg, Tennessee. He was born in 1849, and at an early age, he took great interest in the intricacies of distilling at a neighbor’s distillery.

A skillful worker called Nearest Green, who worked at the neighboring distillery, taught him how to distill extra grain from the farms nearby and create whiskey.

Once the Civil War ended and business resumed, Jack Daniels focused on making his distillery functional. He hired Nearest to run the stills of the distillery he founded in 1875. Their joint effort bore fruit, and soon, they presented a patent style of whiskey, which they marketed throughout Reconstruction Tennessee.

When the brand became increasingly popular, the Brown-Forman company assumed its ownership in 1956 and decided to introduce its products at live music venues for further marketing.

Soon the unique description of a bottle of Jack Daniels became the symbol of fun and party. This recognition heightened the sale of Jack Daniel’s in the local and global whiskey markets.

Wild Turkey

wild turkey bottle

This brand has a captivating history. Thomas Ripy was the founder of this brand and established a distillery famously known as the Old Hickory Distillery in Tyrone, Kentucky, in 1891. This distillery was near Lawrenceburg and served as a replacement for the Old Moore Distillery.

In 1902 Thomas passed on but after Prohibition, the Ripy family decided to repair the distillery and carry his legacy forward.

They resumed making good quality bourbon and sold it to several wholesalers who were free to package the bourbon under their labels. One of these businessmen was Austin Nichols.

The name “Wild Turkey” came out much later, in 1942. Thomas McCarthy, an executive to Austin Nichols, brought some samples on a wild turkey hunting expedition in 1940.

When his friends sampled the bourbon, they loved it so much that they constantly pestered him for “that wild turkey bourbon.” This gave Austin Nichols the idea to officially name his product Wild Turkey in 1942.

Jack Daniel’s vs Wild Turkey – Ingredients

The mash bill is a collection of ingredients essential for making liquor, and it is the same for both brands. Although Wild Turkey belongs to the bourbon category while Jack Daniel’s is a Tennessee whiskey, they both demand the same grains for production.

According to liquor-making regulations, bourbon and Tennessee whiskey should feature at least 50 percent corn in the mash bill.

Jack Daniel’s

jack daniels no.7 blur background

Jack Daniels maintains a mash bill or list of grain ingredients consisting of 80% corn, 12% malted barley, and 8% rye.

This specific mix of ingredients gives Jack Daniels additional sweetness from the corn. Moreover, while producing Jack Daniel’s, experts follow a unique procedure resulting in a sour mash whiskey.

Wild Turkey

wild turkey longbranch bourbon whiskey

The grain bill for Wild Turkey features 75% corn, 12% malted barley, and 13% malted rye.

The Master Distiller at Wild Turkey distillery, Jimmy Russell, along with several whiskey lovers, regards Wild Turkey as bourbon containing a higher concentration of rye.

An increased percentage of rye in the mash bill confers an intense and potent flavor in the product because rye is full of spice.

Jack Daniel’s vs Wild Turkey – Production

The distilleries of both Jack Daniels and Wild Turkey incorporate modern facilities to guarantee efficient and constant production.

Also, they use continuous column distillation to create their products resulting in excellent quality every time. Both distilleries have access to water filtered through limestone as well. However, the source of the water varies.

Jack Daniel’s

jack daniels tennesse fire

The distillery for Jack Daniel’s is the largest distillation plant in North America. Present in Lynchburg, Tennessee, the distillery holds six massive column stills to produce whiskey in a large volume. Of the six-column stills, two are 72-inches, and four are 54-inches.

For the whiskey-making, Jack Daniel’s uses water from the limestone cave under the Elk River. Experts perform filtration through maple charcoal in large wooden vats.

After fermentation and distillation are complete, transparent, unaged liquor forms. Whiskey makers refer to it as new make or white dog whiskey. Then they pour the whiskey into new, charred oak barrels to allow it to age.

This process is essential because interaction with charred oak develops an unforgettable flavor in the liquor that appeals to the consumers.

Moreover, during the mash preparation, experts add some wet solids remaining from the previous batch to guarantee that fermentation is more effective. This technique is a characteristic feature in making American whiskey, resulting in Sour Mash whiskey.

Wild Turkey

wild turkey rare breed bourbon whiskey
Image: Brett Jordan

The Wild Turkey Distillery sources water from beneath the limestone ridge of the Kentucky River nearby. Moreover, experts distill the raw whiskey to around 55% alcohol by volume.

This value is much lesser than what the legal authorities allow in the case of bourbon. Experts then pour the liquor into American Oak barrels so that the exchange between the essence of the spirit and barrel enables the flavors to deepen.

During aging, the workers continually rotate the barrels in open houses to allow maturation to occur more evenly. This ensures uniformity of flavor development.

The aging process is vital here because it lasts until at least one-third of the liquid is lost to evaporation before the bourbon is suitable for bottling.

At the Wild Turkey distillery, aging lasts for 6 to 8 years on average, after which the whiskey is ready for packaging.

Jack Daniel’s vs Wild Turkey – Varieties

Both brands provide a wide selection of products varying in taste and intensity. Hence, there is something appropriate for all their drinkers.

Jack Daniel’s

jack daniels single barrel bottle

  • Single Barrel
  • Tennessee Apple
  • Tennessee Honey
  • Gentleman Jack
  • Tennessee Fire
  • Tennessee Rye
  • Old No.7

Wild Turkey

wild turkey longbranch bottle

  • Wild Turkey 81 Proof
  • Wild Turkey 101 Proof
  • Wild Turkey Rare Breed
  • Wild Turkey Longbranch
  • Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades
  • Wild Turkey 81 Proof Rye
  • Wild Turkey 101 Proof Rye
  • American Honey
  • American Honey Sting

Jack Daniel’s vs Wild Turkey – Description

Both brands have different products that vary in taste and flavor. To better comprehend the exact contrasts in the flavor profile of both brands, refer to the description of specific variants below.

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey

jack daniels tennessee honey with honey


Since it contains raw organic honey, it has a light golden color.


The most prominent aroma is the sweetness of honey, under which you can catch whiffs of oak, light grain, and ethanol towards the end.


The first sip proves that Jack Daniel’s utilizes honey to create this liquor because it tastes exactly like honey. There is not a lot of variation in flavor, but this liquor gives a slight alcoholic kick.


The aftertaste is the same as swallowing a spoonful of honey with a bit of whiskey. The lingering taste may be overly sweet for some people, although there is a muted hint of oak and caramel.

Wild Turkey 101 proof

wild turkey 101 proof bottle
Image: Dominic Lockyer


In a transparent glass, it appears red-brown.


This drink offers an enticing mix of fragrances. The first scent you can detect is caramel and polished oak. Later you can pick up subtle hints of toffee, chocolate, and honey, with underlying traces of leather and tobacco.


Likewise, you can also detect lots of flavors in one sip. There is a pleasing sweetness from corn and honey. There is also a suggestion of vanilla and the richness of cinnamon.

You can also decipher the flavor of spices with hints of leather, cherry, and tobacco.


The lingering taste is predominantly black pepper, although there is some hint of tobacco. Additionally, you can also find traces of leather and maple syrup.

Jack Daniel’s vs Wild Turkey – Prices

To better understand the difference in the price of various varieties of both brands, refer to the following table.

Serial No Type Volume in ml Price  in dollars
1 Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 750 25
2 Gentleman Jack 750 30
3 Jack Daniel’s Rye Whiskey 1000 40
4 Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Straight Bourbon Whiskey 750 36
5 Russell’s Reserve 6 Year Straight Rye Whiskey 750 50
6 Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Whiskey 750 23


The competition between Jack Daniel’s vs Wild Turkey is complicated because both these brands have occupied a vital position in history, influencing how Americans and Internationals gauge American whiskey.

Hence it is up to you to decide which option works best for you since there are people who adore both brands worldwide.

About The Author

Will Beck

Will is a true digital nomad, taking his work on the road at every opportunity. His first love is coffee, with whiskey a close 2nd. He loves nothing more than enjoying a perfectly brewed coffee with spectacular scenery whilst he coordinates behind the scenes of the Drink Stack blog!

Just so you know, if you click on a product on and decide to buy it, we may earn a small commission.

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