Whiskey is among the most popular beverage options worldwide. Two front runners in whiskey brands are Jack Daniels and Jim Beam.
Whiskey or whisky (depending on where you live) is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash such as barley, corn, rye, or wheat, and purified water.
Whiskey distillation dates to the 14th century in Ireland and has since become a refined and elaborate process that has continued to develop and improve with age. Most well-established whiskey brands now have recipes and techniques which they have perfected since the brand’s inception.
Jack Daniels or Jim Beam?
Jim Beam vs Jack Daniels is an interesting debate. Newer whiskey drinkers may argue that they all taste the same, but the two brands have each created products that are unique and dynamic in their own way.
Jack Daniel’s is a brand of Tennessee whiskey which was established 147 years ago, in 1875. The founder Jack Daniel began distilling alcohol in 1875 and following the brand’s gold medal at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, the brand began growing in popularity.
Jim Beam is a Kentucky brand of bourbon whiskey, established in 1795 when the brand was still known as Old Tub. The brand began gaining popularity at a time when customers brought their own bottles to the distillery to fill with bourbon.
Jim Beam has been managed by seven generations of the same family and has been produced using the same formula and process since the 18th century.
While both brands produce whiskey, they are different and unique. Jim Beam is a bourbon while Jack Daniels is a Tennessee whiskey and is produced in Kentucky and Tennessee respectively.
Jim Beam is aged for 4 years while Jack Daniel’s can be aged from 4 to 12 years, and Jim Beam is stronger than Jack Daniel’s at 86 proof compared to the latter’s 80 proof.
How Are They Made?
Jack Daniels has a well-established process to create their whiskey. A mash bill is produced grains and is combined with purified cave spring water in large tanks, and cooked.
Yeast is added to the combination and fermented for three to six days. Once the mixture has been fermented for the desired period, it is distilled to produce 140-proof whiskey.
The whiskey is then mellowed through hard sugar maple charcoal over a period of three days. This process removes the grainy flavor of the whiskey, softening it.
The whiskey is then poured into wooden barrels which are produced using white oak and are toasted and charred to the ideal level.
Most of the whiskey’s color and flavor comes from the aging process so ensuring the barrels are prepared correctly is vital to the result. The filled barrels are stored for four to seven years to allow the whiskey to age perfectly.
Jim Beam’s recipe is not well known but a similar mash bill from corn, rye, and malted barley is used. Jim Beam adds ‘setback’ to their mash bill, which is a portion of old mash from a recent distillation. Kentucky water is added to the mash bill before yeast is added.
Jim Beam has been using the same strain of yeast since the end of Prohibition in 1933 to ensure consistency in the taste of the final whiskey.
What Are They Made of?
Jim Beam whiskey is produced using a mash bill made from malted barley, rye, and approximately 51% corn.
The brand utilizes Kentucky water which is purified through natural limestone shelves. The limestone removes iron from the water and adds back calcium to produce a smooth result.
Jack Daniel’s uses a mash bill with 80% corn, 12% rye, and 8% malted barley and is distilled in copper stills. The grains used are primarily gluten-free given that most of the mixture is corn and maize.
Jack Daniels uses natural cave spring water to produce its whiskey and has done so since 1866.
How Are They Similar?
Both Jack Daniels and Jim Beam use similar mash bills although the consistency of the grains differs. Both brands utilize charred white oak barrels during the aging process of the whiskey, and both brands age their whiskey for at least 4 years.
Both use spring water in the production of their whiskeys. The water is purified through limestone shelves which add nutrients and removes iron from the water.
Jack Daniels vs Jim Beam Comparison
|Item||Jim Beam||Jack Daniel’s|
|Production Area||Kentucky, USA||Tennessee, USA|
|Raw Materials||Barley, rye, and corn (51%)||Malted barley, rye, and corn (80%)|
|Taste||Sweet, wood, caramel, vanilla||Spice, nutty, toasty oak|
|Average price (750ml)||$18||$24|
Jack Daniels Variations
|Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey||750ml||$18,99 – $21,99||35|
|Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire||750ml||$18,99 – $21,99||35|
|Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple||750ml||$24,99 – $27,99||35|
|1 liter||$37,99 – $42,99||35|
|Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select||750ml||$46,99 – $49,99||47|
|Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye||750ml||$46,99 – $54,99||47|
|Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Proof||750ml||$59,99 – $69,99||62,5|
|Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select||1 liter||$105,99 – $109,99||45|
|Jack Daniel’s Rye||750ml||$25,99 – $29,99||35|
|Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Whiskey||350ml||$11,99 – $15,99||40|
|750ml||$23,99 – $27,99||40|
|1,75 liter||$39,99 – $43,99||40|
|Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack Whiskey||750ml||$35,99 – $40,99||40|
|Jack Daniel’s Green Label||750ml||$23,99 – $27,99||40|
|1,75 liter||$39,99 – $43,99||40|
|Gentleman Jack||750ml||$21,99 – $29,99||40|
Jim Beam Variations
|Jim Beam Apple Bourbon Whiskey||750ml||$24,99 – $26,99||35|
|Jim Beam Black Extra Aged Bourbon Whiskey||750ml||$19,99 – $27,99||43|
|Jim Beam Bonded||750ml||$19,99 – $27,99||50|
|Jim Beam Bourbon whiskey||750ml||$14,99 – $17,99||40|
|Him Beam Devil’s Cut||750ml||$18,99 – $26,99||45|
|Jim Beam Distiller’s Masterpiece||750ml||$278,99 – $299,99||40|
|Jim Beam Double Oak Bourbon whiskey||750ml||$37,99 – $40,99||43|
|Jim Beam Honey Bourbon Whiskey||750ml||$17,99 – $21,99||35|
|Jim Beam Kentucky Fire Bourbon Whiskey||750ml||$13,99 – $19,99||35|
|Jim Beam Kentucky Straight||750ml||$25,99 – $27,99||40|
|Jim Beam Maple||750ml||$13,99 – $19,99||35|
|Jim Beam Orange||750ml||$13,99 – $19,99||32,5|
|Jim Beam Vanilla||750ml||$13,99 – $19,99||35|
|Jim Beam Peach||750ml||$13,99 – $19,99||32,5|
|Jim Beam Red Stag Black Cherry Bourbon Whiskey||750ml||$21,99 – $23,99||40|
|Jim Beam Rye Whiskey||750ml||$28,99 – $30,99||45|
|Jim Beam Signature Craft Six Row Barley Bourbon Whiskey||750ml||$35,99 – $37,99||40|
|Jim Beam Signature Craft Whole Brown Rice Bourbon 11 Year||750ml||$48,99 – $51,99||45|
|Jim Beam Single Barrel 108 Proof||750ml||$34,99 – $42,99||53|
|Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey||750ml||$35,99 – $40,99||54|
How To Drink Jim Beam vs Jack Daniel’s
Jim Beam can be drunk neat or as a base for cocktails. It is best to enjoy the beverage neat in a Glencairn glass with a few drops of water to open the flavor of the bourbon.
A classic cocktail is an Old Fashioned. Combine 3 dashes of bitters with 2 parts of Jim Beam. Pour the mixture into an old-fashioned glass and add a cherry, ½ an orange wedge, 2 sugar cubes and top up with soda water.
Jack Daniel’s can be enjoyed neat and in cocktails. Among the top cocktail recipes suggested by Jack Daniel’s is a Jack Apple Fizz.
Combine Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple with lemon juice in a cocktail glass. Top up with soda and garnish with a lemon. While a simple recipe, this cocktail has a bright apple flavor and is ideal for a warm summer evening.
For alternatives to Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace is a good option. The roughly $46 bourbon has a dominant rye scent with enough intensity and depth to be compared to Jim Beam. There are hints of vanilla, mint, and molasses which round out the flavor profile.
Otherwise, Woodford Reserve is a good alternative bourbon. A bottle of this bourbon costs $57 and has an ABV of 45.2% putting it at roughly the same strength as Jim Beam. This bourbon has hints of cinnamon and walnut which complement the vanilla undertones.
For Tennessee whiskey alternatives, George Dickel Rye Whiskey is a good option. A bottle of this whiskey costs $25 and is produced using a single-step distillation process.
This whiskey has notes of peaches, marshmallows, and vanilla which highlight the underlying charred wood notes of the whiskey.
Heaven’s Door Double Barrel is a good option. A bottle of 750ml costs $51 and has an ABV of 50%. This whiskey has a taste palate of toasted caramel, dark cherry, and vanilla bean with notes of apricot and dry oak.
Jim Beam vs Jack Daniel’s FAQs
Which came first?
Jim Beam began distilling whiskey almost 80 years before Jack Daniels.
Jack Daniel’s is stronger on average than Jim Beam as it has a higher proof than its competitor.
Jack Daniels was ranked at number 3 and Jim Beam at number 4 on Vine Pair’s top 20 Whiskey Brands.