Jim Beam vs Jack Daniels

The Ultimate Bourbon Comparison: Jim Beam vs Jack Daniels

Growing up, there were always two American whiskey brands that stood out the most to me. No matter which grocery shop, bar or restaurant, good ol’ Jim Beam and Jack Daniels would be right there, siting on the shelf, as if they were part of the furniture.

In this ultimate bourbon showdown, I’ll compare these two world-famous bourbon brands: flagship white label Jim Beam vs Jack Daniels Old No.7. Both brands have a rich history and a loyal following, but which one will come out on top in this comparison?

Grab a glass and get ready to discover which bourbon reigns supreme.

Initial comparison of Jim Beam vs Jack Daniels Old No.7

Jim Beam is a made in Clermont, Kentucky, USA. Meeting the strict federal standards for being classed as a straight bourbon, it has a rumoured mashbill of 75% corn, 13% rye & 12% malted barley.

Jim Beam white label (flagship bottle) is positioned as their entry-level expression which contains your typical bourbon flavours of caramel, vanilla and honey. It’s an easy to drink bourbon for anyone, regardless of your experience and preferences.

Jack Daniels Old No.7 is made in Lynchburg, Tennessee, USA. Whilst many consider it as a bourbon, the distillery emphatically deny this status, proudly classifying their hallowed spirit as Tennessee whiskey instead. This differentiation is mostly due to their use of charcoal mellowing, a signature Tennessee technique of whiskey making which I’ll discuss later in this post.

Amongst their wide range of whiskeys, Old No.7 remains Jack Daniels’ core expression and is positioned as their entry-level bottle. Slightly sweeter than Jim Beam, this whiskey is easy to drink and favours the majority of palettes willing to explore the sphere of American bourbon.

Bottle of Jim Beam bourbon

Jim Beam

Nose: Fresh-cut hay, vanilla, oak & wood.

Palate: Spiced, sweet with toasted oak, crème anglaise, acetone.

Mouthfeel: Rich and full-bodied.

Finish: Medium to long finish, characterised with lingering sweet woody notes.

Age: 4 years (minimum).

Region: Clermont, Kentucky, USA

Barrels: New charred oak barrels

Chill filtered: Yes

Mashbill: 75% corn, 13% rye & 12% malted barley.

Strength: 86 proof / 43% ABV

Classification: Kentucky straight bourbon

Price: £25 / $30

Bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey

Jack Daniels

Nose: Light and sweet with hints of dry spice, nuts and smoke.

Palate: Banana milkshake, roasted nuts, caramel and crème anglaise.

Mouthfeel: Velvety, creamy & oily

Finish: Medium to long finish, characterised with cereal sweetness and toasted oak.

Age: 4 years (minimum).

Region: Lynchburg, Tennessee, USA

Barrels: New charred oak barrels

Chill filtered: Yes

Mashbill: 80% corn, 8% rye & 12% malted barley

Strength: 80 proof / 43%

Classification: Tennessee whiskey

Price: £35 / $30

The Flavour Profile of Jim Beam Bourbon 

The flavour profile of Jim Beam bourbon is a complex and nuanced blend of various elements, making it a favourite among bourbon enthusiasts. Here are some key aspects of the flavour profile;

Aroma: Opening the bottle, Jim Beam whiskey boasts a unique and complex aroma, with hints of sweetness reminiscent of fresh-cut hay and vanilla. Oak barrels used in the four years of aging give Jim Beam a distinct woody, oaky aroma. This longer-than-required maturation process provides the bourbon with a rich caramel scent. Lastly, the presence of rye in the grain mixture gives Jim Beam a subtle spicy aroma.

Flavour: On your first sip, you’re met with a characteristic balance of sweetness and spice, with prominent vanilla and caramel notes. Delving further, you experience more of the distinct woody, oaky flavours which stem from the oak barrel ageing. Between sips, there’s a background flavour of crème anglaise with a pleasing spiciness and pepperiness. An unexpected hint of acetone adds a complex layer to the taste.

Mouthfeel: Jim Beam bourbon has an easy-drinking, smooth and rich bodied mouthfeel with a balance of sweetness and spice. The bourbon is bottled at 86 proof (higher than most other bourbons) which helps to highlight the base-flavours of the wood, caramel, and vanilla.

Finish: Jim Beam bourbon has a medium to long finish and is characterised by a complex combination of flavours. The toasted oak and resin notes balance the sweetness on the palate. At the end, it has an aftertaste of sweet woody notes that linger on the tongue.

Price: The price of a 750ml bottle of Jim Beam in the United States ranges from around $15 to $30. However, in the United Kingdom, the price of a 70cl bottle of Jim Beam ranges from around £20 to £25. Overall, Jim Beam is known for its smooth and easy-drinking flavour profile, making it a popular choice among bourbon enthusiasts. Because of its affordable price point, you may be tempted by this Kentucky straight bourbon than the slightly more expensive Old No.7.

Bottle of Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey beside computer keyboard

The Flavour Profile of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey

The Jack Daniel’s Whiskey flavour profile is known for its distinctly smooth and sweet taste, thanks to its charcoal mellowing process. Here are the essential parts of the flavour profile:

Aroma: Opening the bottle, this whiskey boasts a light yet complex aroma. It has a sweetness balanced by dry spice and oily nut notes, with a touch of smokiness that adds depth. The distinct charcoal scent from the Lincoln County Process, mixed with the woody, oaky, caramel aroma from aging in charred oak barrels, all contribute to the overall inviting aroma.

Mouthfeel: Jack Daniel’s whiskey has a smooth and oily mouthfeel, with a balance of sweetness and spice. The charcoal mellowing gives a very distinct smoothness and mild hint of smoke. Compared to the Jim Beam white label, its just that bit smoother on the tongue with a silky mouthfeel.

Flavour: Jack Daniels has a quite smooth and soft taste, with a sweet harmony of flavours. On the first sip, your palate is greeted with roasted nuts, spiced oak, a touch of caramel and crème anglaise. There’s a lovely butterscotch sweetness that’s fruity and reminds you of a banana sundae dessert.

Further in, you get more spice with hints of cinnamon and a subtle hum of cloves. More sweet than spicy, this is a very easy whiskey to drink, whether you prefer it neat, on the rocks or with a little water.

As the spirit has been aged in charred oak barrels, it has subtle smoky hints. If you have a sweet tooth, there’s an abundance of roasted nuts and caramelised flavours which makes this whiskey incredibly moreish.


This Tennessee whiskey boasts a long finish with a sweet and distinct flavour profile, with toasted oak and cereal sweetness notes that are prominent in the aftertaste. For those who enjoy a sweeter dram, this whiskey keeps you coming back for more.


In the United States, a 750ml bottle of Jack Daniel’s Sinatra ranges from around $20 to $30. Though, in the United Kingdom, the price of a 70cl bottle of Jack Daniel’s ranges from around £25 to £30. Positioned slightly higher in the market than Jim Beam’s flagship white label, JD’s Old No.7 is marginally more expensive to get your hands on.

The price is certainly affordable and can be found in most liquor stores.

Food pairings

If you’re looking to pair either of these whiskeys with food, I’ve compiled a list of culinary suggestions in the section below. These are of course totally subjective, but I think they’re a nice guide if you’re planning a get together or dinner with some fellow whiskey drinkers.

Jim Beam Food Pairings

Jim Beam pairs exceptionally well with savoury dishes, such as grilled meats and vegetables, charcuterie boards, smoked meats and fish, and hearty soups. It also goes great with robust cheeses, especially blue cheese.

For a unique twist on classic Southern flavours, try pairing Jim Beam with fried green tomatoes or okra. Jim Beam is also perfect for classic southern sides like collard greens and macaroni and cheese. To add sweetness to the bourbon’s flavour profile, try using it in braised root vegetables such as sweet potatoes or carrots.

Jim Beam pairs nicely with sweeter desserts such as pecan pie or chocolate cake. If possible, try to stick to dark chocolates which will really bring-out the spiced wood notes of the bourbon.

Jack Daniel’s Food Pairings

Jack Daniel’s whiskey has a sweet and mellow flavour profile which pairs wonderfully with rich dishes that have equal robustness to match the whisky.

Jack Daniel’s goes well with dishes that have strong flavours, such as barbecued food, grilled meats, beef stews and other hearty dishes like slow cooked brisket, pork ribs and glazed ham.

This Tennessee whiskey also complements desserts with caramel notes, such as pecan pie or bread pudding. It goes great with desserts such as cake, candied fruit, cookies or even crème brulée.

Jim Beam Cocktail suggestions

Jim Beam can be enjoyed in an array of cocktails; from classics such as Old Fashioned , Manhattan, various High Balls and a mighty fine Bourbon Colada Cocktail you’ve really gotta try. Hit the drop downs in the section below to see the recipes.


  • 1.5 part Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 0.75 part pineapple juice
  • 0.75 part coconut liqueur (or 0.5 part coconut cream)
  • 0.75 part heavy whipping cream


Add all these ingredients to your Boston shaker and give it a short shake. Serve straight over crushed ice.


  • 1 Part Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 3 Parts Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge


Add a generous amount of ice to a highball drinking glass and pour your ingredients in. Stir with a straw or a cocktail stick and serve.


  • 2 parts Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 2 parts Amaretto Liqueur
  • 0.5 part Lemon-Lime Soda
  • 0.5 part Lemon Juice
  • 0.5 teaspoon Sugar
  • Lemon wheel and cherry


To make your delightful concoction, whisk together milk, half-and-half, bourbon and sugar in a pitcher. Add the vanilla for extra flavour before freezing until it reaches a slushy consistency. Gently stir prior to pouring into chilled glasses and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick for an unforgettable drink.


  • 2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
  • 3 parts Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 1 part Sweet Vermouth
  • Lemon Peel and/or Cherry


To craft the perfect cocktail, start by cooling a glass in your fridge. Then add all of your ingredients to an iced mixing glass and stir until fully incorporated. Strain the mixture into your chilled vessel, then adorn it with a cherry or lemon peel for some added flair! Now you’re ready to sip away and enjoy.


  • 3 parts Whole Milk
  • 2 parts Half and Half
  • 1.5 parts Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 1 part sifted Sugar, Powdered
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Fresh Grated Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon Stick


Begin by whisking together milk, half-and-half, bourbon and sugar in a pitcher. For extra flavor, add a hint of vanilla before freezing until it reaches the perfect slushy consistency. Gently stir when ready to serve and pour into chilled glasses with freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon sticks as garnish for an unparalleled taste experience.


  • 1 part Peach Schnapps Liqueur
  • 2 parts Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 3 parts Sweet Tea
  • Lemon Wedge


Build over ice in a tall highball glass, then finish with a juicy lemon wedge for the perfect zest.


  • 2 Basil Leaves
  • 1 part Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 3 dashes Tabasco® Sauce
  • Black Pepper
  • 4 parts V8® Light Mix
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • Lemon Wedge


Start by muddling the sauces, spices and basil in a mixing glass. Then combine all other ingredients together with ice cubes and roll back and forth between two shakers/mixing tins. Finally, pour this mixture over fresh ice in your glass that has been rimmed with Tajin spice for an extra piquant flavour.


  • 2 parts Cranberry Juice
  • 0.5 part DeKuyper® Triple Sec Liqueur
  • 1.5 parts Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 2 parts Fresh Lemon Sour
  • Lemon Wedge


Add ingredients in the order listed over ice in a tall highball glass. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.

Jack Daniels Cocktail suggestions

Jack Daniels can be enjoyed in an array of cocktails; from classics such as a Manhattan or Old Fashioned or slight more adventurous concoctions such as a tantalising Tennessee Berry Mule. Hit the drop downs in the section below to see the recipes.


  • 50 ml Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
  • Fresh apple juice


Start with a highball glass filled 3/4 of the way full with icy cubed ice. Pour in your 50ml measure of Old No 7 and finish it off with a splash of apple juice. To make this beverage even more delightful, add garnish of fresh apple slices (optional).


  • 25 ml Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
  • 12.5 ml Amaretto
  • Cola


To craft the perfect Godfather No. 7, fill a rocks glass halfway with cubed ice and pour in your 25ml of Jack Daniels. Next, add your 12.5 of Amaretto. Stir it all together. For an elevated touch, garnish your cocktail with an orange slice and dark cherry.


  • 50 ml Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
  • 15 ml Sweet vermouth
  • Angostura bitters
  • Cherry garnish


Fill a cocktail mixing glass halfway with ice cubes and add all the ingredients. Stir for 10 seconds, then rub an orange peel around the rim of a chilled glass before straining in the liquid. To finish, garnish with a dark cherry to create a delightful presentation.


  • 50 ml Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
  • 12.5 ml Simple syrup
  • Angostura bitters


Fill a rocks glass halfway with cubes of ice, and then slowly pour in your 50ml measure of Old No. 7 whiskey. Add the syrup and bitters before stirring for about 20-30 seconds. Finally, garnish with an orange twist and cherry on top.


  • 50 ml Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
  • 25 ml Fresh lemon juice
  • 15 ml Simple syrup
  • Angostura bitters
  • Egg white


Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with cubed ice and pour in all of your ingredients. Shake energetically for 20/30 seconds, then strain the liquid into a rocks glass filled halfway with cubed ice. To garnish, add an orange slice and cherry.


  • 35 ml Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Whiskey
  • 12.5 ml Triple sec
  • 12.5 ml Fresh lemon juice
  • Lemonade


3/4 fill a highball glass with cubed ice. Pour in Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and top it off with the Triple Sec and lemon juice. Give everything a stir and garnish with a fresh lemon wedge.


  • 50 ml Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
  • 25 ml Amaretto
  • 45 ml Cranberry juice
  • Fresh raspberries
  • 15 ml Lime juice
  • Ginger beer


Muddle some raspberries in a cocktail shaker. Subsequently, fill it up half full with cubed ice and pour all the ingredients except for ginger beer into the mixture. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds before transferring to an iced-filled highball glass. Finally, top off with ginger beer and lightly stirring before adding 3 fresh raspberries to garnish.


  • 50 ml Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
  • 12.5 ml Honey
  • 12.5 ml Lemon juice
  • 1 thick slice of lemon
  • Whole cloves
  • 100 ml Hot water
  • Cinnamon stick


First, boil your kettle. Meanwhile, take your lemon slice and ‘stud’ it with cloves, poking them into the flesh of the fruit. Add your Jack Daniel’s to a sturdy mug, stirring in the honey and freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Pour in your hot water and add your a cinnamon stick and clove-studded lemon slice. A warming classic for cold nights in or when you’re feeling under the weather.

Final thoughts

Jim Beam is a great bourbon for those who appreciate spiced flavours in their whiskey. Less sweet than the Old No.7, it’s distilled twice at reduced temperatures which retains the natural flavours of the mashbill. For me, Jim Beam has an lovely oak-aged flavour that gives it a mellow aroma and with typical bourbon hints of vanilla and caramel. For those on a budget, Jim Beam is that bit more affordable than Jack Daniels.

On the other hand, Jack Daniels is a great whiskey for those who prefer a sweeter spirit. Its tremendously mellow, smooth flavour comes from its charcoal mellowed process which makes it super easy to drink, even when neat. Notably less spicy than the Jim Beam white label, the Old No.7 is a treat for anyone with a sweet tooth and wants a silky drinking experience.

Either way, these are two of the most popular and well-known American whiskey brands. Despite being entry-level bottles, both are known for their high quality and mellow drinking experience. 

In general, either Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s are an excellent choice for whiskey lovers and make for a staple bottle on your spirit shelf. Both are affordably priced and can be found in most liquor stores.

Author’s recommendation

Recently, I’ve become incredibly fond of spiced foods and Indian tea. Jim Beam has a pleasing rye pepperiness which I simply love. Out of the two, I would’ve previously gone with the Old No.7 (a favourite during my younger years!) however, my recommendation between these two whiskeys is the White Label from Kentucky. It’s smooth, easy to drink and has a nice background balance of spice and vanilla. A charming little whiskey for an evening aperitif.

History of Jim Beam Bourbon

Tracing its roots back to 1795, Jim Beam is the world’s premier bourbon. Founded by Kentucky farmer Jacob Beam and his family-owned recipe, this distillery continued to be operated for decades until it was purchased in 1933 by Harry W. Beam–a descendant of Jacob himself. Drawing from a legacy of tradition and excellence, Jim Beam stands as the preeminent source for premium whiskey worldwide.

After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Jim Beam experienced a surge in popularity. In ensuing years, they expanded their portfolio to include an expansive selection of bourbons and whiskeys. Fast forward to present day; Jim Beam is now one of the world’s largest bourbon brands – as well as being one most sought-after products amongst discerning whiskey connoisseurs.

Compared to other bourbons, Jim Beam stands out with its lengthy maturity process. The bourbon whiskey is aged for at least four years, considering that by law all bourbons must be aged for a minimum of two years. That’s what gives Jim Beam its unique smoothness and taste – making it an ideal option if you’re on a budget, new to whiskey or still exploring the bourbon market.

In addition to its flagship bourbon, Jim Beam also offers a range of flavoured and small-batch options, such as the Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, which is made from the liquid that is absorbed into the barrel’s wood during the aging process, giving it a rich and intense flavour.

Furthermore, in recent years, Jim Beam has expanded its international reach and has become a popular choice among whiskey drinkers worldwide.

History of Jack Daniels Whiskey

Jack Daniel’s is a brand of Tennessee whiskey established in 1866 by Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel. The Jack Daniel’s Distillery is located in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and is the oldest registered distillery in the United States.

Like all Tennessee whiskeys, Jack Daniel’s is required to use the famous charcoal mellowing process, which gives it a distinctly smooth and sweet flavour profile. Also known as the Lincoln County Process, this method requires the new-make whiskey to be filtered downwards through 10 feet of maple sugar charcoal before ageing in charred oak barrels. This slow filtration method is said to remove impurities and smooth out the whiskey’s flavour.

If that wasn’t unique enough, you may have also noticed the term sour mash across the label. Like many American whiskeys and bourbons, this method refers to the traditional technique of using old grains mixed with new ones during the fermentation stage.

By using old ‘spent grains’, the Lynchburg distillers purposefully ‘sour’ their new mash mixture to encourage fermentation activity within the beer. By lowering the PH with a portion of old grains, this deters any unwanted bacteria from growing which would otherwise jeopardise the final beer and subsequent whiskey. If you’d like to learn more about the sour mash process, check out this handy article.

Jack Daniel’s whiskey has become one of the best-selling American whiskeys in the world, and it’s known for its smooth and mellow taste. This brand has a rich history and has remained family-owned and operated for over 150 years. 

The label’s unique charcoal mellowing process and aging process and its reputation for quality have made it a household name and a favourite among whiskey enthusiasts worldwide.

Quick fact: Ratpack super star Frank Sinatra was a such fan of the Lynchburg whiskey, that when he passed away, he was buried with a bottle of Jack Daniels in his coffin.

Interested in Jack Daniels? You may also enjoy reading our comparison between Chivas Regal vs Jack Daniels

Similar Posts