Skip to main content

Understanding Tennessee Whiskey with George Dickel

tennessee whiskey
Image used with permission by copyright holder
We drink a lot of whiskey here at the Manual.

Bourbon, Scotch, Irish whiskey, everything. You name the type of whiskey and chances are we’re going to be drinking it at some point during the week. Because of this, we also, from time to time, get to drink one of our country’s own styles—Tennessee whiskey.

It was during one of these sessions that we realized something. What makes Tennessee whiskey different than bourbon or any other type of American whiskey. In order to figure out what makes Tennessee whiskey Tennessee whiskey, we sat down with George Dickel Tennessee Whisky’s brand ambassador Brian Downing to explain it to us.

First, there’s no federal law defining Tennessee whiskey. There is, though, a state law that was signed into existence in 2013 in the state of Tennessee that defined the spirit (TCA 57-2-106, for the legal eagles out there). The law states that, for a whiskey to be considered Tennessee whiskey, it must be:

  1. Manufactured in Tennessee;
  2. Made of a grain mixture that is at least fifty-one percent (51%) corn;
  3. Distilled to no more than one hundred sixty (160) proof or eighty percent (80%) alcohol by volume;
  4. Aged in new, charred oak barrels in Tennessee;
  5. Filtered through maple charcoal prior to aging;
  6. Placed in the barrel at no more than one hundred twenty-five (125) proof or sixty-two and one half percent (62.5%) alcohol by volume; and
  7. Bottled at not less than eighty (80) proof or forty percent (40%) alcohol by volume.

The biggest one here—and the one that separates it from bourbon—is rule five. What truly makes Tennessee whiskey as smooth as Chris Stapleton says is the filtering through charcoal. At George Dickel, that means chilling the spirit to forty degrees and filling thirteen-foot-tall charcoal mellowing tanks with whiskey. This mellowing process is known as the Lincoln Process, named for the county that Jack Daniels was originally produced in. There is one exception to this law, Pritchard’s, which does not use the Lincoln County Process to make their Tennessee whiskey.

Then, since we had Downing, we had to ask him one more thing about, specifically, George Dickel’s Tennessee Whisky. Why no “E” in whiskey? His response speaks to the American spirit that makes our whiskey so damn good in the first place:

“George Dickel Tennessee Whisky is spelled without because when George Dickel himself started our company in the 1860’s, he wanted people to know that his product was as good as any Scotch out there.  I may be a little biased, but more than 150 years later, I tend to agree with him.”

(Photo credit: Amy Ellis Photography)

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
How to make a matcha latte: Your complete guide
Matcha latte: Your complete guide
matcha latte

When you're tired of the same old, same old latte, the matcha latte offers the perfect, indulgent alternative. This Japanese green drink not only looks super cool but tastes delicious. This classic drink is made from only a few simple ingredients: green matcha powder, milk or cream, and (sometimes) water. Even though they look fancy, making a matcha latte at home is much simpler than you'd think. Below, learn how to make a matcha latte in under five minutes and how to customize your drink to your specific taste preferences.
What is matcha?

Matcha is a green, finely ground powder made from Japanese green tea leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Using young green tea leaves and making them into powder, this powder is easily combined with water to create a delicious drink. Although matcha tea can be enjoyed alone, a matcha latte brings your enjoyment to the next level by combining matcha tea with a creamy froth. Many people love matcha simply for its delicious taste alone, but it also has a variety of health benefits -- thanks to its high antioxidant content. The taste of matcha is often described as "earthy" or slightly bitter.
How to make a matcha latte

Read more
This Ninja grill and smoker simulates cooking on a wood fire — It’s $55 off
Ninja OG951 Woodfire Grill used for cookout

The early Prime Day deals are floating around if you care to shop now, a week before the big event kicks off. You wouldn't think so, but now is a great time to capitalize on all of the retailers online who are trying to compete and drop their prices. Some deals are hit or miss, but some are fantastic and worth grabbing before they sell out, just like the current deal on Ninja's OG951 Woodfire Pro Connect Premium XL grill. It's a 7-in-1 grill and smoker that simulates cooking your food on a wood fire. It's packed with features like Bluetooth app connectivity, two built-in thermometers, and more. It can even air fry your food. Usually $450, it's $395 right now with the limited-time deal, but it won't last long.

Why you should buy this Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect Premium XL grill

Read more
Best Blackstone Prime Day deals
A man using the Blackstone 36-inch Gas Griddle Cooking Station in a yard.

Every family should have a reliable grill, especially those who love hosting outdoor parties and large gatherings. Prime Day is an excellent time to buy one, particularly if you want a Blackstone grill. You'll be able to enjoy huge savings with Blackstone Prime Day deals, and we've gathered our favorite offers here. You need to be quick in making your purchase though, as there's a chance that the discounts on these Blackstone deals don't last until the end of the shopping event.
Best Blackstone grill Prime Day deal
Blackstone Adventure Ready 2-Burner 22-inch Propane Griddle -- $124, was $147

If you’re keen to cook outdoors more but you’re also planning on traveling a lot, you need the Blackstone Adventure Ready 2-Burner 22-inch Propane Griddle. It’ll work well in your yard, but it’s also portable enough that you can take it with you while you camp and travel on many different adventures, hence the name "adventure ready."

Read more