Michael Hack wrote:I'm trying my best to convert some JD fans, and I'd like to give them the real facts regarding age, color additives (if any), re-use of barrels etc. I understand the charcoal that disqualifies it at bourbon, but I wanted to know all the things that are counter to Bourbon.
Our question is, what do you mean by "conversion?" If your intent is to educate and expand the palate of your friends, knowing that JD and bourbon are closely related, that's great. We think you could safely say that if your friends enjoy JD neat or on the rocks, you can probably assume that a) they'll be open to experiment and b) they'll find a bourbon that will open their eyes and "wow" them. If they are largely mixing it with something like soda, we're not sure the certainty is as great, but it is still possible.
Our advice is to pick up some cheaper but quality bourbon - 1783, AAA, one of the Wellers, Old Fitz BIB are choices that come to our minds - and let the whiskey do the talking with JD in the room. In the end how it's made will take second place to how it tastes anyway. BUT, you can use the examples to highlight the differences.
As for flavor difference origin, Mike Veach as we recall pointed out that JD has (or at least at one time had) the highest fusel oil content of any American whiskey. Certainly this is a distinction of some sort, although we're not sure that it's good or bad - just distinctive.
Here is our minority dissenting view (at least, in this forum) - we like Jack, and we're not sure that anyone can "convert" our taste buds. Over the years, we have come to appreciate bourbon more than JD, but JD still has a permanent place in our whiskey room. We think that much like bourbon vs. rye (and I - Dave - would personally argue that in FLAVOR TO ME, rye is closer to bourbon than JD is) or bourbon vs. scotch, bourbon vs. JD is a bit of an apple/orange comparison. We find that when we want JD, bourbon is not an equal substitute; it's a different "want." That said, if we asked for JD but all you had was Stagg, we'd make do!
Perhaps you can help your friends appreciate the variety of offerings out there - get the JD blinders off so they can see the full view. That's a laudable goal on your part.
Good luck with your experiment and keep us posted!