John (you really want me to disagree with you, don't you),
You had better go back and look at some 19th century advertisements for Tennessee Whiskeys. Maybe take Gary with you. Old No. 7, Cascade and Greenbrier all used the term "Tennessee Whisk(e)y" (Cascade did not use the "e"). And if you think Lem Motlow was the first to use nostalgia, look at Early Times Advertisements. Motlow was good, but it was Brown-Forman that made Jack Daniels Old No. 7 what it is today.
I have seen studies of how Tennessee whisky was made at Cascade, and I don't think it was radically different from the other Tennessee whiskeys made prior to prohibition. I don't think there was maore maple flavor, at least not from the leeching vats, because the one thing they were sure to do was to make sure it was all char and no "raw" wood that could have bacteria and other things growing on it. The distillate was through with the cooking process and if some bacteria were growing in the wood, living off of wood sap or sugars, it could ruin the whole batch. Yes, I know alcohol tends to kill such germs, but you must remember that the distillation proof was lower back then and even if it did kill it, the dead bacteria could give the whiskey an undisirable taste. That is why the char is thumb sized, to make sure it is all charred wood.
Now I have tasted Cascade made before prohibition. It was made in Louisville at the Stitzel Distillery, but it was made using the Lincoln County Process and I have seen Sanborn Insurance Maps showing the charcoal vats at the Stitzel Distillery in 1912. There was not a great difference in flavors of what is made today, other than the usual difference that I attribute to lower distillation and barrel proofs. I doubt Brown-Forman made to many chages to Old No. 7 either. The older bottles of Jack would taste different, but those differences probably have more to do with lower distillation and barrel proofs. Maybe some yeast mutation over the years as well.
There has always been a bit of Nostalgia associated with the sale of whiskey - not just bourbon, but Irish, Scotch, Canadian and any other aged whiskey. Jack Beam names the whiskey he is making in 1860 "Early Times" because he wanted people to know he made his whiskey the same as they did in the "good old days". Look at Cabin Still or any other version of the term "Cabin" that was used in a brand name to evoke a feeling of nostalgia. The word "Old" in the brand name not only indicates age, but once again evokes a since of nostalgia because it is made like in the good old days. My favorite is "Old Grand Dad" - who does not get a little nostalgic when they think of their Grand Dad? We often discuss the fact that the distillers liked to use "heritage" to make their brand seem like it has been around for ever and thus a legit brand, but they also use it to evoke that since of nostalgia.
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873