Jim Beam vs Jack Daniels Comparison

Jim Beam vs Jack Daniel's

Alex author
Founder, writer
jim beam vs jack daniels header

Jack and Jim face off as two of the bestselling bourbons on the planet

Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s, named after two well-known and pioneering figures in whiskey, sell a crapload of whiskey. Crapload is probably an understatement. Those two brands sell so much bourbon that Jim Beam White Label and Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 are some of the best selling bourbons on the planet. As a side note, that’s why you often find Scotch Distilleries with their barrels, used to age their whiskeys.
Both of these are abundantly everywhere in every store that sells American whiskey. I even spotted a Jim Beam White for like $4 in China one time at 7 Eleven. The Hakushu Distillery Store (Hakushu is Japanese Whiskey) even had it, but that’s because Suntory owns Jim Beam. But I digress.
In Japan, where I did this review, you can buy smaller-format Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s from virtually any convenience stores…and they’re everywhere too. You don’t have to trek to your local liquor store for whiskey, you just go to the corner and inevitably there will be a convenience store. It’s so…convenient, but unfortunately slurpees and slushies aren’t a thing.
But on the topic of these two bourbons, I should also mention that I’ve already given them both “Bottom Shelf+” ratings, so it’s not like I’m doing this comparison to find out what’s the next big thing to try or alternative to a hyped-up bottle. I guess the point is to learn more about which is the more enjoyable super available and cheap bourbon that is consumed by so many across planet earth.
Let’s find out which bestselling bourbon takes the crown in this Jim Beam vs Jack Daniel’s comparison.
The table below outlines the two whiskeys.
jim beam vs jack daniels bottle details comp
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As an FYI, I bought and use these Glencairn glasses for my reviews and comparisons (because they’re the best): Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass, Set of 6, Clear, 6 Pack. Full transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

How do they compare?

jim beam vs jack daniels radar comp
jim beam vs jack daniels traits comp

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And the winner is...

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I thought this Jim Beam vs Jack Daniel’s comparison was going to be very close given their “Bottom Shelf+” ratings, but it wasn’t at all. I guess bottom shelf bourbons can have clear winners too. In this case, Jim Beam White Label to me is definitely the more enjoyable bourbon.
Some of it comes down to profile preference, but there are specific things in Jack Daniels that make it not so enjoyable regardless of profile, while Jim Beam somehow avoids the cheap unpleasantness. The key with cheap whiskey is to avoid the unpleasantness.
Jim Beam more or less has a very “bourbon-y” profile that’s a mix, albeit still somewhat thin, of honey, oaky, earthy, fruity, herbal, and spicy traits (reference radar chart above).
Jack Daniel’s has a totally different profile distinct to Brown Forman bourbons, including Old Forester. It focuses on darker sweetness, toasted banana (a lot of it), oak, cinnamon, grass, and nuts. The Brown Forman creaminess and slightly extra pillow-y viscosity (with a bit too much empty space) are there too.
Jumping back and forth between them really highlights just how different they are, and how much thinner and alcohol-y Jack Daniels is.
Going from Jim Beam to Jack Daniel’s really opens-up the toasted and very ripe banana. It’s like smelling / tasting a ripe banana that’s a week past peak ripeness (very brown / black). I didn’t get quite that level of banana in the standalone review, so it’s quite shocking how this comparison pulls out that note even more.
The most stark and unpleasant difference is in the flavors. Jack Daniel’s has this vodka taste that really kicks after having Jim Beam, and gets even worse right after swallowing. The flavors are a little rubbery and funky too, which might come from the very ripe banana.
Oh man Jack doesn’t taste very good after having Jim Beam. At that point, Jim Beam is the obvious winner.
Jim Beam more or less smells and tastes the same after Jack Daniel’s, making it the more rich, fragrant, and flavorful bourbon. Overall, it’s way more sweet, fruity, herbal, earthy, and spicy. There’s no rubbery ripe banana or vodka either.
If anything, Jim Beam gets a bit more dried ginger, caraway seed, and dry oak, which don’t really exist in Jack Daniel’s. It feels more varied, balanced, and avoids any particularly unpleasant notes that plague Jack. The bitterness, that builds over time, could be a drawback though.
The winner of this Jim Beam vs Jack Daniel’s comparison will depend on your own preferences, but Jack Daniel’s vodka and weird rubbery banana tastes are deal breakers for me, regardless of profile. I actually like the Jack Daniel’s profile, but only when it’s delivered in a more-developed form such as the single barrel (47% ABV) or barrel proof. If I can only pick from these two, I’m going for Jim Beam, but I really wish for Evan Williams Black Label or Bottled in Bond.
Alex author
Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

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If you’re on the move, this Glencairn-like stainless steel snifter glass should survive your travels. Shattered glass Glencairn’s really suck. Full transparency, this is an Amazon affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

BrüMate NOS’R, Double-Wall Stainless Steel Whiskey Nosing Glass – 7oz (Matte Black)