Like champagne in the French region of the same name, Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky straight bourbon set the standard for spirits in the Southeast U.S.
Both are whiskeys that begin with fermented corn and require aging in charred oak barrels. Tennessee whiskey distillers generally add a step: filtering the spirit through charcoal. Both processes create an amber class of spirits worth sipping — flavor profiles suggest caramel, tobacco and vanilla to start.
Bourbon in the U.S.
In Bardstown, Kentucky, considered the “Bourbon Capital of the World,” travelers will find a museum, the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival and the starting point for one of three official bourbon touring trails.
Nashville, Tennessee, is a natural jumping-off point to the distilleries that define Tennessee whiskey. Small-scale and major distilleries alike offer tours and tastings where guests are likely to learn the history of distilling in the U.S. This includes the formerly illegal distribution of spirits known as moonshine, also called “white lightning” for its high proof and clear color.