It’s such a fine line between clever and stupid, David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) says in “This Is Spinal Tap.” There’s also a fine line between clever and incorrect. A story posted on Forbes.com last week carried this headline:
“When It Comes To Bourbon, America Knows Jack.”
“Bourbon is one product America still makes better than anyone else – and, in at least one way, it always will be,” the story begins. “That is because Congress decreed in 1964, ‘bourbon whiskey is a distinctive product of the United States.’ People here and abroad are drinking more of it these days, as it is growing at a faster rate than the total spirits category and outperforming most of the other spirit segments.”
So far, so good. Then the writer conducts a Q&A with the chief marketing officer of Louisville-based Brown-Forman that is all about … Jack Daniel’s.
Which, of course, is not a bourbon. Brown-Forman produces several bourbons (Early Times, Old Forester and Woodford Reserve), but Jack Daniel’s is a Tennessee whiskey. Before Jack Daniel’s goes into barrels for aging, it’s dripped through charcoal. This supposedly makes it smoother and mellower. But it’s also considered the addition of a flavor, which is forbidden under that 1964 law governing production of bourbon.
Remember: All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. And that’s the fact, Jack.