Class: Tennessee Straight Whiskey
Reviewers: Bobby Long, Andrew Owen
The Jack Daniel's Distillery, residing in the otherwise small and quiet town of Lynchburg, Tennessee (population of about 6,000), has always been a sleeping giant in the American whiskey industry. No other American distillery has the resources available to it that Jack Daniel's does, which includes ownership of its own private cooperage. Nevertheless, for decades Jack Daniel's has been content to rake in an astronomic amount of profit selling its watered down, meant for mixing, advertised to appeal to the masses, Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey. (Click that link to see our review of it).
Who can blame them? Old No. 7 is currently the best selling whiskey in the world. Why would Brown-Forman change a thing? As a result, Jack Daniel's has long been forgotten by the enthusiast community. When it is brought up, it's with a snicker or a snear, or to argue the neverending "Is Tennessee Whiskey the same as bourbon" question. But finally, Jack Daniel's has awoken from it's slumber and started to utilize its resources to make some whiskeys that have the enthusiast community perking up its ears. Along with a few other single barrel and rye whiskey releases, Jack Daniel's has recently released a single barrel bottling at barrel proof, and we could not be more ecstatic to see what the uncut and unfiltered honey barrels of those old warehouses taste like. These bottles are steadily becoming more available across the U.S. and are priced to compete with other standard barrel proof bourbons at around $60-70 USD. Remember, that as a single barrel bottling, every bottle will be alittle different if it is not from the same barrel. Bobby and Andrew have reviewed two different bottles to hopefully give a more well-rounded representation of what you can expect.
- Distilled to 140 proof and ran through 10 foot vats of maplewood charcoal as new make spirit before being barreled (the Lincoln County Process).
- No age statement.
- Mash of 80% Corn/8% Rye/12% Malted Barley.
65.15% ABV (130.3 Proof)
Nose: Caramel and warm oaky pleasantries mingle with equally strong notes of butterscotch, brown sugar, corn and a light vanilla.
Palate: Big and rich body as the proof levitates the liquid over your tongue. There is a nice buttery caramel note with plenty of vanilla, similar to a warm cream soda, with full oak notes in the background. A bit of fruity zest like orange or banana peel rounds things out.
Finish: Caramel candies and oak pervade with an earthy tobacco before transitioning to baked nut bread. This finish is big and long and ends with a candy corn like note and a bit of banana foster.
Buying Recommendation: Must Try! The consistency of the liquid and the high proof's ability to carry flavor are impressive. The flavors are unique and intricately blended in a fun way. I was shocked when I tasted this stuff even though I was never as big of an Old No.7 hater as most. Tough to beat the balance and deep flavor profile of this whiskey whether it’s a bourbon or not! Cheers!
*Here at WBSE, we sometimes drink the same whiskey (Surprise!) and we find that most often, two or three opinions are better than one (unless one of them is Greg's). We like to see how our own tasting notes compare with each other, and you will get multiple opinions on overall score! Everybody wins!*
From Rick L-23, Barrel 17-0595. 65.6% ABV (131.2 Proof).
Nose: Dense and balanced. Big, heavy aromas. Initially spice forward (cinnamon and nutmeg) with a nice dry oak influence. As it opens, sweeter notes of banana bread, warm creamy vanilla, brown sugar, and walnut develop.
Palate: Some entry heat fades to a low burn packed with flavor. Toasted oak, banana bread, nutmeg, crème brule, and woodspice. Bold and dark. There is a nice syrupy quality to the dram that gives it an excellent mouthfeel.
Finish: Toasted grain, drying oak, and woodspice. Doesn’t get tannic or astringent. A late blossom of apple skins appears as it fades. Very long.
A note with water: Don't be afraid of the big proof here. Water makes the aroma a bit sweeter and nuttier, but adds some bitter "grilled" notes to the palate. I'd skip it. A good rest in the glass is all this whiskey needs.
Buying Recommendation: Buy it Now! Combine the incredible richness, denseness, and concentration of the flavors with a unique enough profile to be just different enough from the typical barrel proof Kentucky bourbon, and you've got a real winner to add to your shelf here. At $60-70, it's a good enough value to pick against just about any other barrel proof American whiskey currently on the market.
The Rating Scale
At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92). This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys. Here is how the scale breaks down:
1-49: Varying degrees of bad
60-69: Better than average
90+: truly exceptional
All thoughts and opinions expressed are original to the author of the review or article. We are in no way paid to express any specific opinion about any specific company or product.