…the big Jack Daniel´s tasting is long overdue – American whiskey tasting no 14.

Jack Daniel´s Old No. 7, 80 proof (40%).

Tasted and written about before (https://danolofohman.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/american-whiskey-tasting-no-1-is-on-the-schedule/), this is the most popular and basic product of the Jack Daniel´s distillery. A very enjoyable drink with its smooth and mellow vanilla, caramel and fruit notes. The first American whiskey I ever tasted, and still one of my favourites.

Jack Daniel´s Single Barrel Select, 90 proof (45%).

Unlike the Old No. 7, that´s blended from many different barrels to achieve a consistent taste, this whiskey comes from a single barrel, chosen for its special character. Only about one in a hundred barrels are chosen to be matured in the higher parts of the Jack Daniel´s barrelhouses. The high location on the storage ricks makes the whiskey mature faster, as well as concentrating both alcohol content and flavour. My particular bottle is from rick L-16 and barrel 13-7230.

Jack Daniels single barrel select

Dark copper colour. Neat in a tasting glass we have a much more complex nose compared to the Old No. 7. The usual vanilla and caramel notes are initially hidden by a strong whiff of oak, giving way to corn sweetness, cocoa and fruit. On the palate you get a medium bodied feel, with initial sweetness, caramel and cocoa, giving way to wood, peppery rye and a slightly bitter finish. In a tumbler with ice the sweetness is enhanced, while reducing the length and bitterness of the finish.

Coming in a heavy, decanter-like bottle of thick glass, embossed with the Jack Daniel name, the wood/cork stopper adds to the exclusive feel of this whiskey. Tasting a variety of different single barrel releases would certainly be interesting.

Jack Daniel´s Silver Select Single Barrel, 100 proof (50%).

Another single barrel whiskey, from selected barrels stored high in the Jack Daniel rickhouses. Bottled at a higher proof and without any mentioning of the exact barrel identity.

Jack Daniels Silver Select Single Barrel

Slightly darker copper compared to the Single Barrel Select. A distinct nose with initial sweetness giving way to cherry notes and a finish of oak. Neat in a tasting glass you get a mellow whiskey without much burn despite the high proof. Smooth sweetness and cherry, followed by vanilla and caramel, with a medium long finish of peppery spice. In a tumbler with ice the smoothness is accentuated while lifting the cherry notes and the oaky finish.

The bottling is very similar to the Single Barrel Select, with heavy decanter-like glass and an embossed metal-looking label. A very well-made and smooth expression of the Jack Daniel´s way of making whiskey.

Jack Daniel´s Master Distiller Series No. 1, Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel , 86 proof (43%).

The first in a series of releases honoring the seven master distillers of the Jack Daniel company. Jasper Newton Daniel, the founder of the company and its first master distiller has given his name to the first edition of this series. Apart from being the founder of the company, Jack Daniel also served as master distiller for the time period of 1866 – 1911.

Jack Daniels Master Distillers 1

Copper colour. A nose characterized by corn sweetness, vanilla and caramel, finishing with rye spice and oak. Neat in a tasting glass you get a light mouthfeel, mellow sweetness and a fairly short finish of wood. A very smooth and easily drinkable whiskey still not without allure. In a tumbler with ice not very much happens, the whiskey pretty much keeping its character.

Packed in a bottle very much similar to the Old No. 7, but in a box with a picture of the master distiller, this limited edition surely will make an impact.

 

Jack Daniel´s Master Distiller Series No. 2, Jesse Butler “Jess” Motlow, 86 proof (43%).

Known for his storytelling abilities as well as his taste for good whiskey, Jess Motlow was the man who took the Jack Daniel´s distillery through 28 years of prohibition. Not only rebuilding the distillery from memory, but also keeping the family recipe of distilling and charcoal mellowing through his service during the years 1911 – 1941.

Jack Daniels Master Distillers 2

Light copper colour. A nose slightly stronger on rye pepper than caramel and vanilla. Neat in a tasting glass there´s a light and elegant mix of spice and sweetness, with a fairly short finish of sweetness and oak. In a tumbler with ice the sweetness comes to the front, making it even more drinkable.

The packaging is identical to its predecessor and gives this limited release a similarly exclusive feel.

 

 

Jack Daniel´s Master Distiller Series No. 3, Lemuel Lee “Lem” Tolley, 86 proof (43%).

The grandnephew of Mr Jack, Lem Tolley, steered the distillery through a period of increased demand without compromising the quality of the whiskey. Serving as master distiller during the years 1941 – 1964, this is a man who left a distinctive mark on the legacy of Jack Daniel´s.

Jack Daniels Master Distillers 3

Light copper colour. A nose with the perfect mix of caramel and spice. Neat in a tasting glass you get a well-balanced take on the Old No. 7. Smooth and mellow sweetness, with a short but still distinct finish.

Packed in the by now easily recognizable variation on the classical Jack Daniel´s bottle, this release carries on the design characteristics of the series.

 

 

Gentleman Jack, Rare Tennessee Whiskey, 80 proof (40%).

In many respects similar to the Old No. 7, but with an additional mellowing procedure. This whiskey is filtered through sugar cane charcoal first after distillation and then after barrel maturation, all to achieve a smoother character.

Gentleman Jack

Amber colour. The nose has a complex mix of fruit, caramel sweetness and rye spice, making it an elegant variety of Tennessee whiskey. The palate is smooth and light, with a pleasant corn sweetness and a short rye finish. A very refined and smooth whiskey which might be too polished for the adventurous, or a way in for those who believe they dislike Tennessee whiskey.

Coming in an elegant square bottle quite unlike the other Jack Daniel´s products. With embossed glass and faux-metal label, it´s look is quite high-profile.

 

Jack Daniel´s Sinatra Select, 90 proof (45%).

Paying tribute to big Jack Daniel´s fan Frank Sinatra, this whiskey is a blend of regular Old No. 7 and whiskey matured in special “Sinatra barrels”, meaning barrels with ricks inside of them to increase contact between spirit and wood.

Jack Daniels Sinatra Select

Darker amber than the ordinary Old No. 7. A nose with hints of smoke followed by oak, balanced with corn, vanilla and hints of orange. Neat in a tasting glass you definitely get more oak than you´re used to from a Jack Daniel´s whiskey, but really no astringency. Wood is followed by smooth vanilla, corn and some citrus tones. Fairly long and smooth finish. Elegant and refined.

Luxuriously packed, as you might expect from the pretty steep price. A cloth covered special cardboard box holding the bottle in place, also containing a small booklet celebrating the relationship between Sinatra and Jack Daniel´s. A heavy, specially made bottle riffing on the regular one but still recognizable as Jack.

Jack Daniel´s No. 27 Gold, 80 proof (40%).

Probably conceived as the smoothest Jack Daniel´s distillate ever, this is basically the Old No. 7 that´s been primarily aged in new American oak, finished in maple-wood barrels and then charcoal mellowed twice.

Jack Daniels no 27 Gold

Golden colour. Mellow on the nose with wood, corn, vanilla and toffee notes. Neat in a tasting glass it´s very smooth and balanced, showing oak with a slight astringency followed by a finish of oak, vanilla and fleeting banana notes. Elegant but in my opinion losing some of what I like in the original No. 7.

Coming in an upscale golden cardboard box and with a similarly heavy bottle variety that was used for the Sinatra selection. Very nice to have tried it, but will not be a repeat buy at this price.

 

Jack Daniel´s Rested Tennessee Rye, 80 proof (40%).

For the first time since Prohibition Jack Daniel´s has changed it´s mash bill, and made a whiskey with predominantly rye (the exact proportions being 70% rye, 18% corn and 12% malted barley). The distillate was first released as Tennessee Unaged Rye in 2013. The limited edition made it very expensive in my part of the world, and I must confess to not having tried it. The new iteration is called Rested Tennessee Rye, and has been matured for a short time in barrels. Also quite expensive and released in limited quantities as a way of following it´s maturation from the unaged rye, through this and finally to the finished rye that will be released later.

Jack Daniels rested Tennessee rye

Clear gold in colour. The nose has a clearly detectable rye spiciness even though the period of barrel maturation has bestowed it a more marked sweetness than could be expected, with both vanilla and faint banana notes. Neat in a tasting glass there´s fairly overpowering initial wood, followed by some sweetness and a pretty short finish where some weak spice can be found. Interesting as a waypoint in a work in progress, but certainly not something I would buy again at that price.

Coming in a classy bottle a bit similar to the Single Barrel Selects, with batch number and what seems to be a genuine master distiller autograph. Really looking forward to the rye-proper release.

Since this tasting was done a while ago, several new iterations of the Master Distillers series has arrived ( nr 4 – 6, apparently quickly sold out), as well as a matured rye in two variations. Hopefully something that can be returned to.

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