There is a couple of things different about Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. And it starts with their barrels. Craftsmen build each of their barrels by hand at the distillery. It’s not easy making whiskey barrels considering they consist of 33 staves, no two the same size. The staves fit tightly with a metal rim, requiring no glue or nails to create a watertight barrier. Not surprisingly they are one of the few distilleries in the world that makes their own barrels.
But it doesn’t stop there. You see the water Jack Daniels gets their water from a cave. Cave Spring Hollow to be precise. It’s the main reason Jack bought the land back in 1863. It’s crisp, cool, pure water. The limestone beds filter the water and remove all the iron and impurities. This water is as pure and natural as you can get.
But the folks at Jack Daniels aren’t done yet! Their mash is a combination of barley (12%), rye (8%) and corn (80%). The corn provides the sweetness. The rye provides robust notes of pepper and spice. And the malt brings it all together with a creamy smoothness.
But it’s what they do with that mash that makes it unique. First, they soak it with a sour mash (mash ferments from a previous distillation) for six days. Then, they single distill it in a large copper still. And finally, they filter it through sugar maple charcoal, a process that can take up to a week.
Then and only then is it put into their hand crafted charred barrels to age for anywhere from 4-12 years. Does making Jack Daniels take patience? I’d say so and most folks would agree it’s worth the wait
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select
Producer: Jack Daniels Distillery
Origin: Tennessee, USA
Price Range: $$$
Awards: Wine Enthusiast 2004 (85-89) 2011 (94)
Tasting Notes —
Nose: Good body with plenty of toasty oak, there are notes of corn and lovely cereal sweetness, there is a good smoke note, a little spice and toffee.
Palate: Full and mouth-filling. There are notes of cereal sweetness, the rye is in evidence with a touch of cigar box and nut oils, a little spice and an aniseed character.
Finish: Good length with a hint of citrus and plenty of cereal sweetness.
$$$$$ = Greater than $100
$$$$ = $80 – 100
$$$ = $50 – 80
$$ = $30 – 50
$ = Less than $30
Further Ratings & Reviews
There are many websites and blogs that do an excellent job of reviewing and rating whiskies. As mentioned above The Whiskybits Composite Score is based on an average of at least three reviews conducted by industry leaders. The reviews sites normally referenced include The LA Whisk(e)y Society, The Whisky Reviewer, Proof 66, The Whisky Advocate and The Whisky Jug.