The Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select review
Company: Jack Daniel’s
Age: NAS (probably between 4-7 years)
Classification: Tennessee Whiskey
Breakdown: 80% corn, 8% rye and 12% malted barley
Price: c. £40
Barrel Number: 16-1809
Jasper Newton Daniel or, as you might know him, Jack Daniel introduced Old No. 7 Brand Whiskey to the world. He was born around 1849 (exact date of birth is unknown). In 1866 the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee became the first registered distillery in the US. It took another 38 years for it's whiskey to win their first of several international awards when it picked up a gold medal at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904. The rest they say is history… It is now the biggest selling American whiskey in the world, led by their flagship black label product.
The Gents are no different to almost every other whiskey drinker in the world, in respect of Jack Daniel’s playing a significant part in their introduction to whiskey. Jack and coke was drunk for many years by both of us and we have many stories which revolve around a night of drinking the standard Jack Daniel's offering. Tasting profiles and preferences evolve over time and it has been many years since we last tried any of their portfolio. We thought it was high time we changed this, so chose to review Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel.
The Single Barrel was first introduced in 1997, drawn from their finest barrels and was hand selected by their then Master Distiller, Jimmy Bedford. Now this honour goes to their current MD, Jeff Arnett, who continues to decide which barrels from the top level of the rickhouse make the grade.
The UK version of the Single Barrel Select has a lower ABV percentage of 45% than the US offering which for some reason is just a touch higher at 47%.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass.
What we got – Sweet honey, syrup, and cherries, but not your typical bourbon whiskey sweetness. Mr Pie picks up the commonly found banana whereas with Mav the nose reminds him of the banana foam sweets. A strong dryness of wood is also ever present on the aroma.
What they say we should get - 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.
What we got – Super sweet with bundles of corn and a huge hit of dry wood. The banana is lost in all of its guises. A reasonable amount of spice, even with its relatively low percentage of rye in the mash bill. Uncomplicated, rounded and velvety palate.
What they say we should get - 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
What we got – A little disappointing, very dry but smooth and short to medium in length.
What they say we should get - Good length with a hint of citrus and plenty of cereal sweetness.
It’s the first Tennessee whiskey the Gents have reviewed and to be honest it is an absolute little belter. If you’re not a fan of the standard black label No. 7, now or never have been, then please don’t be put off trying this expression. There is nothing not to like - even the bottle is a gorgeous super sexy decanter style.
We were in two minds (which is handy as we do have two between us) about bringing up the subject of the classification of Jack Daniel’s, as it has always been a hot topic for vociferous discussion. You can hear our initial thoughts on the corresponding podcast, but during this discussion we also decided once and for all to put an end to the burning question by conducting a Twitter vote. As regular listeners to our podcast will know, whatever is decided on our Twitter votes are set in stone until the end of time. It was a resounding result - Jack Daniel’s is not bourbon! If you don’t agree, please don’t have a go at us, the Twitter world decided.
Whilst this whiskey won’t blow your mind and in our opinion should be about 20% cheaper to buy, it is well worth trying it out and we definitely recommend it. If you are in the UK, and are still not convinced, at least fork out a fiver for a shot in a bar, you may be very surprised.
6 out of 10 - Mav
6 out of 10 - Mr. Pie