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Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire

Review: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire   78.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted September 12, 2018

Jack Daniel’s is produced in Lynchburg, Tennessee, by the Jack Daniel Distillery (currently owned by the Brown-Forman Corporation). The flagship brand Jack Daniels Old No. 7 is produced in much the same manner as bourbon, from a corn heavy mash and aged in new charred white oak barrels. However, the Jack Daniel’s distillery has always resisted the use of the bourbon classification, and instead prefers to label their spirit as Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey. In the advertising and upon their website, the company highlights the fact that Jack Daniels Whiskey undergoes a filtering process (not typically used by bourbon producers) known as the The Lincoln County Process. This Process involves filtering the whiskey through a column of charcoal (or steeping the whiskey in charcoal chips) to remove unwanted flavours and contaminants prior to cask aging. The Jack Daniel’s Distillery produces its own charcoal pellets for the Lincoln County Process from sugar maple timbers. These charcoal pellets are packed into 10-foot (3.0 m) vats, where they are used to remove the impurities from the distilled Jack Daniel’s whiskey.

Jack Daniels Tennessee Fire represents a blending of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey with a what the company calls ‘a red-hot cinnamon liqueur’.

The final spirit is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.

Note: I was invited to a special Jack Daniel’s Tasting Event where I sampled Jack Daniels Old No. 7, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select, Jack Daniels Honey, and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire. As a guest at the tasting, I was given small 50 ml samples of each spirit to take home. At the tasting event, I took brief tasting notes for each spirit and compiled this review based upon those tasting notes as well as from my tasting sessions with my small sample of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire arrives in the tall rectangular bottle shown to the left. The bottle has angled corners which give the bottle a solid masculine look. The black label features large white lettering which stands out well adding to the overall appeal of the presentation. The combination of a strong bottle and label design gives the whiskey a substantive presence on the bar shelf.

In the Glass 8/10

Colour: Pale Gold (similar to the colour of light brown sugar)

Legs: Medium-Fat droplets which develop into thickish legs

Initial Aroma: Cinnamon Sticks and Cinnamon Heart candies

Decanted Aroma: The cinnamon dominates but we do catch glimpses of oak and wood.

Although the cinnamon is omnipresent, the spirit has better balance than the previously reviewed Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey.

In The Mouth 47/60

Alcohol push and Spice: I don’t notice any undo heat from the whiskey, but there is a severe searing of cinnamon spice. The whiskey is well-named.

Initial Taste: Intense cinnamon sticks with a bit of added sweetness.

Follow up: Nothing new to report. The whiskey is exactly as advertised.

With Ice: Even with ice the whiskey is not comfortable to sip. I don’t believe that is the point though. This whisky is supposed to bring fire and spice and that is what it does.

Mixed: I suggest a tall refreshing cocktail (see recipe below) or perhaps to use the spirit in the same way in which we would use bitters (in extremely small doses as a cinnamon accent within a cocktail).

In The Throat: 11/15

Body and Length: Medium bodied

Flavours during Swallow: Fire and cinnamon spice

Lingering Flavours: Hints of sweetness appear.

The Afterburn  8/10

Final Thoughts: The spiced whiskey lives up to its billing bringing oodles of cinnamon heat across the palate. There is so much heat in fact that only a few nuances of flavour from the underlying whisky poke through. I wouldn’t sip this one, but I certainly understand the appeal for those who love spicy heat.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Recipe:

Hot Fun in The Summertime

1 1/2 oz Jack Daniels Fire
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Ice
3 oz Ginger-ale

Chill your favourite tall drinking glass
Fill with Ice
Pour the first four ingredients into the glass over the ice
Add two dashes of Bitters and complete with Ginger Beer
Stir to mix thoroughly
Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: The cocktail’s name is a little nod to Sly and the Family Stone whose great song found its way onto my music mix while I was sipping the mixed libation.

If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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As always you may (loosely) interpret the scores I provide as follows:

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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