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Gentleman Jack

Review: Gentleman Jack  82.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted August 29, 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.

Note: The process is named for Lincoln County, Tennessee which, based upon the boundaries at the time, was the County where the Jack Daniel’s distillery was located at the time the Lincoln County Process was developed.

Gentleman Jack apparently undergoes the filtration process a second time. According to the Jack Daniel’s Website the whisky is Double Mellowed for Exceptional Smoothness. The website goes on to say:

Inspired by the original gentleman distiller and our founder, Gentleman Jack undergoes a second charcoal mellowing to achieve exceptional smoothness. Its balanced flavor is perfect for celebrating life’s extraordinary occasions, plus all the moments along the way.

The final spirit is bottled at 40 % 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 a tasting session with my small sample of Gentleman Jack when I tasted the spirit with ice and in a signature cocktail.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Gentleman Jack arrives in the flask style bottle shown to the left. The Silver and black label is attractive and placing the words ‘Rare Tennessee Whiskey’ under the brand name is sure to garner some attention from the Jack Daniels enthusiasts. Both the bottle and the label serve to separate and elevate the brand above Jack Daniels No. 7 in the minds of consumers.

In the Glass 8.5/10

Colour: Beautiful amber hue, well on its way to copper.

Legs: Fat droplets which develop into plump legs which fall slowly

Initial Aroma: cedar, oak, caramel, corn syrup, vanilla and almond

Decanted Aroma: Honeycomb and marmalade, building oak spice, tobacco, green apples, apricot Jam, and marzipan.

Gentleman Jack displays more nuance and structure on the nose than Jack Daniel’s No. 7. The double mellowing certainly has given us  reward. There is a hint but only a hint of the Jack Daniel’s No. 7 ‘punky’ quality and perhaps just a touch of that Jack Daniel’s fire.

In The Mouth 49/60

Alcohol push and Spice: Although oak spice taps the tonsils the dram remains relatively smooth with very little alcohol bite.

Initial Taste: Oak and wood spice with a firm corn filled character. Bits of peppery ginger and wood sap begin to bring the expression back closer to the flagship Jack Daniel’s No. 7.

Follow up: The whisky is drier and more spice-filled than the nose would have indicated. The heat from the 40 % alcohol seems to be ramped up more than it should be. Dry grassy hay and hints of menthol lend an impression of cigarette tobacco, and the sweetness promised by the nose never evolves.

With Ice: The dram becomes woody and a touch bitter.

Mixed: I mixes an Old Fashioned Cocktail made with Fees Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters. I found I needed to add a touch more simple syrup than I usually do to bring the cocktail into balance. (Also do not leave the orange peel in very long.)

In The Throat: 12/15

Body and Length: Medium bodied with a shortened finish.

Flavours during Swallow: Oak spice, corn grain, and dry tobacco

Lingering Flavours: glowing oak spice and cinnamon.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

Final Thoughts: The whisky is a step up from Jack Daniels No. 7, however I was looking for a touch more sweetness to balance the dry wood spice.

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:

Old Fashioned Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Gentleman Jack
1 Tsp.  Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
dash Fees Barrel Aged Bitters
2 large Ice Cubes
Twist of Orange Peel

Add the first four ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

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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