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Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select

Review: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select 79/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted Sept 05, 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.

Each bottle of Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select is drawn from a single barrel of whisky with the barrel number marked upon the label. The company does not offer an age statement but apparently only the whiskey from only one in a hundred barrels is deemed to have the suitable characteristics for the brand.

The final spirit is bottled at 47 % 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 Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select when I tasted the spirit with ice and in a signature cocktail.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

In addition to the barrel number, each bottle is also identified on the back of the bottle with its bottling date. The mini 50 ml bottle I was given was dated 15 – 01- 24 indicating to me that the spirit in the mini is probably from an older batch than which I tasted at the Jack Daniels Event.

I like the Silver and Black label which is elegant, yet easy on the eyes and I also like the cork topped closure which adds to the prestige of the bottling.

In the Glass 8.5/10

Colour: Copper.

Legs: Mid-sized droplets which develop into slender legs which fall quickly

Initial Aroma: Big cedar notes, butterscotch, corn syrup, vanilla and peppery spice

Decanted Aroma: Oak and honeycomb, butterscotch, vanilla, orange peel, baking spice, and marzipan.

As the big cedar notes at the front give way, the dram becomes more nuanced. There is still a touch of sharpness warning me that the whiskey is going to have a bit of a kick.

In The Mouth 47/60

Alcohol push and Spice: Alcohol and wood spice bring a firm bite across the palate.

Initial Taste: Peppery wood and alcohol spice with butterscotch and ginger. Wood sap and punky corn.

Follow up: Dry and spicy with butterscotch, vanilla and almond hiding behind the alcohol bite. Some herbal flavours of tobacco and menthol follow behind. The whiskey is overproof,; but it tastes young as well.

With Ice: Allowing the ice to melt is a good course of action. The more diluted whisky seems sweeter and now milk chocolate flavours reveal as well.

Mixed: An Old Fashioned seems out of the question so I mixed a variant of my Barrel Rider Cocktail tailored for the Jack Daniel’s spirit. It a very nice cocktail and you can find the recipe down below. (The cocktail is better than the whiskey.)

In The Throat: 11/15

Body and Length: Medium to light bodied with a dry finish

Flavours during Swallow: Oak spice, corn, light butterscotch, and dry tobacco

Lingering Flavours: Some alcohol burn with heated oak spice and light baking spices. A touch of menthol helps, but not much

The Afterburn  8/10

Final Thoughts: The Whiskey was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping for another step up from Gentleman Jack, but the whisky steps back down towards the flagship Jack Daniel’s No 7.

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:

The Tempest

1 1/2 oz Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select
1/2 oz Orange Liqueur
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/3 oz Lemon Juice
2 dashes of Bitters (Angostura Aromatic Bitters)
1/6 oz Sugar Syrup
Ice
Orange Peel Twist

Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with plenty of ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a small rocks glass
Garnish with a twist of Orange or Grapefruit Peel

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

And if  you are interested in more recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for 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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