friends of mine took a vacation to Tennessee and surprised me with some bottles
from the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. These weren’t ordinary bottles that
you could just get anywhere. They’re an experimental series called Tennessee
Tasters. At the time I’m writing this, there are seven whiskeys in the
you’re unfamiliar with Jack Daniel’s (is there anyone who hasn’t heard of it?),
it was founded in 1866 as the first registered distillery in the United States.
It started when Jasper “Jack” Newton Daniel purchased a distillery for
$25.00 from a preacher named Dan Call. One of Call’s slaves named Nearis
Green (also known as Nathan “Nearest” Green) taught Jack how to
used water from Cave Spring Hollow in Lynchburg. Realizing how vital it was to
have a steady, reliable water source, he purchased it and the surrounding land.
The rest, of course, is history, and Jack Daniel’s is the #1 selling whiskey in
the United States and the fourth most popular in the world.
friends brought me three bottles of the Tennessee Tasters. Another friend, David
Levine, sent me samples of the remaining four so I could have a complete
set and provide tasting notes for each.
whiskey has a different recipe and proof, but each 375ml bottle will set you
back $39.99, and there are about 24,000 bottles of each available. With that
being said, I’ll #DrinkCurious and tell you about each one. My usual
format will be slightly different; I’ll give the specifications of each and then
provide the tasting notes. Unless otherwise stated, each Taster is distilled
from the Old No. 7 mashbill.
Release 001 – High Angel’s
January 2013, Released Fall 2018
ABV / 107°
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, this whiskey was the
color of caramel. It formed a thick rim with fast, heavy legs.
lemon zest, and oak joined with caramel and vanilla. When I pulled the aroma
into my mouth, there was more caramel.
Palate: I found the mouthfeel to be oily and thick. I
tasted English toffee, caramel, and raw honey on the front of my palate. The
middle featured crème brûlée,
and the back offered berries, cinnamon, and oak.
Finish: Medium to long in duration, the finish was
made of berries, English toffee, and oak.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I enjoyed this pour. It was perfectly proofed
and full of flavor. It is difficult not to sip this one and smile. I’m happy to
crown this one with a Bottle rating.
Release 002 – Hickory Smoke
with Charred Hickory Staves
ABV / 100°
Appearance: Chestnut in color, Release 002 formed a thin
rim on the wall of my Glencairn glass and yielded thick, quick legs.
Nose: As you might suspect, hickory smoke was
dominating. Beneath it was vanilla and caramel. As I drew the air past my lips,
vanilla rolled across my tongue.
Palate: Thin and oily, the front of my palate
experienced hickory smoke and oak. The middle consisted of vanilla and cream,
while the back tasted of dark chocolate and berries.
Finish: Perhaps the most interesting of this whiskey
was the Blue Diamond Smoked Almonds, salt, and roasted coffee flavors that
remained for a medium-to-long finish.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Each tasting element should be exciting. In
the base of Release 002, the only riveting component was the finish. That’s not
to say this was a lousy whiskey; instead, just a few notes mostly seemed out of
place. A Bar rating is
Release 003 – Barrel Reunion
in Red Wine Barrels for 288 days
ABV / 90°
orange-amber liquid issued a thin rim and weak legs in my Glencairn glass.
smelled fruity notes of strawberry and plum, then sweet vanilla, and finally,
oak. In my mouth, the vapor tasted of bananas.
Palate: A silky texture greeted my tongue. Banana,
plum, and cherry flavors completed the front, while vanilla encompassed the
entire middle. Toasted oak and leather created the back.
Finish: Medium in length, the finish was cherry,
vanilla, and oak.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I appreciate what Jack Daniel’s tried to do
with Release 003. It is unique; it is also only a few notes, and this whiskey
could have been so much more. My recommendation would be to try it at a Bar first.
Release 004 – Barrel Proof
Tennessee Rye Whiskey
Rye, 18% Corn, 12% Malted Barley
ABV / 127.6°
Appearance: This whiskey presented as caramel in color and
formed an ultra-thin rim on the wall of my Glencairn glass. What remained were
sticky droplets that fought gravity.
of cherry and prune married brown sugar and caramel. Charred oak was also easy
to discern. Through my mouth, banana teased my palate.
Palate: So far, Release 004 has the oiliest texture.
Banana bread, rye spice, and cinnamon made for an exciting start. The middle
featured caramel, nutmeg, and anise. On the back, I tasted leather, allspice,
Finish: Long and lingering, this Rye had a spicy
finish made of coffee, allspice, rye bread, and charred oak.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: There was nothing not to enjoy with this Rye.
Flavors meshed naturally. I loved how this went from sweet to spicy. Release
004 also drank under its stated proof. A Bottle
rating for sure!
Release 005 – Barrel Reunion
in Oatmeal Stout Barrels for at least 240 days
ABV / 92°
Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, the caramel
color was enticing. A medium rim was formed, which released watery legs.
Nose: Peanut butter!
I’m a peanut butter freak, and peanut butter just exploded out of the
glass. While I couldn’t care less what other aromas were floating around, they
were there and featured vanilla, toasted oak, and cherry pie filling. Drawing
the vapor into my mouth, vanilla was evident.
Palate: A creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel resulted in
milk chocolate and oatmeal cookies on the front. Peanut butter and nougat
formed the middle, while coffee, dark chocolate, and cherry summed up the back.
Finish: Medium in duration, the finish was made of
chocolate-covered peanuts, coffee, nougat, and cherry.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Release 005 was mind-blowing and easily a
standout from anything else in the series. I would have loved a longer finish. As
my favorite of the seven, this snags a Bottle
Release 006 – Jamaican Allspice
with Toasted Jamaican Allspice Wood for 180 Days
ABV / 100°
Appearance: A reddish-amber hue grabbed my attention. In
my Glencairn glass, it generated a medium rim with irregular, thick legs.
Nose: As you’d imagine, a mesquite aroma blasted my
face. Accompanied by honey barbeque, brown sugar, plum, and tobacco, the
sweetness melded nicely with the liquid smoke. As I drew the air into my mouth,
vanilla punched my tongue.
Palate: Medium-bodied, caramel and cola were at the
front of my palate. Flavors of honey and coffee formed the middle, while
allspice, smoked oak, and tobacco were on the back.
Finish: Medium in duration, the finish tasted of
clove, tobacco leaf, smoked oak, and cola.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Release 006 was an easy sipper. I have had
pimento wood/allspice finished whiskeys before, and usually, what dominates is
the allspice. I believe the cola notes tamed it. There weren’t complicated notes,
yet overall, it was delicious. I’m happy to convey my Bottle rating.
Batch 007 – 14E19 “Twin”
Tennessee Whiskey (40%) blended with Straight Tennessee Rye Whiskey (60%)
May 2014, Released Fall 2020
ABV / 107°
in color, it formed a medium rim on the side of my Glencairn glass, then
released thick, fast legs.
Nose: An aroma of honey barbeque sauce blended with cinnamon
and brown sugar. When I inhaled through my lips, vanilla and rye spice were
Palate: I found the mouthfeel to be thin and oily. At
the front, I discerned caramel, vanilla, and citrus. The middle featured
molasses and honey, while the back was cinnamon, more caramel, and barrel char.
Finish: Long and spicy, the finish tasted of rye,
charred oak, nutmeg, and caramel.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Release 007 was the least interesting of the series.
I enjoy bouryes; this was just Plain Jane and didn’t do anything for me. I must
stress it wasn’t bad. But, it does take a Bar rating.
Thoughts: If Jack Daniel’s releases
additional experimental whiskeys to the Tennessee Tasters series, I’ll review
them separately. Thanks for wading through all of these notes. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy to
Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.