Showing posts with label Jack Daniel's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jack Daniel's. Show all posts

Friday, April 22, 2022

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Tasters Releases 001 - 007 Reviews & Tasting Notes


Recently, 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 series.


If 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 distill whiskey.


Daniel 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.


My 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.


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 Share Barrels

  • Barrelled January 2013, Released Fall 2018
  • 53.5% ABV / 107°


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this whiskey was the color of caramel. It formed a thick rim with fast, heavy legs.


Nose: Cinnamon, 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

  • Finished with Charred Hickory Staves
  • Released Fall 2018
  • 50% 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 well-deserved.



Release 003 – Barrel Reunion #1

  • Finished in Red Wine Barrels for 288 days
  • Released Spring 2019
  • 45% ABV / 90°


Appearance: The orange-amber liquid issued a thin rim and weak legs in my Glencairn glass.


Nose: I 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 Rye

  • Straight Tennessee Rye Whiskey
  • 70% Rye, 18% Corn, 12% Malted Barley
  • Released Spring 2019
  • 63.8% 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.


Nose: Aromas 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, and coffee.


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 #2

  • Finished in Oatmeal Stout Barrels for at least 240 days
  • Released Fall 2019
  • 46% 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 rating.



Release 006 – Jamaican Allspice 

  • Finished with Toasted Jamaican Allspice Wood for 180 Days
  • Released Spring 2020
  • 50% 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” Blend Whiskey

  • Straight Tennessee Whiskey (40%) blended with Straight Tennessee Rye Whiskey (60%)
  • Barrelled May 2014, Released Fall 2020
  • 53.5% ABV / 107°


Appearance: Caramel 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 noted.


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.


Final 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


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Thursday, December 23, 2021

Live Tasting of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Tasters on The Whiskey Ring Podcast


Every so often, I wind up on a podcast. This time, I show up on The Whiskey Ring podcast. David and I chatted for a little over two hours and I had no idea he was going to trim so little of it, this one is a whopping two hours long!

The subject was the Tennessee Tasters Collection from Jack Daniel's. I'll put together my reviews in one, big shebang in the near future. 

"A crossover! On this week's episode, I'm joined by Jeff Schwartz, AKA Whiskeyfellow. He's been writing about whiskey for several years on his Blog and  Facebook page - both of which you should definitely like and follow (Instagram, too!). We're tasting the Tennessee Tasters, a 7-bottle series from Jack Daniel's that's all experimental (until they aren't, of course)." - David Levine

The episode can be found here. Give him a follow while you're at it. Cheers!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

My Appearance on "This is My Bourbon Podcast" Tonight


It was a great time tonight on Perry Ritter's This is My Bourbon Podcast!  If you don't know Perry, he's the designer of my Whiskeyfellow logo. He's also a nice guy and has this hilarious podcast.

The topic tonight was the recent Jack Daniel's Barrel Proof pick for The Speakeasy_WI called Grumpy Old Men.  With me were Steve Schwartzer and Troy Mancusi, the other admins of The Speakeasy_WI. 

Give it a look-see, it'll run you about an hour. Cheers!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

And a New Record is Set...


This is a new record - for a barrel sell-out. In a mere four hours, this Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select dubbed Grumpy Old Men and picked by The Speakeasy_WI for Neil's Liquor of Middleton disappeared. 160 bottles, 130.2°, and 5-1/2 years old. 

The selection committee was Dan O'Connell, Troy Mancusi, Steve Schwartzer, Ty Krugman, and me.

The previous record was held by The Rat Pick selected for Riley's Wines of the World. That one sold out in a day.


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Rye Review & Tasting Notes

Jack Daniel's has been around for what seems to be forever. In fact, they've not changed their mashbill since 1866, back when 14-year old Jasper "Jack" Daniel started his own distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, producing a charcoal-mellowed whiskey after learning his art from Reverend Dan Call and slave Nathan "Nearest" Green. Back then, the mash was 80% corn, 12% malted barley, and 8% rye. That's remained unchanged through today.

Except in 2012, Jack Daniel's started tinkering around and released its Unaged Rye, using a mash of 70% rye, 18% corn, and 12% malted barley. That then led to Rested Rye in 2014. Neither were greeted with big accolades. But, then, in 2016, the Single Barrel Rye release started to turn heads. 

The Rye goes through the same Lincoln County Process (LCP) that its world-famous Tennessee Whisky does. That involves filtering newmake through ten feet of sugar maple charcoal prior to barreling in new, charred oak. This LCP is supposed to mellow the whiskey. 

As a single barrel whiskey, every release is going to be at least slightly different. It carries no age statement, although it is rumored to be between four and five years old. It is packaged at 94° (although barrel proof is newly released). A 750ml bottle runs around $55.00.

If you're thinking that $55.00 seems a lot for a four or so-year American whiskey, keep in mind that American Rye tends to mature faster than its Bourbon counterpart, and four years is plenty adequate in most cases.

Today I'm reviewing Barrel 18-5485 from rick L-23.  It was dumped on August 14, 2018. Is it any good? The only way to answer that is to #DrinkCurious, so let's get to it.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this Rye was a bright, clear amber color. It left a very thin rim but generated fat, wavy legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  Stewed fruits and a hint of mint started things off on the nose. Aromas of brown sugar and toasted oak was next. And then, strangely enough, I smelled corn. When I inhaled through my open lips, minty vanilla rolled across my tongue.

Palate:  The mouthfeel was soft and silky. I picked up no ethanol burn. The first flavor to hit my palate was sweet, creamy vanilla. The mint was absent. Mid-palate was rye spice and corn (again). On the back, it was muted oak. 

Finish:  As light as this whiskey was, it had a surprisingly long finish. Pepper and smoky oak started the show, and it ended with, and I can't believe I'm saying this, corn. Corn? Corn is only 18% of the mash. It blows my mind that corn would be a heavy player in something other than a barely-legal Rye.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This whiskey had a very interesting, appetizing nose. It had a nice mouthfeel. The palate was not complicated and lacked any real panache. The corn was baffling, making for a very different American Rye. As most people who follow me know, different is something that's typically appealing. However, different also has to be exciting. The heavy corn presence was distracting and, frankly, I found this Rye boring and not worth $55.00.  As such, it takes a Bust. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System:
  • Bottle = Buy it
  • Bar = Try it first
  • Bust = Leave it