Review – Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel
Founded sometime between 1866 and 1875, the Jack Daniels distillery holds the peculiarly rare status of being located in a ‘dry county’ meaning that this most globally-recognised of brands cannot be sold or consumed in the vicinity of its actual production. Although the brand like to make a point of it being a ‘Tennessee Whisky’ on account of its production location and filtration through maple charcoal (10 feet of it in fact), it does also fall under the broader categorisation of a bourbon. The Single Barrel does indeed arise from single barrels, the details of which are included on the bottle neck. Consequently some small variations in aroma and taste are to be found between bottles.
Nose: Softer than a regular JD aroma, but still unmistakably Jack. Acetone dominates initially, but underlying are notes of white peach, vanilla, and honey. A little more effort reveals hints of toasted almonds, a little cinnamon, burnt toast and clove. Not a ‘sniffing’ whiskey.
Neat: Sweet and spicy upfront, with has the characteristic Jack character. Quite heavy on both the oak and honey, against a backdrop of clove. In the middle there is plenty of white chocolate, contrasting with a vegetal and nutty bite. A whisper of orange flicks the otherwise moderately astringent finish.
Mixing: Ordinarily I might suggest that mixing a single barrel whisky would miss the point of enjoying the nuances of flavour it offers. With JD Single Barrel however, the benefits of smoothing the flavours and enhancing the positives far outweigh any loss of subtlety. The smoothing effects of an Old Fashioned are very much appreciated, particularly if the use of bitters is restrained. A Manhattanmeanwhile using anything but the softest vermouth risks drowning out the white chocolate/fruit flavours. The brand site recommends a simple mix with ginger ale, which is a far superior option than cola, although best of all is the Mint Julep, always a solid choice for a bourbon.
Jack Daniels Single Barrel is a perfectly solid choice of whisky for its price point. It lacks the complexity and balance of some single barrel bourbons, but is a worthwhile step up from the regular No 7 brand.
Jack Daniels Single Barrel is available to buy from Master of Malt
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.