Review: Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

Charred Virgin Oak
~80% Corn, 8% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Jack Daniels (Lynchburg, Tennessee)

Jack Daniel’s, the founder of this famed distillery in Tennesse, at 14 years old ran away from his stepmother and lived with his lay uncle preacher, in louse creek tennessee, where whiskey was distilled. As his uncle went to fight in the war, and he learned how to distill from a slave of his uncle, Nearest Green. Soon enough, Jack set up business for himself, moved to Cave Spring with Nearest Green’s sons. And this is where distillery still is – a county which is dry, interestingly enough – so although lots is produced there, none can be drunk there. A common misconception with this whiskey is that it uniquely uses a “sour mash” process, when in fact this is the common practice of most bourbons.

Here we have the biggest selling whisky/whiskey in the world, drunk well all over the world. It is made in Tennessee, where it undergoes the Lincoln County Process, where the new make spirit off the still is filtered through charcoal before being put into the barrels. This has the effect of filtering out some elements from the distillation – notably harsher elements. To be called “Tennessee whiskey” it must undergo this process.

Review (2013)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2013

Nose: Oak and maple come out, with a good dose of honey and slightly peppery spice. The aroma itself is a bit sour, with lots of corn coming through, orange peel, eucalyptus, vanilla, apple, and floral notes of daisies, with a slightly creamy and oily texture. The nose itself smells quite sweet, but it is pleasant.

Taste: Slightly grainy, with some buttery corn, caramel, vanilla, maple, apricot, and some distinct rye notes. It’s quite sweet, which seems to enhance the honey in the taste. It’s almost a bit tart, surprisingly enough, and at times tastes a bit sour. Overall, it’s decent but a bit flat and could use some more complexity, depth, and excitement.

Finish: A touch dry, with lots of spice and some more corn and some tannins. I feel the spiciness on the back of the tongue, and there’s a bit of oak as well and some very light fruity notes and a bit malty and sweet. If the finish were a bit less dry and less grainy, it would do better.

Value: Average. This isn’t a great whisky, but it doesn’t cost a lot. However, there are much better buys in this price range.