Tennessee Whiskey

Review: Jack Daniel's Barrel Proof Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Jack+Daniels+CS+%282%29.jpg
ABV
66.65%
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak
Recipe
~80% Corn, 8% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Jack Daniels (Lynchburg, Tennessee)

These are rather hidden secrets coming from Jack Daniel’s, not too hard to find and not too expensive. It’s certainly a much more refined, bigger, and expressive Jack!


Review (2019)

  • Batch: Barrel 18-0394 (bottled 1.11.2018, 66.65%)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

This smells so much like Jack Daniels with the hit of spicy caramel, but it’s so much bigger, spicier, and rounded. Rich oak, caramel, toasted fennel seed, dried orange, clove, wood char, and dried berries. The palate has a depth of corn, with a touch of nice vegetal rye (arugula), spices, and loads more caramel. Lots of banana, too. The palate is so big and spicy, even if water is added! The finish is rich with corn, spice, and caramel notes. There is a nice kick of oak and tannin on the finish, too. Fantastic!

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). This is pretty universally liked among my bourbon lovers who don’t like most Jack Daniel’s bottlings, so I suggest giving this one a try if you like big bourbons.

Value: Average. It’s not a bad price for a cask strength whisky of this calibre, but it’s still sitting around 65 USD.


Review: George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
84% Corn, 8% Rye, 8% Malted Barley
Distiller George Dickel (Tullahoma, Tennessee)

George Dickel is the other distillery in Tennessee, the second major whiskey producer in Tennessee after Jack Daniel’s – the largest American whiskey producer in the world. This whiskey is aged 12 years, and filtered through maple charcoal in regulation with the Lincoln County process which Tennessee Whiskey employs. However, unlike Jack Daniel’s, George Dickel chill their products before they filter it through the charcoal, and do so faster than Jack Daniel’s resulting in a different stripping process. Great value for this whiskey, and often a pleasant surprise for guests at tastings I have lead.


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Nose: Creamy, corn-driven, lightly nutty, raisins, and some really nice oak integration, vanilla, spice – rich flavours here. It’s fairly bready, the yeasty-grainy smell of rising dough. Some of the grain is a bit funky at times and I don’t know whether I like it or not, which on one hand is a good thing because it keeps me thinking.

Taste: Dried corn, dried cherries, with some woody spice which continues on with some honey before gradually letting you down at the finish. The tannins are certainly felt in this one, but it’s not too bitter. Some nice wood smoke in the mix, too, which adds quite a nice edge. I once infused dried chipotle peppers into black eyed peas as they were boiling away, and the grainy-smoky characteristics of this whisky remind me of that.

Finish: Quite bold, retaining its woodiness and honeyed corn character and a decent punch of a spicy peppery feel. Some light apple and dried cherry comes into the mix as well. There’s a nice buttery aspect to the finish too, which I quite like. It makes me think this would do wonders as well whipped into a bit of cream and put on top of a dense chocolate cake…regardless, the spicy/dry dynamic is great here.

This is quite a nice product, particularly for the price. Nothing is out of whack, it’s well put together – though the nose is the weakest part. Certainly one I enjoy to sip…I really quite like their rye, which I might put above this one, but this is still a solid product. The spicy bite at the end makes this one quite addictive and really makes me want another sip. I think I would prefer the Dickel Rye more – if not for the lovely spicy finish on this one. Fabulous value.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $30.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L7177R60011413 0307110195531w

  • Bottling Date: 2017

A sweet, rich nose – slightly nutty (marzipan!), almond cookies, oak, green apple, wet marsh, brown rice, and a very floral vanilla character. The palate is sweet, oaky, spicy, and rich – still lots of green apple, vanilla. The corn mixed with the oak is just brilliant. The feel really grips on the palate, too. What a solid whiskey. It’s not breathtaking- but what a whiskey, and what value. The finish fades somewhat quickly, but with more dried corn, oak, and wood smoke.

Hard to do better than this in Ontario if you don’t want to dish out much money. Terrific.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $30.


Review: Whoop & Holler American Whiskey (Orphan Barrel) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Taylor Strategy, for Orphan Barrel Distilling Co.

Image courtesy of Taylor Strategy, for Orphan Barrel Distilling Co.

ABV
42.0%
Aging
New Charred Oak; 28 Years
Recipe
84% Corn, 8% Rye, 8% Malted Barley
Distiller George Dickel (Tullahoma, Tennessee)

This orphan barrel comes from Diageo's George Dickel distillery, and, consequently, we get more information about the whisky - mashbill, how it was distilled (and charcoal mellowed), and aged for 28 years. It's an old bourbon! This is the ninth release of the Orphan Barrel series, which showcases limited edition American whisky. By the way, Whoop & Holler is an enthusiastic howl.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Rich dried fruit, and lots of oak. Dried pineapple, plum, brown sugar, mulberries, marzipan, toast, and lots of rich oak. The palate has some fairly clean corn, applesauce, pear, and a lot of spices and oak on the finish. If you drink this quickly – it feels over oaked. However, I drink quite slowly, and this is very nice – my favorite of the orphan barrels. The grain is rich, the oak is buttery and creamy, and it is balanced with a nice array of fruit. Quite light overall, given the low ABV. I think this would be pretty awesome at higher strength. Creamy, oaky finish – and ever so lightly bitter, which I like. I quite like it!

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very Low, based on $300.


Review: George Dickel Barrel Select by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of George Dickel. Used with permission.

Image courtesy of George Dickel. Used with permission.

ABV
43%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
84% Corn, 8% Rye, 8% Malted Barley
Distiller George Dickel (Tullahoma, Tennessee)

This is the top of the line for Dickel, one of the least appreciated large distilleries in American whisky that produces terrific product. As with other Dickel whiskies, this product is chilled and passed through charcoal before aging in accordance with Tennessee whisky regulations. The charring on the barrels is number 4 on the sides of the barrel (i.e. alligator/heaviest char) and number 2 on the barrel head. Only about 10 barrels are selected per batch, so the batches are small. The releases are about 10-12 years old.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Creamy, fruity, cherries, honeycomb, white gooseberry, vanilla, buttery caramel, charcoal, pencil shavings, leather…such terrific, elegant whisky. The nose grows more rich as it sits – apricot, honey, and nectarine. The palate leads in with oak but is full of brilliant fruit as well – cherries, plums – and typical whisky spices and some nice green tea, coconut, and spearmint notes too. A terrific creamy mouthfeel, and rich dried mixed fruit at the core which is just fabulous. Definitely more mellow than the terrific No 12. A great finish, with lots of oak and even featuring some balsam fir alongside the caramel, oak, grapefruit pith, and dried corn. Terrific!

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very High, based on $60.


Review: George Dickel Rye Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
95% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Producer George Dickel (Tullahoma, Tennessee)

George Dickel produces a number of products which they filter through maple charcoal in the Lincoln County process – a signature of Tennesse whisky (and, therefore, also Jack Daniel’s). George Dickel is the other major Tennessee distillery, making this rye – however, this one they don’t distill. They do filter it through maple charcoal, but it is produced at MGP in Indiana – a distillery well known for their rye (used in Bulleit rye, this one, and others) with a signature 95% rye mashbill. It is about 5 years old.

Interestingly, MGP, in Indiana, which makes this rye, uses the same “V” yeast strain as Four Roses (as in the single barrel) as they were all once part of Seagrams, a Canadian company, which used a number of different yeasts and products for blending purposes.


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Nose: Enticing – vanilla, dried orange, oak, cherry, and a fat, rich grainy body. Dry spices as well are in the mix, and there is a beautiful floral edge to this which the oak hasn’t killed (as happens with some ryes made in new oak)- I love it. There’s a slight bit of stale bitterness to this, at times, which does detract, but it doesn’t always show its head. A real showcase of rye which reminds me how wonderful the grain is for whisky.

Taste: Fairly sweet and dry, with some black tea, pepper, tannins, rye with some lighter apply and cherry fruitiness, and some spices and a good kick of oak. The intensity of the rye is quite intense, and it has some of that distinct arugula earthiness and flax/linseed character. Fairly sweet, too.

Finish: Long – black tea, with some lightly fruity and funky rye and the oak sticking around and the lightest touch of malt. Spicy and grassy, lightly earthy, with maple, cola, mint, cinnamon, and apples too

This is very nice – and certainly so for the price. To get a rye of this caliber at a price like this is quite outstanding – certainly amidst what is available in Ontario this oughtto be a big hit. It does nicely with the oak and the rye, and is, simply, just a good American rye.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $37.


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

ABV
40%
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak
Recipe
~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.