One of the world’s most popular whiskey brands, and America’s highest selling whiskey brands, Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 is a highly coveted drink that has captured the attention of many whiskey lovers all over the world.
Categorized as a Tennessee Whiskey instead of a Bourbon Whiskey owing to its unique, and patented Lincoln Country Process, the Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 is the company’s standard and flagship expression, and serves as the base for many of their other expressions such as the double charcoal filtered Gentleman Jack, honey liqueur Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, a cinnamon liqueur.
The Jack Daniel’s Distillery was established in Lynchburg Country, Tennessee in 1875, where young Jack Daniel was assisted by his future Master Distiller, Nearest Green, in order to create the recipe for the Tennessee Whisky that would go on to become Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7.
Although it meets the criteria to be classified as a Bourbon Whiskey, the Lincoln Country Process is what qualifies Jack Daniel’s to be referred to as a Tennessee Whiskey. As per the law, a Tennessee Whiskey must be produced in the state of Tennessee, in addition to adhering to a number of production and quality criteria.
It has followed the same preparation process devised by Jack Daniel and Nearest Green during the early years of the brand, and survived Prohibition a number of times, both on the state-level and the national level. Interestingly, Moore Country, where Jack Daniel’s is distilled, is a dry-county, meaning it can only be distilled there but not sold or purchased.
Jack Daniel’s whiskey is prepared using a mash that contains 80% Corn, 12% Barley and 8% Rye, mixing the grains with water and adding yeast in order to begin the process of fermentation.
At the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, this mash is allowed to ferment for a period of six days before moving on to the next phase, Distillation. It occurs in custom made copper stills wherein the alcohol is distilled just once, whereupon the spirit is then ready for the next step in the process of producing Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Whiskey.
Stacks of Sugar Maple Wood are sprayed with raw, unaged whiskey from the distillery, setting it on fire before dousing the fire to obtain sugar maple charcoal pellets. These pellets are then stacked for filtration of the distilled spirit, lending the typical smoothness to Jack Daniel’s.
After the charcoal filtration, Jack Daniel’s mature their whisky in new, charred American White Oak barrels for a suitable period of time, until the qualified people deem it fit to be bottled. Unlike other whiskey and Scotch whisky brands, the makers of Jack Daniel’s do not stick to a specified maturation age for their whisky, and rely on taste rather than years of maturation to determine it fit for bottling.
Once a barrel is tasted and considered to be satisfactory, it can then move on to the next step; Bottling.
Until 1987, the Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 used to be bottled at 90 US Proof (45% ABV), after which the alcohol levels were lowered to 86 US Proof, before being further reduced to the standard 80 US Proof (40% ABV) in 2002.
The company has won a number of awards over its 144-year history although no concrete information is provided by the brand on their official website. It has won a number of brand popularity contests too, such as the Brand of the Year Award in 2017 in Australia
A strong smoky nose, with hints of sweetness, and spice.
Smooth, with loads of sweetness and traces of bananas, caramel and smoke.
Medium, with a sweet aftertaste and oakiness.