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Jack Daniel's 10 Year Batch 03 Tennessee Whiskey Review - An Exploration in Distillery Dependability


Jack Daniel's 10 Year Tennessee Whiskey Batch 03

“Consistency is the hallmark of the unimaginative.”
- Oscar Wilde

For almost 150 years, the Jack Daniel Distillery has been aiming to consistently please the whiskey consumer. In utilizing a sour mash fermentation preparation and the 'Lincoln County Process' charcoal filtering step, Jack Daniel's has earned renown for a seriously consistent product. Known for brown sugar and banana notes amongst connoisseurs, there has always been some safety in buying a Jack Daniel's product. If you've had one of them before and liked it, odds are you will like most of their distillate (flavored whiskey being a topic for another day). Steadfast flavor and a keen eye towards smooth quality has been a hallmark of American whiskey for generations.


Jack Daniel's 10 Year Tennessee Whiskey Batch 03 Flat Lay

Enter the whiskey boom of the late 2010s / early 2020s. The whiskey consumer is suddenly craving nuance and differentiation. Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 is generally looked down upon as bottom shelf whiskey by curious drinkers exploring the differences between mash bills, ages, cooperages, distillation techniques, fermentation nuances, and the effects of terroir. Master Distiller Chris Fletcher has a challenge on his hands - he's at the helm of a brand widely known for consistency. What can he do to stand out in this newly crowded field and offer a customer that may not be reaching for cheap, shelfer well whiskey anymore?


The 2020 Single Barrel Special Release Barrel Proof Rye, Coy Hill, Twice Barreled ASM, Twice Barreled Rye, Jack Daniel's 12 year, and finally Jack Daniel's 10 year were all widely well received as the answer to the innovation gap that came before Fletcher's time. Despite it having been distilled by Jeff Arnett, it still takes a great palate to figure out the landscape for a good whiskey release. When I was in Lynchburg picking a cask strength single barrel with Lexie Phillips, I mentioned to their head of innovation to do more on the rye side, and it sure seems like they listened. Not one year later I was selecting the first single barrel select barrel proof rye to hit Massachusetts. Given all the hits of the 2020-and-beyond era of Jack Daniel Distillery, the brand feels well poised for future success.



Now on it's third batch, I wonder... what is the goal for this 10 year release? Is it consistency... or nuance? I am fortunate to have all 3 batches available to me for comparison, so I'll do just that after we get through the evaluation of the latest release. From my previous dissection of batch 2, I noticed an appreciable improvement from batch 1. Will batch 3 follow this trend and finally crack into the upper echelons of whiskey royalty? Let's dive in and find out.


 

Company on Label: Jack Daniel Distillery 

Whiskey Type: Tennessee Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 80% Corn, 8% Rye, 12% Malted Barley

Proof: 97°

Age: 10 years

Further identification: Batch 03 is displayed on the front label of this bottling which was released on a once-annual basis in February of 2024 at an MSRP of $70


 

Nose: Buttermilk pancakes, biscotti, and salted caramel frosting jump out of the warm, well-rested glass first. Diving the nose back into the interior of my glencairn offers subtle hints of cherry skins, raisin, plum, and molasses. Deep inhales do offer a bit of barrel funk as well as some unmitigated proof in what feels like a slight isopropyl alcohol spill. A swirl of the glass unleashes more buttery tones that hold the gourmand's attention. Subtle banana cream pie and coffee is served on a comfortable Sunday afternoon. Everything here is quite well balanced. On to a sip!


Returning to the glass offers nondescript, rich bakery goods; it is creamy overall with aromas of chocolate, granulated sugar, and a soft brown sugar sprinkled muffin. Caramel and molasses are the only strong highlights of the late glass. The empty glencairn smells like... caramel.


Palate: My first taste is a zesty surprise from the reserved, well-integrated nosing experience. Yellow chartreuse and orange peel lead the way before a delicate florality sweeps across the tongue. Another sip of the viscous liquid in the glass reveals soft, buttered banana bread, dried apricot, and oodles of caramel sauce to go around. The mouthfeel is slightly oily with that buttery characteristic lingering the best. It's not overly sweet, nor does it offer as much complexity as I both crave and demand from a whiskey worth sipping. Returning to the glass late offers distinct traces of corn, unsurprising for a bourbon, but surprising for a bourbon of this age. The lips tingle with a bit of mint during the medium linger that evolves into really subtle Christmas baking spices of clove, allspice, and nutmeg. My last sip is both gentle and tingly at the same time. Orange peel, caramel, mint, and tarragon finish out a glass that seems to only diminish with time and air. The finish continues to be medium in length with more mint and dried cherry skins.


TL;DR: A good whiskey that unfortunately falls flat with too much time and air


 

Rating: 3/5


Unfortunately batch 3 has resulted in a bit of a fall from grace. I thoroughly enjoyed my first 2 glasses of this bottle, but my 3rd and 4th experiences both managed to land really flat and a little chemically unbalanced. While there are some serious redeeming qualities that can be found between those lackluster moments, the general simplicity and disappointment I have been experiencing while taking my time with this release ultimately puts it back down in the middle of the road for me. While I would have been eager to hunt down a backup of batch 2, I am definitely all set with my single bottle purchase at MSRP for this year's offering.


 

Comparisons Between Batches 1 - 3



I've put together this helpful table for a quick reference between my thoughts on each of the three releases. There are certainly parallels between each of them given they are all made from the same distillery, but I've attempted to distill them down into their main parts. I was surprised to find that when I re-tasted all 3 of these again side by side that they are strikingly different. Evaluated on their own, I think many will find they will write most of the same notes, but when stacked up side by side, the differences become far more apparent. What is perhaps the most surprising are the ratings...


Batch #
Batch 3
Nose
  • Black pepper

  • Paper

  • Faint citrus

  • Creamy vanilla

  • Elegant spice depth

  • Sweet fruit

  • Caramel

  • Barrel funk

  • Breadiness

Palate
  • Apple crisp

  • Tannic oak

  • Ripe banana

  • Bitter molasses

  • Rich cherry

  • Buttery frosting

  • Exciting zest

  • Vast complexity

  • Caramel

  • Banana bread

  • Mint

  • Christmas spices

Finish
  • Slightly thin

  • Medium length

  • Caramel & mint

  • Oily, creamy

  • Undulates long

  • Vanilla & wine

  • Funky, thin

  • Medium length

  • Mint & dry tannins

Score
4/5
4.5/5
3/5

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