Jack Daniel's 10 Year is back for a version 2 of the same release that I reviewed in November of 2021. As a reminder, this label is a new product for today's distillery, but a rekindling of a label they last used over a century ago. A whiskey enthusiast at the end of their first release might be wondering how batch 02 fairs - and why they moved the batch number from the back of the bottle, formerly saying "Batch No 10-001", to the new standard on the front of the bottle - simply "Batch 02". Perhaps their master distiller Chris Fletcher is more proud of this batch? Choosing to prominently display the batch this time is a good idea in my mind, as it certainly makes it stand out as something new. There's almost zero risk of this getting mixed up on a shelf somewhere, as I'm fairly certain all the previous bottles of this 10 year release are sold through by now... One would hope.
For those curious about the comparison to the previous batch, I will do a small side by side at the end of this review. For now, settle in - I've got some tasting notes for you.
Company on Label: Jack Daniel Distillery
Whiskey Type: Tennessee Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: 80% Corn, 8% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Age: 10 years
Further identification: Batch 02 is displayed on the front label of this release which was first made available in March of 2023; the perforated neck plastic that covers the cork saw a major upgrade this year with perforations going down the side of the neck and then along the entire perimeter for clean removal - a pain point I specifically had with my bottle of Batch 1
Nose: On lifting the glass to my nose I'm immediately greeted with warm caramel chews and a distinct sweet bakery bread aroma. Another dive of the nose brings in fruit skins; plum, grape and cherry dominate the medley. Deeper inhales exhibit soft molasses leaning more towards sweet than savory. Dusty oak puts forth a touch of texture to an otherwise incredibly creamy nose-feel; black pepper and subtle cinnamon definitely suggest this has been through many warm Summers in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Let's taste some before we continue and give this some time to continue to evolve, which it's done pretty well on already in my opinion.
Returning my nose to the glass after sipping through a bit shows a wonderful vibrance, delicacy and balance. Every time I nestle my nose in I find something new. The glass rotates between a handful of really impressive aromas: at times vanilla and marshmallow sweetness bellow up, other times oak and molasses, and for some of my favorite undulations: a wave of stone fruit sizzles alongside subtle baking spice. Hints of chocolate can be teased out of long inhales. The nose continues to be exceptional late into the glass. Warm apple crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream pushes me into a state of adoration for this glass I cannot understate. Smoky oak presents a subtle backbone late in the glass that was imperceptible behind all of the other fun aromas that have circulated my glencairn. The empty glass smells of honey, vanilla and graham cracker. Just wonderful overall.
Palate: Oooh, creamy caramel jumps right out at me first in great volume for a lower proof such as this. The creamy texture oozes down the tongue slowly before making way for cherry cola, vanilla pipe tobacco and a tingling tannic finish. Raisin and dry port wine hover harmoniously above the deliciously creamy coating of the mouthfeel. A larger sip and swish produces so much more to love without tipping over the heat scale. A soft balance between crème brûlée and flan tantalizes the tongue; it can't quite decide if it wants to be soft, creamy and custard forward or brittle, sweet and seared... I'm so here for either choice. I try to never go into a pour with expectations as it relates to a review, but I can solidly say I am surprised by the quality of everything I am tasting here. Soft sherry sweetness presents lovingly between waves of vanilla bean and butterscotch. My last sip is a fond farewell to a friend. Vanilla bean, marshmallow, cherry skins and wonderful, dry, sweet wine parallels shine on the tongue in a strong linger.
For what it's worth, this is probably the closest a review has ever gotten to a 5 score without actually achieving it. As such, it wholeheartedly earns the 'Keep Amongst the Whiskey' designation because I'm quite enamored, but not fully wowed just yet. This is one of the best noses on a whiskey I've experienced this year. Sipping is only slightly less impressive as this pour grows and evolves with every sip. I give top marks for complexity and kudos to Chris and the blending team for crafting a marvelous whiskey with this one. Jack Daniel Distillery has managed to carve out a specialty release that can easily appeal to the modern day whiskey enthusiast looking for some of the best of the best from a brand with a long legacy of great products. I'm beyond thrilled to have the rest of this 700mL to share and enjoy with friends and family.
Bonus Batch 1 vs Batch 2 Comparison
Revisiting batch 1, I find the nose has much more nondescript citrus that 2 didn't show off. It also carries more of a dusty paper or linen style of oak, whereas batch 2 presented quite creamy. Deep inhales of batch 1 lacks the volume, elegance and layers of batch 2. I like both for different reasons, but would definitely give the nod to batch 2 on the nose.
Quick taste. Woah, apple crisp is much more pronounced on batch 1 - it lands first thing on the palate rather than the dominant note of caramel being the batch 2 highlight. There seems to be more dry tannins on batch 1 as well with raisin delivering a touch hotter and more bitter than batch 2. There's also the classic JD banana note that sneaks into batch 1. I know that can be a bit polarizing in the whiskey community, but I could not find any of that note in batch 2 for better or for worse; I for one love that flavor, but certainly don't miss it in the vast complexity of batch 2.
Ranking: Batch 2 > Batch 1
This is a no-brainer; Jack Daniel's managed to elevate the game significantly with batch 2, blowing past an already-awesome release with ease. The bar has officially been set for those already starting to noodle on when batch 3 might show up. Make sure you subscribe down below to stay in the know when that release starts to hit shelves! I do this for free, for fun, and for honest feedback on what's what in the whiskey world. If you can appreciate that, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below here, or on my Instagram. Cheers my friends!