Jack Daniel's threw us a 700mL bonded whiskey in May of 2022. The world went crazy for it that year apparently, with Whiskey Advocate calling it their "whiskey of the year". I have my doubts about this being the top of any list, but I'll keep an open mind as I go into evaluating my experience with it. I've had this bottle since it first came out last year and this is probably my 4th taste of it. The 700mL distinction was a change that became available to US producers as of 2020, when the TTB added several available bottle sizes - one of which is already standard in most of the world outside of the US. For a brand with such high volume and reach, it makes perfect sense for them to standardize to a single size. The bonded distinction, made recently quite popular by great folks like Bernie Lubbers and Timothy Van Riper, is also an easy marketing improvement for a brand trying to distance themselves from old Jack Daniel's stigma still lingering today. If you're interested in learning more, feel free to check out the press release.
Well my dear reader, you are probably here to see if the whiskey is any good... So let's get into that part now.
Company on Label: Jack Daniel Distillery
Whiskey Type: Tennessee Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: 80% Corn, 8% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Age: 4 years
Further identification: Jack Daniel's Bonded is an ongoing line extension for the Jack Daniel Distillery brand that first came to fruition in 2022; it's relatively accessible in most markets at time of writing
Nose: On lifting the glass, seared corn and caramel can be made out without too much trouble. Light vanilla and hints of butterscotch undulate slowly. Candied cherry and slight waves of banana bread come off on deeper inhales. Chocolate, malt and funky molasses come off the surface of the whiskey after returning from a sip. The nose is light and easy with some lovely crème brûlée notes showing up late in the glass. The empty glass smells of wet beach towels by the campfire, black tea, vanilla bean, black licorice, and peach marmalade.
Palate: My first sip is grain forward with plenty of classic Jack banana - if I weren't in a review setting, this would probably be my only sip of this before moving on to something else. Venturing back in I find more of that young distillate alongside cherry skins, pressed flower petals and vanilla yogurt. Subsequent sips improve drastically as some of the creamier tones begin to build up on the taste buds. The mouthfeel is on the thinner side, but banana notes do stick around on a medium linger. Raw corn kernels and hints of dry earth persist late in the glass. On my final sip I find more dried fruit coming through with that chalky dry texture similar to how some Dickel releases present, but it doesn't quite show up as bad as some of those Flintstones chewable vitamin flavors.
I feel like this might drink fine on a really hot day over ice, but as a neat pour from the perspective of the nerdy whiskey enthusiast, this just doesn't land for me. The nose was quite enjoyable, but sipping is paramount to the experience. I really hate to downgrade the brand with this one because I really am such a big JD fan. I've done the full tour at Jack's facility, picked my own barrel with Lexie Phillips, and thoroughly love the team they have working there, but honesty is the best policy. I personally don't understand any of the craze or following on this release. I have struggled to revisit this at all with any level of excitement and this tasting thoroughly solidifies my initial perceptions. Let me know down in the comments what your thoughts are on this one!