The experience tasting through several barrel proof single barrels with Lexie Phillips was a delicious dance of tasting notes & rich history. If you’ve never toured their Lynchburg facility you are seriously missing out! It takes an army to keep their operation running at the scale it does & such consistently good whiskey hitting bottles on a shelf near you. This will be a great barrel picking recap from my August trip to @jackdaniels_us. Also, why do I look like a ghost in the 2nd picture above?
This single barrel coming to the @ljwhiskeyfamily barrel program is a thoroughly complex, delicious whiskey that is definitely ready to be drank. If you can’t read the tasting notes from that consistently messy @AmongstTheWhiskey handwriting - I'm here to give you another fresh review of the straight-from-the-barrel sample that Lexie let me take home. This is probably the coolest bottle in my whiskey study.
The JD single barrel program is incredible - out of the hundreds of thousands of barrels that go through this distillery only 70-150 barrels get selected by the master distiller duo each year. They come from the top (7th) floor of some of the hottest warehouses and have some of the deepest barrel influence for those of us looking for something extra special. We got one such barrel which is an awesome honor that I’m glad I got to experience. You can see some of the fun we had in the reel I recently posted as well.
The brand describes this barrel proof release well saying:
From grain to barrel and straight to the bottle, our barrel proof Jack Daniel's single barrel is made for those who appreciate a pure taste experience.
It doesn't get any more pure than straight from the barrel up in the rick houses! Now let's get into a (re)view!
Company on Label: Jack Daniel Distillery
Whiskey Type: Tennessee Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: 80% Corn, 8% Rye, 12% Barley
Proof: TBD at time of bottling
Age: 6 years (we picked it on it's exact 6th birthday - August 29th)
Further identification: 2637 number: JD208246 comes from lot 16-H-29 (#14); the 16 is the year filled, H represents the 8th month of the year, and 29 is the day of the month in which it was filled, which just so happened to be 6 years to the date in which we sampled it
Nose: Beautiful, funky oak is prominent on first lifting the warm glass to my nose. Dark walnuts, tingling vanilla and black pepper all mix cohesively. It is effervescent in the upper portion of my nose and it makes me want to sneeze taking deep breaths off the surface of the glass. Leather, creamed corn and another thick wave of walnut proves to be a delectable combination. Smoky molasses, brown sugar and dark wood feels like a Summer cookout is at hand. Soft tones of citrus and floral provide special complexity that surprises the senses. Overall the glass is creamy, cohesive and complete on the nose. Time for a sip!
Coming back I find great aromas of vanilla wafer, buttery croissant and caramel-laden peanut brittle. The bright vanilla tones are balanced well by a potent dusty black pepper aroma. Funky, beautiful woodshop aromas return late in the glass; it reminds me of the Carpenters training center in Milbury, MA. Vanilla tones continuously round out all the aromas here as persistent softness is impressive behind so much flavor and an invisible amount of proof. The empty glass smells of rich, oiled leather, maple barbecue rub, distinct black pepper, and the conglomeration of a Thanksgiving dinner. Buttery turkey, dinner rolls, red wine, and mashed potatoes are all visible in my minds eye upon smelling this. Yum.
Palate: Right away cherry hots zing across your tongue. Bananas foster cools things down on the back end. The intense first sip was a welcome shock, though my next sip is much more soft and cohesive as the nose is. Creme fraiche has a nice brightness to it contrasted by dark plum bread that is prevalent. Dark red cherry flavors blend well with tart raspberry and jammy fig. The mouth feel is thick and syrupy, lying somewhere between the consistency of molasses and cranberry sauce. Tangy fruit desserts abound in this glass, though they are quite subtle. I find strawberry rhubarb pie as the glass nears empty. My last sip throws a subtle nod back to warm baked banana bread before caramel, toffee and fluffy tiramisu finish out a robust, complex and amazingly crushable sip.
Rating: Two Thumbs Up
In order to keep myself honest and unbiased towards experiences in the whiskey world that have had lasting impressions on me, I will not typically score any whiskey I was personally involved in, such as this one. Despite this, you can certainly trust my tasting notes to be only what I manage to dig up in the several hours I typically spend with a glass during a review.
I'm not surprised to see that my notes did not vary much from what I tasted at the distillery in Lynchburg to today. What is interesting is that this barrel will still go through some filtering before it gets to the real bottles that will be available at Liquor Junction stores across Massachusetts... Chris Fletcher has described the process for the barrel proof releases as being as simple as 'just taking out the sticks and stones', but time will tell how it changed from the day we sampled it to the day it hits the shelf! I'm hoping for very little, as this is a delicious whiskey in front of me. Let me know in the comments - does this one sound worth grabbing?
This also isn't Liquor Junction's first rodeo in Jack Daniel's barrel proof! They did another pick with them in 2019 that I thought was awesome. Mine is long gone, but my good friend Eric hooked me up with the remainder of his bottle for me to compare to the new pick today! The previous bottle came from rick no R-14, barrel #42, and rings in at 131 proof. It is listed on the neck label as coming from barrel 19-15091 and was bottled on 12/4/19.
Retasting the older pick I find there to be a lot of similarities, so fans of the old pick will not be disappointed! Vanilla, tart stone fruit and creamy characteristics also abound here. The chest hug and proof is more apparent on this one. I'm loving it and certainly glad to have the rest of this bottle to enjoy in good company. Thank you again Eric!