I expected to lambaste this one. I mean like gloves off…’mama said knock you out’ kinda shit. It only seemed right, seeing as how many times Jack Daniel’s laid me out when I was younger. Kinda like a Rocky Balboa comeback. Call this a sort of rematch, if you will.
Years removed, however, I still approach this one with a sort of trepidation. The reputation of JD does not rest on its laurels as an evening armchair dram, if you know what I’m saying. It’s more like snake venom, nitroglycerin and biker sweat distilled over the fires of hell and matured in the skulls of massive rabid timberwolves. I think.
To be fair though…I was never exactly ‘sipping’ this drink in previous ‘tete-a-tetes’. It was more like an Indiana Jones temple run trying to get the liquid into my stomach (and bloodstream) without it actually making contact with either my taste buds or gag reflex. Now…this many years later…I’m quite surprised by Jack Daniel’s. I started on this stuff when I was about 13 or so and trying to be tough (sorry mom). It was always about getting sloshed on mickeys of this stuff in secrecy. Sorry, JD…you deserved a bit more respect, I realize in hindsight. Though I gotta be honest…we had some good times back then, you and I.
This firewater, produced in the wee locale of Lynchburg Tennessee, has become what it has – the world’s best selling American whiskey – largely due to the badass reputation cultivated by debaucherous rawk stars and bingeing celebs, but to be honest, in a parallel world (any of you into quantum physics?), this could be marketed differently and absolutely succeed on its own merit. Albeit with much decreased sales stats, I imagine. Aging rawk stars…carry on.
Prior to it’s cask slumber, the whiskey itself is filtered through sugar maple charcoal. Perhaps this is key in differentiating JD from the others. Who knows? Either way…there’s no mistaking this for anything else out there.
Old No. 7 isn’t my preferred flavour profile, but I can’t fault the whiskey for that. While I won’t be rushing out for another bottle anytime soon, I have to admit this poison ain’t bad.
Nose: Spice, particularly cinnamon. Dark vanilla. Orange zest. Pepper. Sweet, smoky barbeque notes. Toasted and charred. Hint of florals. Cherry. Slightly smoky caramel. Touch of citrus. And yes…as you may have read elsewhere…there are indeed hints of coconut.
Palate: A touch of peach and apple at first, then some waxy notes with caramel. Big smoky wood notes. Vanilla again. Begins to dry out and fades into corn husk and apple skin.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt
The words are kinder than the mark, but I agree with the mark more. This is entry-level stuff for those not too fussy about what they drink. As for succeeding on its own merit, without the tough-guy hype, well, again, this is 70-something unaged whiskey for which JD knows the demographic and markets and prices accordingly. The label could maybe succeed on merit in a different world, if there was a different level of investment in quality and cost, but that’s a different world indeed.
I was happy to see JD reviewed for entertainment sake.
How much do we owe JD for the maturation of some single malts? Nothing or should we give them more credit?
Interesting question. I think we might owe more than we know to JD and the type of business people behind it for the current direction in whisk(e)y (no aging combined with adjective-laden hype), but probably not as much as that trending owes to Bruichladdich.
“whisk(e)y” – thanks – did not think about it until now…
Thanks for the reply. I didn’t mean to imply any criticism with the use of “whisk(e)y”, only to show that I think the trending I’m talking about applies to all forms. That said, I find the tone of the article a little strange. The New York Times Stylebook and the paper’s editors notwithstanding, the differences in spelling whisk(e)y are just that, factual differences, not preferences, reinforced in most cases (if I’m not mistaken) by labelling law.
As one man commented, “it is simply a basic error that a reputable writer should not make’’; it’s not a huge mistake when it happens, but it IS a mistake on the part of the writer, not the reader, and it undercuts the reader’s faith in the writer’s expertise when it occurs. Using the link to the original article (“Highland Friends to Warm the Night”), which does contain the writer’s disclaimer over the spelling, I read “distillers can issue whiskeys at any age they want: 10 years, 12 years, 15, 27, 8, and sometimes with no age statement at all”, which makes me wonder if the writer, or his editors, can provide an example of 2-year-old single malt Scotch “Whiskey”.
No criticism taken. I just didn’t know what you meant by the (e) and it meant a lot more than I realized. I’ll stick with sky 🙂
I’d love to delete my last post but no harm. Thanks for the clarification and points Jeff.