Newest Review: ... brand was still there though, and so a quality Jack Daniel's product was re-distributed to the masses. In 1956 the company was sold to B... more
For Sittin' n' Sippin'
Jack Daniels No 7
Member Name: bilbobaginz
Jack Daniels No 7
Advantages: Taste, bottle, history. Sippin'
Disadvantages: None really.
Jack Daniels is one of the most recognisable spirits on sale today, and perhaps the most famous whiskey. That's because of over 100 years of brand identity, the creation and spreading of an old American name that oozes history and authenticity. The delights of the drink were first spread locally, and then made known through a powerful advertising campaign which today sees no country as too far or too large to conquer. Despite this, operations (the distilling and distributing of Jack Daniels) still run from the original home of production, Lynchburg, Tennessee. Everything about the brand seems to point back to that one spot in America, attempting to (in some ways) delude people from the drinks true success and popularity.
The founder (that went by a familiar name) was born in 1846 and came to found the distillery 20 years later in 1866. As with all brands like this one, the recipe remains a complete secret, and is said to be the same as it was during those early years. However, JD's past was not a smooth one, because, at the outset of prohibition in 1910 and then again in 1920, production was disrupted (and moved to another state) and then ceased altogether. It wasn't until 1938 that the distilleries gained momentum once more (many years after Jack's death in 1911). The trust in the brand was still there though, and so a quality Jack Daniel's product was re-distributed to the masses. In 1956 the company was sold to Brown-Forman Corporation who used the title, the logo, the premises, the people, and the passion of Jack Daniels to bring it properly onto the world stage. Now, the net income of the company is said to exceed $120 million.
An iconic image. Everything about the bottle points to/focuses your mind on the founding years, the old country hills, the old American way of life. Saying that, I doubt the bottle resembles much of its earliest ancestor, but the authenticity is still maintained either way. It's a square design with intricate, lapping details towards the top, ending at a bulging neck and black cap. There's a plastic sealant and screw-top plastic lid beneath, keeping the spirit air-tight and therefore in top condition prior to opening. The label is black and white, and shows the traditional Jack Daniels 'Old No. 7' logo and iconic text, in that old country font. They cram a lot of information onto the bottle, one edition even lists a series of awards or 'gold medals' the drink has won over the last hundred or so years. The label says the whiskey is 40% ABV, a warning in its self - drink responsibly!
The taste of Jack Daniels is different to any other whiskey. It tastes a tad sourer than most, but that sourness is layered over a dark and woody backdrop, and slow, deep heat. The whiskey tastes oaky and smooth. Every inch of the spirit is filtered through maple charcoal (it is charcoal mellowed) before barrelling, and this brings forth that earthly taste and richness that makes the drink so unique. This is a sippin' whiskey, meaning it can be drunk straight/neat, or 'on the rocks', relatively easily. A lot of the bitterness from the alcoholic content is subdued by a thick richness of ingredients which (despite it being 40% ABV) levels the taste out and makes it suitable for sippin'. I absolutely adore the taste, and find drinking the whiskey on the rocks a lovely experience. It feels very natural and authentic to drink, and the quality of the bottle only increases this.
There are several different types of Jack Daniel's whiskey, but I've only tried 'Old No. 7', which is the original recipe whiskey. There is also 'Single Barrel', which is matured in the upper reaches of the barrelhouse, where temperatures fluctuate more, causing its taste and colour to deepen. Then there's 'Tennessee Honey' which combines the original recipe with a secret honey liqueur formula for increased sweetness, and 'Gentleman Jack' which is charcoal mellowed before the barrel and after, giving it an unrivalled smoothness (unlike any other whiskey in the world).
Jack & Coke (1 part JD, 3 part Coke), Jack & Ginger (1 part JD, 3 part Ginger), Jack Daniel's Manhattan (1 part JD, 0.5 part sweet vermouth, dash of bitters), and Jack Julep (2 part JD, 1 tablespoon simple syrup, mint sprig, crushed ice). All taste excellent, but my favourite has to be the sweet and succulent Julep, which brings through the richness of the spirit, and complements its deep flavours with a cool, crisp and refreshing minty sweetness - A summery cocktail.
The website mimics the old-school style of the brand. As usual, you have to enter your D.O.B before entry, but once inside the site has a range of pages describing the drink and its history. There are a series of promotional videos on there as well, and a list of ideal drink mixes.
In all, I am very impressed by Jack Daniel's deep history, authentic advertising and bottle, smooth and unique taste, and good range of variations for those of us who require a little bit more smoothness or sweetness or heaviness. They seem to have catered to the needs of all whiskey drinkers well. Combined with the website, and suggestion of interesting mixers/cocktails, there really is nothing to fault here. A top notch brand and whiskey anyone can enjoy.
PRICE: £34.00 per litre bottle.
AVAILABILITY: tesco.com (and in store).
Summary: Beautifully crafted Whiskey from Tennessee.
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