- World famous best sellera
- Charcoal mellowed
- Super smooth, great mixer
- ABV 40%, 70cl
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Jack Daniel's is the most famous American whiskey in the world. Seven generations ago Jack Daniel himself said: "Every day we make it, we'll make it the best we can." Jack Daniel's distillery still adopts this philosophy. It also still adopts the time-tested production methods, including filtering it drop by drop through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal, then maturing it in hand-crafted white-oak barrels. It is only bottled once it is taste tested. The end result is a smooth and mellow whisky loved by thousands across the globe.
70cl is the standard size bottle, but various sizes are available
Jack Daniel's 5cl
Jack Daniel's l litre
Jack Daniel's 1.5 litre
Jack Daniel's 3 litre
Jack Daniel's has been made much the same way for over 100 years. Strictly speaking, it is not a bourbon (though the production process and the end result share similar characteristics). Instead it is a Tennessee whisky, although that is as much an effort by the distillery to distinguish itself from the rest of the American whisky industry, which is largely centered in Kentucky.
Jack Daniel's is made with a mash bill that is mostly corn. The other two grains used, both in much smaller quantities, are rye and malted barley.
The distillery puts a lot of emphasis on the water used in the production process. This goes back to the legend of Jack Daniel and the reason for him choosing Lynchburg in Tennessee as the location for his distillery. As the story goes, he chose the location because of the presence of a cave spring that contained iron-free water. The distillery says it still uses that pure, natural resource today.
Once distilled, Jack Daniel's whisky is then run through a process called charcoal mellowing. This is the process most responsible for creating such smoothness in the drink. It works by burning sugar maple until it becomes charcoal. Each drop of distilled whisky is then dripped through 10 feet of it.
Once the charcoal mellowing process is complete it is time to age the whisky. The barrels used are brand new and are made by the distillery from white oak. The wood on the inside of the barrels is charred (lightly burnt, or toasted) which brings out the natural sugars in the wood that, during the aging process, will become infused with the whisky.
There is no age statement on Jack Daniel's so the whisky does not stay in the barrels for a set period of time. When the barrels are ready (as determined by the team of distillers) they are emptied, then cut to ABV 40% and blended, before being bottled.
There have been some changes to the way it has been made down through the years, largely to accommodate the now colossal quantities that need to be produced. The style has also changed slightly. For example, it used to be bottled at the higher ABV 45%. All that considered, it is still essentially the same whisky today as it was in Jack's day, made with the same attention to detail and self-confidence.
Jack Daniel's on Bourbon Whisky
|Jack Daniel's Distillery, Lynchberg, Tennessee, USA|
|Jack Daniel's is not a bourbon * Jack Daniel, master distiller * Legend of Old No. 7 * Production process|
Rating:out of 5
Updated by Nevin Thompson on 15 February 2013
Whisky snobs be damned...I like it!
The Long Bit
What is it about Jack Daniel's that make it such a popular drink? It is known the world over and is enjoyed by people from all walks of life and all social backgrounds. It is part of popular culture and, in the UK, is the only American whisky you can be sure will be available at the bar. But why?
One of the reasons is marketing. Jack Daniel - and his successor as master distiller, Lem Motlow - were as good at marketing and PR as they were at making whisky. In fact, they were better at marketing their products in the late 1800s and early 1900s than some companies today. That marketing success has carried through to the extent that today Jack Daniel's remains cool, sexy and stylish. That is no easy task given the explosion of new brands and advertising mediums over recent years. Whatever is thrown at it though, Jack Daniel's is up to the test.
So we can conclude that marketing is one of the reasons why Jack Daniel's is so successful. It has to be said that it is also one of the reasons many so-called whisky experts do not like it. Their pretentious opinions are more to do with snobbery and illusion than reality. That reality, in case they are reading this and want to know, is that Jack Daniel's really is a good every day whisky.
More than really good actually... it is excellent.
Before you clamor for your keyboard ready to bombard me with list of American whiskies that are better than Jack Daniel's, let me say I agree - there are brands that outclass Jack Daniel's, without doubt. But that is not the end of the story in my opinion. I like to judge and rate whiskies using criteria in addition to taste. Price, style and position in the market are also factors for me, and that is what makes Jack Daniel's so good and sets it apart from the competition. It is also why I have rated it 4 out of 5.
When drinking straight, it is a smooth whisky, making it accessible to most people. However, it really comes alive as a mixer. One of the best drinks every-day it is possible to make is Jack Daniel's and Coke, with or without ice. It is a refreshing, crisp and delicious drink. Diet Coke is better than regular Coke, and Diet Pepsi is just as good.
Try also mixing with ginger instead of Coke, or using it as an ingredient in a cocktail.
So back to my original question: what makes Jack Daniel's such a popular drink? First it is a great price, but also because it knows its place in the market, i.e. it is an easy drinking whisky that is at its best used as a mixer. Finally, it is also popular because it remains cool, even after all these years. And finally, and most importantly, it is delicious.
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