HomeMaking Jack Daniel's

Jack Daniel's production process

Jack Daniel's is a Tennessee Whisky, not a bourbon, so its production is unique. A number of elements come together to create the drink in our Jack Daniel's bottles - the location of the Distillery and the water used, charcoal mellowing and the barrels.

Making Jack Daniel's whisky

Location of the Jack Daniel's Distillery

The Jack Daniel's Distillery is in Lynchberg, Tennessee. The founder, Jack Daniel, selected this location for many reasons, one of which being Cave Hollow Spring.

The water in the spring flows at a constant rate of 800 gallons per minute. The temperature is constant at 56 degrees. It is also virtually iron-free.

The whisky is made using corn (80%), rye (12%) and barley (8%). A small amount of sour mash is also used, sourced from an earlier batch.

Charcoal mellowing

The whisky is then charcoal mellowed. This process involves dripping the whisky through 10-feet of sugar maple charcoal. Doing this adds significantly to the taste of the drink. It is also what makes Jack Daniel's different. It is not a bourbon whisky but a Tennessee whisky because of this process.

The charcoal is produced at the Distillery. The trees are grown in the Tennessee countryside before being cut into staves and stacked into ricks for burning.

The barrels

The charcoal mellowed whisky is then put into barrels that were made to exacting standards by the Jack Daniel's Distillery itself. It almost takes as much time and effort to make the barrels as it does the whisky.

The barrels are made from white oak. Craftsmen fit the staves together by hand then toast and char the inside of the barrels. This brings out the natural sugar in the wood.

The barrels are only used once. The used ones are sold, mainly to European distilleries to mature Scottish and Irish whiskies.

The Jack Daniel's Distillery says "age isn't the same thing as maturity". That means, for Jack Daniel's whisky, it is not about how long the bourbon whisky stays in the barrel. It is about the process of getting it there and the experience it has in the barrel.

A calendar is not used at Jack Daniel's to decide if a whisky is ready for bottling. They do that by tasting it - probably the best job in the world.

 

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