Posts from the ‘Tennessee Reviews’ Category

Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof Tennessee Whiskey Review

Out here on the East Coast, we just got slammed with the first big snowstorm of the year, dropping about 30 inches or so on my residence.  Thanks a lot, Jonas.  So, a tipple or two, perhaps.  Today, I am revisiting a distillery that I often disrespected in my early days of whiskey-ing, but I have come to respect it more.  There is something to be said for a distillery that comes out with a consistent product time after time and that whiskey maintains its status as a worldwide best-seller year after year.  However, nothing swings a label over to my good side like some high proof juice, which is exactly what we’ve got here.Snow

Jack Daniel’s has always released the single barrel series, and some of them are good.  But, in 2015, Jack Daniel’s launched a nationwide release of a barrel strength single barrel product.  My beloved uncle and aunt bestowed a bottle for the Christmas holiday, and I’ve been enjoying it ever since.  The bottle I am reviewing was bottled on November 5, 2015 from barrel 15-6410 from rickhouse L-25.  There is no age statement on the bottle.  It clocks in at a sexy 131 proof (65.5% abv).

The color is a rich, amber hue with some orange tints.  The nose is smells of off-piste bourbon, with vanilla, burnt caramel, brown sugar, mahogany, and oak.  At its full strength, it is a little bit of a boozy nose, too. The palate is rich and creamy, with oak, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and some alcohol heat.  The finish is warming, full, and medium in length, with a balance between brown sugar and vanilla, and some old leather notes.  Water brings out a little more Jack Daniel’s character, with some tannic woodiness present on the palate, rich caramel, bananas, maple syrup, but maintaining the warming oak throughout.  However, water also brings out some cinnamon and pipe tobacco notes that I was not getting before.

Some people had informed me that if I did not like Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, I would not like their barrel proof juice.  However, it was precisely the opposite.  I love what Jack is doing here.  I found this more complex and deeper than standard Jack Daniel’s.  I did not start to see true Daniel’s character until I added a little water, but the notes I usually find in Jack Daniel’s like bitter wood and bananas were tempered and rounded into the whole profile of the whiskey.  I have enjoyed this bottle immensely, almost as much as I enjoy the people who gifted me the bottle.  My grade:  B+.  Price:  $60-70/750ml.  This is right up there with barrel strength bourbons in its price range and gives Jack’s fans their favorite juice as God intended it.

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George Dickel Comparison Review: No. 12 vs. Barrel Select

Today, I am finally getting around to a review I have wanted to do for a while now, George Dickel Tennessee Whisky.  I have reviewed a few Jack Daniels products on the blog, and I had a number of folks ask me about George Dickel.  I’ll save my thoughts about Dickel vs. Daniels until the end, but suffice to say I am excited to put my thoughts out on this one.

Like Jack Daniels, George Dickel charcoal filters their whisky (Dickel drops the “e”) before putting the spirit in the barrel.  Unlike Jack Daniels, George Dickel chills their spirit before letting it drip through the charcoal.  There really is no right way to charcoal filter a whisky, so long as a distillery does not try to call their charcoal dripped whisky “bourbon.”  That said, charcoal filtration does not necessarily mean the product is better or worse.  Purists might not want their product tainted by the process, and many bartenders prefer to make their drinks with the smoother, cleaner whiskies that are produced by charcoal filtration.  Like most things in whisky, it is a matter of personal preference.

George Dickel No 12The first whisky to be reviewed from George Dickel is their No. 12, “White Label.”  There is no age statement on this whisky, but I have heard it rumored around 6-8 years old, with some older stocks blended in.  It is bottled at 90 proof (45% abv), and is often available for under $25 in places where I don’t live (so I am told).  The nose on this whisky is unmistakably unique.  There are notes of praline, caramel, marzipan, raw oats, some maple syrup, all with a solid backbone of cereal grains and sweet corn.  The palate is medium-bodied and continues a lot of the cereal notes from the nose.  There are a lot of oats, and a bit of caramel-covered peanuts.  The finish is medium-short, with some lingering corn and some honeycomb.  Overall, this is a tasty, drinkable whisky that gives great indication of the quality of George Dickel.  My Grade: B-/C+.  Price: $25-30/750ml.  This is a fine whisky, definitely worth keeping around the cabinet if you are like Tennessee Whisky.

 

The second whisky I am reviewing today is George Dickel Barrel Select, George Dickel’s premium whisky.  It is bottled at 86 proof (43% abv), and it is aged between 10 and 12 years.  According to George Dickel’s website, each bottle of Barrel Select contains approximately 10 barrels, making it the smallest batched whisky that George Dickel makes.  The nose on this whisky is drop dead gorgeous, presenting complexity galore.  There are notes of cocoa, bananas, and white chocolate, all wound tightly around spicy oak notes.  The palate is especially sweet, but not too much so.  Those banana flavors are still there, along with vanilla, dried pineapples, apricots, butterscotch, and almonds.  The finish is medium in length, a bit longer than No. 12, with a nice complexity.  There is caramel and butterscotch present, but there is also the complexity of oak and spiced almonds.  Overall, this is a wonderful whisky.  My only complaint is the lack of body.  I think at a slightly higher proof, the flavors would hit harder and this whisky would warrant an A- or an A from my taste buds.  My grade: B+.  Price: $35-40/750ml.  For my dollar, this is the finest whisky I’ve had from Tennessee to this point, and it is a great whisky for those sultry summer afternoons.George Dickel Barrel Select

Between these two George Dickel whiskies, I am definitely partial to the Barrel Select.  It is the more complex and the more delicious (in my opinion) of the two whiskies.  That said, No. 12 is still a great buy.  As far as that other Tennessee Distillery that over-advertises and underachieves, George Dickel beats the pants off of similarly priced Jack Daniels products.  Although the Barrel Select still does not measure all the way up to my favorite bourbons, it is a top notch whisky that works well for special occasions and weekday evenings alike.  So, don’t be afraid of Tennessee and give Dickel its due.  There is some fine whisky coming out of Cascade Hollow, Tennessee, and well worth letting it ride.

Gentleman Jack Tennessee Whiskey Review

I have recently seen several ads for Gentleman Jack on the internet and the television, so I thought I should get a review of this one so you can decide whether you want to spend your hard earned money on this Tennessee classic.  As I mentioned in my review of Old No. 7, Tennessee whiskey is notably different than bourbon because the whiskey is charcoal filtered prior to going into the oak.  The whiskey comes right off the stills and goes through a charcoal filter, smoothing the whiskey out and extracting possible contaminants.  This might seem like a great idea, but it isn’t all great.  Just like chill filtration, charcoal filtering runs the risk of extracting flavor in addition to contaminants.

Gentleman Jack is different from the classic Old No. 7 in that Gentleman Jack is filtered through the charcoal twice.  The result of that second round of charcoal filtration is that Gentleman Jack is ludicrously drinkable.  I hate to use the word “smooth” to describe whiskey, but Gentleman Jack fits that bill perfectly.  Not surprisingly, it is bottled at 80 proof, but it drinks like its the same strength as a sherry or a port.  Be careful with this stuff.  Drink it responsibly.  It can spiral downhill quickly with this luxuriously smooth Tennessee whiskey.Gentleman Jack

Now that my warning is out of the way, I can give you my notes.  On the nose, this smells a lot like Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, but a bit weaker.  That banana thing is still going on, with some honey, corn, and oak, but it is not the rich nose of Old No. 7.  On the palate, this whiskey is a whisper.  It is soft and a little watery.  It is mostly sweet, with a little vanilla and honey, and maybe a little bit of banana.  The finish barely even exists.  Seriously, I had to remind myself I just drank whiskey.  Honestly, there might be some oak, but there isn’t much in this finish.

Overall, the highlight of Gentleman Jack is its drinkability.  So, if you have a friend or significant other that has been looking for a drinkable whiskey to have at a party, look no further than this one.  If you are a connoisseur of port and you want to expand into American whiskey, this one is a good place to start.  If you love Wild Turkey, I don’t think Gentleman Jack will be up your alley.  But, as always, try it for yourself and let it ride!  My grade: C-.  Price: $30-35/750ml.  A nice, drinkable whiskey, but it is definitely not on my list of whiskeys to buy at that price point.

Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Review


Jack Daniel’s is probably the most iconic brand of American whiskey.  It is the fourth best selling whiskey worldwide, and its iconic bottle design and logo have been re-appropriated countless times.  Due to several unfortunate experiences in my college days, I have refrained from reviewing Jack Daniel’s for some time.  However, in an effort to confront my past, I am taking the time to review Jack properly and responsibly.

Jack Daniel’s is not a bourbon because the whiskey is charcoal filtered before it is placed in the barrels for aging, which disqualifies it from being a straight bourbon.  Just because something is not a straight bourbon does not mean that it is any better or worse of a whiskey; it is simply different.  In Jack Daniel’s case, the charcoal aging gives the whiskey a smooth, mellow mouth feel, which comes out even more in Gentleman Jack.

As for Old No. 7, it is quite a unique whiskey.  The nose is truly distinct.  It mostly smells like banana caramel cream pie.  There is some oak and corn to support it, but the most dominant aromas on Jack Daniel’s are banana and caramel.  On the palate, the whiskey has a wonderful, viscous mouth feel.  The same flavors of banana, caramel, and corn are replicated on the palate just as they were on the nose.  The finish is sweet, with caramel and corn being the primary players.  Over time, the lingering flavors move to a deeper oak and some bitter-ish tannins.

Overall, Jack Daniel’s is a very distinct and unique whiskey.  Personally, I am not a fan of it, but there are plenty of folks on the planet who claim that Jack Daniel’s is whiskey.  I am not one of them, especially since Jack Daniel’s usually costs about $25 for a bottle.  My grade: D.  Price: $25-30/750ml.  At that price point, there is a laundry list of whiskeys I would rather drink than Jack Daniel’s.  However, don’t take my word for it; try it yourself, and let it ride!