Posts tagged ‘Gentleman Jack’

Top Ten Conversion Whiskeys (and Happy Repeal Day!)

Well, it’s Repeal Day, and that calls for some good ol’ whiskey fun.  December 5, 2013 marks the 80th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition in the United States, and I am celebrating with a list of my Top Ten Conversion Whiskeys.

Since most of us whiskey nerds have folks in our lives that do not enjoy whiskey, it is important to remember that evangelism is just as important as enjoyment.  One should not impose whiskey on others, but the introduction to whiskey can never hurt, right?  (Note: I realize that there are ethical problems with tying somebody to a chair and pouring whiskey down their throat.)

This is a list of whiskeys that I have found useful in the conversion process.  Some people do not like whiskey for all kinds of reasons – because it is too harsh, not flavorful enough, does not accommodate their palate, or they are just plain old prejudiced.  So, I have tried to incorporate whiskeys from all over the map, and all across the flavor wheel to help you convert that loved one in your life.  Not all of these whiskeys are personal favorites of mine, but they are all readily available in most liquor stores to help you in your proselytizing.  (I have also limited the list to one entry per distillery, and there are no limited edition whiskeys on here, only standard range releases.)

Honorable Mention:  Wild Turkey American Honey – While this is not technically a whiskey, it deserves a mention here because it is the best bourbon liqueur on the market today at preserving the flavors of bourbon.  This can be a great gateway drug, especially when served on the rocks with a splash of Wild Turkey 101 on a summer afternoon.

10. Ardbeg Uigeadail – This might seem like a strange entry on this list since most folks are turned off by peat, but there is a story here.  The beautiful woman I am currently dating is a coffee drinker who has never found whiskey to her liking.  Ardbeg Uigeadail was the breakthrough whiskey for her, so to the coffee drinker in your life, Slainte!

9. Bunnahabhain 12 yr. – Another Islay entry on this list makes it here because on its simplicity, and its drinkability.  The whiff of smoke works well for beer drinkers, as does the dense sherry on the palate.  For the lover of wee heavy ales, and Belgian Tripels, Bunnahabhain 12 yr. can be very persuasive.

8. Gentleman Jack – I know few (if any) whiskey lovers that love Gentleman Jack, but I know a ton of weekend gin guzzlers that love Gentleman Jack.  It speaks to a unique audience, and works well at converting that gin guzzling neighbor you know.

7. Basil Hayden’s – This is a bourbon on the lighter side of bourbon, and it lacks a lot of the dense, sweet notes that bourbon is known for.  It is a great introduction to spicier, more floral bourbons for that sultry Southerner you’re trying to convert.

6. Bushmill’s 16 yr. – This is a port-finished single malt Irish whiskey that is both sweet and dry, reminding me a lot of port, itself.  If you are seeking to convert a wine drinker, have a bottle of Bushmill’s 16 yr. on hand at your next house party.

5. Crown Royal Reserve – This super smooth Canadian dram is great for this conversion endeavor because of its allure.  The packaging works just as much as the contents of the bottle to convince the stubborn hold out that their life is about to be enhanced by whiskey.

4. Four Roses Yellow Label – This is flat out the most drinkable bourbon available.  It is mellow and sexy, and prime conversion material, which is one of the primary reasons it was one of the first whiskey reviews I ever did.

3. The Balvenie 12 yr. DoubleWood – This is on the list precisely because it works.  I don’t have a ton of analysis beyond the fact that I know at least three people who have told me that this whiskey changed their life.

2. Redbreast 12 yr. – This silky Irish pour will always be the highlight of a dinner party because of its combination of floral, sweet elegance, and its superb drinkability.  It is also an Irish whiskey so the tough, hard-working stockyard workers in your life will be more easily swayed.

1. The Glenlivet 12 yr. – This takes the number one spot on my list because it is the whiskey that converted me.  I was miring in a world of craft beer and rum (both of which are still wonderful) until I picked up a bottle of this juice on a whim one day.  Four years and a blog later, I could not be happier with that decision.  I also happen to know that my good friend, William from A Dram Good Time, could tell you a similar story about this Glenlivet expression.

Those are my favorite conversion whiskeys; what are yours?  What whiskeys do you keep on hand for those hold outs at your house parties?  Are there any great conversion whiskeys I have left out?  Happy Repeal Day, and don’t forget to let it ride!

Advertisements

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!