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Jack Daniel's No. 7
About Jack Daniel's No. 7
When it comes to American whiskey brands, few are as famous as Jack Daniel’s. And despite seeing it everywhere, I somehow managed to never actually try it. But since I’ve been searching for potential go-to cocktail spirits this summer, I thought it was the perfect time to finally pick up a bottle of Jack Daniel’s No. 7.
Jack Daniel’s has had a significant influence on American whiskey for over a century. The distillery was first established by Jasper Newton Daniel, better known as Jack, in 1864 and pioneered the technique of charcoal filtering whiskey. Although there are questions about the true originator of this technique (Jack Daniel’s has an interesting write up on the enslaved black man who likely who likely taught the technique to Jack, Nathan “Nearest” Green), it would become the trademark of Tennessee whiskey. Also know as the Lincoln County Process, this technique involves filtering the distillate through maple charcoal to mellow out the flavor before aging in oak barrels. This is the only thing that sets the distilling process apart from bourbon.
❖ Spirit: Tennessee Whiskey
❖ Distillery: Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
❖ ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
❖ Low Price
❖ Color: Light Brown, Honey
❖ Nose: Caramel, Vanilla, Fruit, Bit of Ethanol Heat
❖ Taste: Bitter Oak, Fruit, Mint, Slight Spice, Flavor Fades quickly
❖ Finish: Medium, Spice, Bitter Oak, Fruit
Jack & Coke
2 oz Jack Daniel’s
❖ Fill a highball glass 3/4 of the way with ice, preferably cubed ice
❖ Add whiskey and top with coke
Although I had plenty of cocktail options with Jack Daniel’s No. 7, it felt fitting to go with one of the most well-known cocktails of all time: the Jack & Coke. I found No. 7 to have unpleasant bitter oak notes, but with some sweet fruit and vanilla notes, so I was curious how coke would effect the flavor.
Thankfully, coke brought out more of the fruit notes, although it might have been too much for my taste. I could hardly taste the Coke until the finish, when the overall flavor mellowed out, and I could taste some vanilla. I also think I made a mistake by going with the bottled Coke made with sugar cane because it added a sickly sweet quality to the drink. But, the cola mostly does its job by making Jack drinkable, even though I would probably just prefer a cherry coke.
Out of all the American whiskies I’ve tried, Jack Daniels No. 7 is definitely my least favorite. Although it has the general notes you’d expected from an American whiskey, they were all in my my least favorite iteration of the flavor. The vanilla notes were overly sweet, and clashed with the harsh bitter notes from the oak and spice. Of the lot, I liked the fruit notes the best, but they still had an artificial quality to them. The flavor was generally more palatable on the finish, so I didn’t mind the main flavor fading away quickly.
I had already set my expectations low, since this is the cheapest whiskey in the Jack Daniel’s line up, so I don’t think this necessarily sours the entire brand for me. While I wasn’t a fan of this particular bottle, I could still get a sense of the flavor profile they are aiming for, and would be interested in at least trying one of the more expensive bottles. However, at the end of the day, I still feel comfortable giving Jack Daniel’s No. 7 just one star. I simply wouldn’t choose it over any other whiskey I’ve tried so far.
I also want to briefly mention how pleasantly surprised I was to see Jack Daniel’s acknowledgement of Nathan “Nearest” Green’s contribution to the brand’s legacy. I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen an American spirit company mention anything about the effect of slavery on their history, and I hope to see more of this in the future.
As always, drink responsibly.
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