Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Bearded Lady: Jack Daniels Gentleman Jack

In the past 6 months I have been taking the big leap into American whiskies as my interests in whisky as a whole becomes more varied. American whisky is not new to me but drinking it straight certainly is. Previous experiences have been somewhat cruel to the concept of bourbon simply due to the fact it was always mixed with cola. American whiskies do taste really good in cola there is no doubt about that. But ket us be clear about Jack Daniel's, it is no a bourbon it is a Tennessee Whiskey.

I could examine many American whiskies as a first post on the subject, but I have chosen to profile the Gentleman Jack as a starting point. Honestly I have to say I find it hard to profile American whiskies at this point. Corn is prolific in the taste as well as new white oak delivers a sweet intensity, unlike Scotch which becomes very specific in influence due to additional flavours from the used barrels of different alcohol types. Yes, that is a generalisation. Am I enjoying this little trip into American whiskies? Yes and loving it.

So why Jack Daniel's and specifically Gentleman Jack? Because it tastes so different to bourbons and that difference feels deliberate in many ways. What should be noted is that Jack Daniel's charcoal filters all its whiskies at least once with new maple wood charcoal prior to barreling, yet with Gentleman Jack it is filtered twice. Jack Daniel's says it 'mellows' the whiskey. I cannot make a comment on this because I have not had it unmellowed (is that word? it is now) but what I can say is that it certainly is not as sweet as others I have tasted, such as the intense profile of Wild Turkey bourbon.

On first impressions Gentleman Jack is not very different to Jack Daniels Old No.7. I would like to say it is leaps and bounds ahead of Old No.7 but this is not the case at all. Mellowed indeed.

On the nose: Vanilla all up front. Spice of some sort, maybe cinnamon, and full bodied.

To taste: Not all that different to Old No.7 but much smoother. Corn and maple syrup is the best description that comes to mind. Dry oak, straw and charcoal, but still very smooth. To sip it is slightly dry, but not bitter.

The finish is very quick. Warming but little else in the throat. Enjoyable and light.

It is also worth noting that this is the first bourbon, strike that, Tennessee Whiskey to appear at our recent club meeting and though it was scolded for even raising its head, one half of the bottle was easily consumed by many on the evening. If I was to give a dram 4.5 out of 7.

The Baron