Tuesday, July 5, 2011

An oldie but a goodie – Jack Daniel's Old No.7

Jack Daniel's Old No.7

Things have been slow in the world of whisky for myself and the club in general as you all would have noticed. Work for me as well as illness has gotten in the way of my whisky travels. 5 weeks of a throat infection left my pallet devastated and only only am I back into the swing of things.

So to carry on I have a review posting I have been meaning to complete for some time. Yes this is an oldie but a goodie in my books and there is no beating value for quality with Jack Daniels Old No.7 Tennessee Whisky. By far one of my favourite American Whiskies, if you will excuse the generalisation,  for a daily dram.

Jack Daniels Old No.7 is made up of 70% corn with the remaining portions being Rye and Malted Barley. Drip filtering through charred maple (if you take the marketing line) gives it a mellowing and it probably does, though I am sure the overwhelming maple sweetness is something else the filtering is imparting to the overall product (I will just have to make a trip to the Jack Daniels Distillery and find out for myself). It would be great to know what the whisky is like prior to the charcoal filtering but beggars can't be choosers here in Aus. At a recent whisky live I had the opportunity to try Makers Mark as a new make and the difference was astounding. Ahhhh the bourbon trail calls to me...

Jack Daniels Old No.7
Alcohol: 40%
Location / Region: Lynchburg, Tennessee

On the nose light but heaps of sweet maple, mild spices and charcoals with very little burn if anything from the alcohol.

To taste quite smooth, lots of sweetness immediately on the tongue and cheek but a noticeable heat and dryness in the throat appears. The sweet maples are clear though the charcoal is much more prevalent as is the bitter spicy notes I am guessing coming from the rye.

Finish is short and dry but the sweetness remains on the pallet and in the nose.

Balance is great though a little light which is not a bad thing. I can easily sip Jack Daniels all night and not move to any other whisky. After a sip the nose is not lost at all which is great unlike many other whiskies I have had where the nose is lost once the pallet is saturated.

If I was to give a dram 5 1/2 out of 7. Great taste and true value in Old No.7. Now what you have to remember here is that this is a 40% whisky and the bottom end of the Jack Daniels range and it tastes GREAT! There is no compromise on quality here at all which needs to be applauded. Goes great with a bbq meal (ribs, steak, or anything with a char) before, after, and on into the night.

I cannot say this is a whisky to serve with ice as the alcohol is already so low adding ice just flattens out the booty way too quick. Whisky stones certainly added a chill without hiding the characteristics but honestly it it best straight up at room temperature in my books.

A while back I had posted about the Jack Daniels Gentleman Jack which is a great whisky but for the $15 price difference between Old No.7 and Gentleman Jack I have to say go the Old No.7. I have matched these babies up dram for dram and I can say there is such a small difference it is not worth it. Really what I am saying is Old No.7 is such great value for taste and price and there has to be a real leap between the two to make it worth the effort. Old No.7 is filtered once and barrel blended while Gentleman Jack is filtered twice and a single barrel bottling… I think it is all down to marketing in the end.

In saying that I have recently purchased a bottle of Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select which I am really looking forward to trying as I have heard great things about it. This brings a massive difference of twice the price to a bottle so I am really hoping for something unique or maybe extreme in charateristics. Expect a post soon if the plague does not take me first.

Current available bottle on left, new bottle on right
A note is keep an eye out for the new bottle of Jack Daniels to replace the more traditional rounded corner bottle. Personally the new bottle feels aggressive and too rock-n-roll for my liking. A bit of history in a bottle is worth it's weight in gold when it comes to something so famous. Even Coke cannot get rid if the icon bottle and logo and I think there is a lesson for Jack Daniels to be learnt in that.

More to come from The Baron.


  1. Hello Baron,
    Jack is my all-time favorite, but I haven't had it in a while and tonight was the first time I tried it in an objective, whiskey-review kind of way, and I came up with pretty much exactly what you said! Glad to hear others out there speaking up for this high quality whiskey, that many like to say bad things about. Also, as I mentioned on your Wild Turkey post, I am looking forward to your single barrel review! I do hope that the plague has not taken you!

  2. Hey Ryan, I think the nature of mass production (if you want to call it that) tends to lend itself to unfavourable criticism.

    Here in Aus we have a brewery 'Coppers' which has always been a craft brewery. It produces consistent, tasty, and somewhat unique variations of common beer expressions. Everyone whom drinks beer knows them even if they do not drink coopers. There are 3 prime factors I see as to why so many people avoid and or unfavourably comment on the product: Because it has been around so long, because their label has not changed and looks very basic in comparison to more modern marketing of craft beer, and finally the shear volume they can now output consistently.

    Now you look at American whisky (whisky) and there are labels such as Jim Beam White which to me is a pure mixer no doubt and that is fine. Try Jim Beam Black or Rye and it is another beast altogether. Then you look at JD and many people whom drink here it have never had it neat and think because it is so common and the standard expression it to should be only mixed. Jd starts where several other more common whiskies end no doubt.

    JD does amazing things to Cola as well and I probably should have acknowledge this. But for me I don't enjoy candy with my whisky and would much prefer the natural sweetness that comes from the ingredients and barrels. That is what makes whisky the king of spirits.

  3. Yes you are correct. It's interesting that because of the ubiquitous Jack-and-Cokes, and the marketing, you may not even consider having it neat, which is what happened to me. I would have a bottle of Jack in the cabinet for Jack-n-coke, then a bottle of bourbon for sipping. But when you "unlearn what you have learned," and sit down to Jack neat, it's got great balance and complexity at a good price. It's milder than a lot of other bourbons, true, but sometimes that is nice.