Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where the Angels Roost - Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select
So I have taken some time before reviewing this whisky. I think it is because I am not sure about it even now. I like it yes but I am somewhat disappointed. I have had my eye on a bottle of Jack Daniel's Single Barrel for sometime and when the opportunity arose to spend those few extra dollars I lashed out in ernest. About 6 months back I had an absolutely excellent bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed (not a single barrel) and I think I was hoping for the same experience with the Jack Daniel's Single Barrel. Yes I know these are not even close to being the same whiskies but to me the a $80 price tag and the words Single Barrel means this should be something special and that was what I was looking forward to.

Two unique things that make the Single Barrel so special firstly the fact that this each bottle only comes from one barrel and not blended. Secondly is the fact that these barrels sit and remain in the upper reaches of the barrelhouse, aka The Angels Roost, which forces the more extreme fluctuations in temperature and humidity into the barrel and its contents. Ultimately the heavier the fluctuation on the whisky in the barrel the more the whisky is forced in and out of the wood drawing the tannins and sugars out. Though of course I have never been to the Jack Daniel's Distillery, from various sources including a documentary I have seen recently seen on the distillery these barrels do in fact suffer very heavily to the angels share and in the upper reaches of the barrelhouse the smell of whisky is quite prevalent.

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select
Alcohol: 45%
Location / Region: Lynchburg, Tennessee
Rick No.: L-11
Barrel No.: 10-1913
Botteling Date: 5-5-10

The Colour is deep amber. The whisky is presented in a rather over the top squat square bottle with a wooded cap and cork stopper that looks quite dated and not very well thought through.

One the nose lots of corn, maple vanillas and toasted oak. It is very strong and in your face in comparison to a regular Jack Daniels Old No.7 which I was expecting though it needs to be noted that this is only 45% so it is not ridiculous to the senses.

To taste much softer mouth feel than usual that just cushions the tongue. Again pretty much the same corns, vanillas and toasted oak notes found on the nose (personally not a big difference at all which leads to some disappointment). After an initial taste I get lots of tingle on the lips and tips of the tongue and cheecks.

The finish is rich, hot and sits in the middle of the throat. Not too much heat makes it into the chest at all an your pallet does get an aftershock of the caramel and toasted oaks for some time.

As you can see I really cannot pick out too much at all and it has a unfortunate sameness the whole way through. Honestly it is a great whisky but drastically overpriced. I feel this is a $50AU bottle of whisky and not the asking price of $80AU to $90AU found in the stores. In mentioning this it is leads me to a previous post on Jack Daniel's Old No.7 and how I feel that is a great whisky at a great price and tends to begin where many a American whisky finishes off.

If I was to give a dram then this would be a 5 1/2 out of 7. Great but not a leader in the field.

A thing to note and probably one of the most outstanding things about Jack Daniel's Single Barrel is you can buy a entire  barrel if you like. That is  250 750ml bottles (packaged individually) + the original barrel it was stored in for around $9000 AU. That has got to be 20 years of stocks if you consume 2.5 bottles a year. Not a bad deal at all if you ask me. Dear god even if you were a bar that is only $36 a bottle, a sure fire investment to have on the shelf.

Also of note is to remember this is a single barrel so other barrels will be different but I am sure not so extremely different that you would be playing Russian Roulette with your purchase.

The Baron