Jack Is With Us in Spirits
by Sheila Swerling-Puritt
Spirit lovers owe a debt of gratitude to Jack Daniel. Jack established
a distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, in the 1830s. In 1866, the Jack
Daniel Distillery became the first registered establishment of its kind
in the United States of America. The company is now owned by the Brown-Forman
Corporation of Louisville Kentucky, who had the smarts to buy the business
Today, Jack Daniel's is a household word. The distillery has become a
Disneyland for spirit aficionados, hosting over 250,000 visitors each
year. It's located in Lynchburg, Tennessee (population 361), some 70 miles
southeast of Nashville, the country seat of Moore County and one of the
few to remain "dry." Over a dozen years ago, after a wonderful
educational tour of the distillery and, of course, a visit to the famous
Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House for a delicious Southern lunch, the Jack
Daniel's Distillery inducted me into their Tennessee Squire Association.
Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey is made from corn, rye, barley malt and
iron-free water from their own limestone cave spring.
The process of making Jack Daniel's is almost identical to their sipping
cousin Bourbon, but this Tennessee whiskey alters the final process of
the recipe by slowly filtering their product through 10 feet of hard sugar
maple charcoal over a 4 to 6 day period. On the basis of that difference,
the U.S. federal government officially acknowledged the difference between
Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey in 1941, creating a new category for those
whiskies that are charcoal mellowed.
For my personal taste, I have always found their best-selling premium
spirit, Old No. 7 Black Label whiskey, a little too aggressive to drink
neat. I'd leave that to bikers, rockers and young men drinking their way
through their rites of passage. That said, I recently had the opportunity
to taste a gentler Jack Gentleman Jack, Rare Tennessee Whiskey
(80 proof), crafted from a slightly different recipe. It is charcoal mellowed
twice, once before and once after the aging process. This counters any
overt tannic acidity picked up from the charred American white oak barrels,
imparting an extra smoothness to the whiskey. Light amber in colour, this
Tennessee whiskey is fruity (black currants and mandarin), laced with
a vanilla flavour drawn from the barrels, and has a delicious sweet lingering
finish. It's currently available in Canada, well priced at around $33.00
The coterie of Jack Daniel's products available share family traits but
each offers its own individual tastes. Look for Jack Daniels's Single
Barrel Tennessee Whiskey (94 proof), Jack Daniel's No. 7 Black Label Tennessee
Whiskey (86 proof) and, of course, Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Green Label
Tennessee Whiskey (80 proof). The company also makes bottled Jack Daniel's-based
pre-mixed county cocktails.
Today, I can tell you I am truly delighted to be squired by Gentleman
Jack anywhere, anytime!
While Gentleman Jack is meant for sipping either neat or over a little
ice or with a splash of branch water (water from a small branch draining
into a larger creek), my preference for Jack Daniel's Black Label is either
with ginger ale or in the following cocktail.
- 1 part Jack Daniel's Black Label
- 2 parts Blackberry Brandy
- 4 parts 7 UP or Sprite
- Pour the Jack Daniel's and Blackberry Brandy over ice in a highball
- Mix well. Add pop.
Also check out July's KISS
cocktail column for the Lynchburg lemonade recipe.
For more information, you can contact Sheila at firstname.lastname@example.org.