For aficionados, Jack Daniel’s special-release barrel-proof rye whiskey will be one of autumn’s greatest hits.
Jack Daniel’s new release, uncut at full proof, is limited to 200 barrels.
Mark Twain had it right, of course, when he intoned that too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough. The distilling team at Jack Daniel’s follows this credo with a new limited-release Tennessee Rye, the contents of which are straight from the barrel, uncut at full proof. The makers wanted to create something extraordinary to honor the history of American whiskey when it was often high in rye content and offered at barrel strength. The release is limited to a mere 200 barrels.
“Our single-barrel rye whiskey has developed somewhat of a cult following, with many folks asking when an uncut release would be offered,” says Chris Fletcher, assistant master distiller. “The full barrel-proof version of our rye whiskey shines with amazing balance. The complexity from start to finish is unmatched. This is the first broad release of barrel-proof rye whiskey here at Jack Daniel’s, and we can’t wait to get it out to the world.”
As is customary, it took time to create the spirit (it ages five to seven years), as maturing takes place in the highest reaches of the Barrel House. This is the legendary distiller’s first new mash bill—or mix of grains—since Prohibition, with 70% rye, 12% malt and 18% corn. The result is a deep copper hue, and the first thing sippers will notice is an aroma of rich caramel. The palate payoff is memorable, with flavors of warm oak, caramelized fruits, molasses and layers of dark spices that round together perfectly. The finish is a warm, subtle peppery surprise.
It’s almost blasphemy to ask a distiller how he’d drink his creation, but Fletcher indulges me. “There’s no wrong way to enjoy our whiskeys,” he says. “I would, however, recommend trying this whiskey neat to be able to experience it straight from the barrel as Mother Nature created it, or with a couple of drops of water to [produce] even more nuance.” In other words, when there’s barely enough of a good thing, it’s always wise to savor the absolute thrill of its existence.