Here at Barrel & Brew, we drink Jack Daniels quite frequently, but it’s almost always the Old No. 7 and in the form of a Jack and Coke. When it comes to drinking whiskey on the rocks or neat, we tend to reach for smaller, craft options – or just whiskey we don’t relate with mixed drinks. However, we’ve finally got ourselves a bottle of Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select to see if it’s worth it.
Is the extra money worth it for Single Barrel Select? How is Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select different from standard Jack? What does it taste like? These are all questions we’re going to cover in this Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select review. Before we get into the specifics of the whiskey, though, we’re going to cover some basics about the history behind Jack Daniels.
Jack Daniels History
The story of Jack Daniels really begins with the relationship between three men. First, there’s Reverend Dan Call, Nathan “Nearest” Green, and Jasper Newton Daniel, known as Jack. Reverend Dan Call was also a farm owner and distilled whiskey on the side. He was also a slave owner, one of which was Nathan Green, or Uncle Nearest. He was put in charge of distilling the whiskey for Dan Call. Soon after, a young boy, Jack Daniel, is hired at the Call family farm where he learns distilling from Nearest Green and develops a relationship that’ll turn into a life-long friendship.
Eventually, Jack Daniel opens his own distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee and uses the skills learned from Uncle Nearest to craft his own whiskey. However, Jack later hired Nearest Green to serve as master distiller. The Jack Daniel Distillery was registered in 1866.
Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select Overview
- Spirit: Tennessee Whiskey – Single Barrel
- Owned By: Brown-Forman
- Distilled By: The Jack Daniel’s Distillery
- Aged: NAS
- ABV: 47%, 94 proof
- Mashbill: 80% Corn, 12% Malted Barley, 8% Rye
- Price: $55
- Bottled: 05/12/2022
What is Tennessee Whiskey?
Tennessee Whiskey is it’s own legal type of whiskey, but we can think of it like a sub-set of bourbon. Tennessee Whiskey must have all the same classifications as a bourbon, but with an additional step and a more specific geographical region.
Bourbon must be made in the US while Tennessee Whiskey must be made in…. you guessed it – Tennessee. Other than that, the only other difference is that Tennessee Whiskey undergoes something called the Lincoln County Process
The Lincoln County Process is really charcoal mellowing. Once the whiskey is distilled and before it is aged, it goes through a 3-5 day process of running down through charcoal. This filtration process is meant to ‘mellow’ the whiskey, and it is the defining characteristic of Tennessee Whiskey.
What is Single Barrel Whiskey?
Whiskey is aged in newly charred American Oak barrels. After it’s aged, the whiskey from the barrels is blended together to create the desired profile. This doesn’t mean almost every whiskey is a ‘blended’ whiskey. Blended bourbon refers to when two distinct and separate bourbons are blended together, often produced at different distilleries and/or with different mashbills.
Single Barrel Whiskey is exactly what it sounds like. All the whiskey in the bottle you’re holding came out of one single barrel. Single Barrel expressions often come from their best barrels and are hand selected by master distillers. They tend to have the most character, individuality, and quality as every barrel will age just a bit differently. This is why Single Barrel whiskey often comes with a bumped up price tag.
Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select Tasting Notes
We’ve covered most of the basics, now let’s find out if the Single Barrel Select is significantly better than their typical Old No. 7 JD.
Nose: Honey and caramel were the most prominent off the bat, but after letting it sit a bit longer I got more toasted oak and a touch of cherry.
Palate: Tastes like Jack but more round and full. Caramel, vanilla, toasted oak. There was a light nuttiness at the end that rolls into the finish.
Finish: Nuttiness turns to a nice white pepper and oak. A dry finish that is simple but pleasant.
Let me start by saying that I’m not a huge fan of Jack Daniels. I mean, I think Jack and Coke is hard to beat, but drinking Jack neat, on the rocks, or as a shot has never been very appealing to me. Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select is sooo much more enjoyable neat than their whiskey. HOWEVER, it’s still Jack.
Without saying it’s smoother, since a lot of people don’t buy into that, I’ll say it’s more full. The flavors are unmistakably that of Jack, though. It makes sense as it’s the same mash, distilling process, it’s just aged in a prime barrel and location.
Value – Taste & Price
I want to be clear, Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select is a very enjoyable dram. It’s just nothing special so to say. Part of that is because I’ve drunken a lot of Jack in my life, so it’s nothing new. It was fun to try as a comparison, but it simply lacked excitement and uniqueness.
A lot of the value in a $50-60 bottle of whiskey is that you don’t drink it every day (at least most of us don’t). Most of my favorite whiskeys are $50 give or take, and it’s always a treat to drink Laws Whiskey or WhistlePig, but spending $55 on a bottle that tastes like standard Jack – even though it’s much better – is underwhelming.
Jack Daniels vs Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select
I just went back and did a side by side tasting of standard Old No. 7 Jack and Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select, and I really was shocked at how much better Single Barrel Select is. Especially since there are really only two primary differences between the two whiskeys.
Old No. 7 is a ‘blend’ of who knows how many barrels of JD, and the Single Barrel Select is, well, a single barrel. Albeit, it’s a barrel that is hand selected by the master distiller and it holds a prime position within the warehouse/barn the whiskey is aged in. The other is that our Single Barrel Select is 94 proof compared to the 80 proof of Old No. 7.
Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select Summary
The downside of Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select is a combination of the price and familiarity. Most of us have had a lot of Jack in our lives. And the people that haven’t, probably don’t like Jack. That’s where the price comes in to play. $55 is a fair price for the whiskey, but it lacks that newness or wow factor because it has a very similar profile to the regular ol’ Jack.
If you’re interested in trying Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select, I think the best thing to do is to start with a glass at a bar, a friends house, or in a 50ml shooter.
Below are frequently asked questions regarding Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select. Many of these are answered in the article above.
How is Single Barrel Select different from other Jack Daniels products?
The primary differences are that Single Barrel Select is bottled from a single barrel, so each batch (roughly 267 bottles) will have some variance in it’s profile. Other than that, Single Barrel Select is stronger than regular Jack.
What is the alcohol content (ABV) of JD Single Barrel Select?
47% ABV, 94 proof. Jack Daniels Old No. 7 is bottles at 40% ABV, or 80 proof.
What is the flavor profile of Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select?
It’s very similar to your regular old JD. There was a touch of cherry in mine that isn’t present in Old No. 7, but it’s mostly toasted oak, honey, and caramel. The primary difference is in the mouthfeel and roundness/fullness.
How much does JD Single Barrel Select typically cost?
Price can vary based upon individual stores and region, but you’ll typically find JD Single Barrel Select in that $50-60 range.