Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jack Daniel's Gentleman Jack Tennessee Whiskey Review:

Hello everyone! Hope your summer of camping and barbeques are going well. Besides the the heat that I will never get used to in California, my summer is turning out to be a good one. I've had some nice mini vacations and I've been sampling lots of tasty treats. This review is one I've been putting off for quite some time now, but due to the popularity and request value of this particular bottle, here I am. Obviously Jack Daniel’s Old Number 7 is the number one selling American whiskey in the world, made popular by Frank Sinatra…. yada yada yada. As I have reviewed the “other Tennessee whiskey” George Dickel, before I get into this review of Jack’s older brother, I would like to go through again what makes a Tennessee whiskey. It is currently in the works for the Lincoln Country Process, i.e. charcoal filtration, to become a mandatory state law for anyone who wants to call their whiskey "Tennessee Whiskey," but as of yet there is no regulation requiring producers in Tennessee to go through this process. However, distilleries like Jack Daniels and Dickel have set the bar and created a pressure which at this point still seems to be holding the statuesque on charcoal filtration. Though a specific process there is not – Jack Daniels filters the whiskey as it comes out of the still (creating a cleaner palate), whereas Dickel chills it down before filtration (leaving some of the rougher edges in the distillate). While some might turn up their noses to filtration of this sort, it produces a unique and sought after taste; distinctive almost solely to Tennessee. Gentlemen Jack toes the same line as Old Number 7, yet having gone through the charcoal filtration twice, and having only those barrels picked from the lower levels of the rickhouse, it produces an even cleaner, crisper, and dare I say “smoother” palate.

Jack Daniel's Gentlemen Jack Review:

Price: From $24-28 for a 750ml bottle.

Packaging/Labeling: Love the bottle. Stylish and fits nicely into the Jack lineup. However, there is no information on the label whatsoever. And stating the whiskey is rare from a producer like this, when you can find the product in every grocery store across the nation, is a bit of a stretch.

Alcoholic Content: 40% abv, 80 proof. Should we expect more from Jack Daniels? I wouldn’t go as far as saying that. As I’ll discuss below, the 80 proof is much more calculated, rather than simply for lower cost/production.

Nose: I’m surprised by this nose. Vibrant and sweet. Caramel custard notes, spicy floral, red fruits dominate. Less harsh than Number 7. This is the shining act for Gentleman Jack.

Palate: Red fruit, red hots, spice, raisins. Slightly underdeveloped phenolic/sharpness. The finish is where this whiskey is most disappointing. Give it a drop of water and some time. Time does wonders to this whiskey. Spiciness lengthens and caramel sweetness rounds out - diminishing some of the harsher characteristics. 

Conclusion: I have to say I am a bit surprised by some of the reviews of this product. But understandably so, it appears that most tend to think a higher priced, premium expression means a smaller craft produced product. However, Gentleman Jack was not designed as an extra special product for consumers that gravitate towards the likes of Jim Beam’s Small Batch collection. It isn’t playing to that crowd. If anything it is doing the opposite. It is appealing to a wider audience than Jack Daniel’s Number Seven, while presenting itself as a sipper, not to be mixed, where Number Seven does best. It’s 80 proof, more mellow, tame, and purposefully devised as so. If you want something more complex and interesting, look at Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, or any number of bourbons in the same price range as Gentleman Jack. Truth be told this is not a bad whiskey, it just might be a bit lackluster for some.

Rating: Good/Recommended

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