Jack Daniel’s was my first foray into whiskey years ago. So it’s of great interest to me when the iconic whiskey brand releases a special edition. With their new Heritage Barrel, the folks at Jack Daniel’s are mainly focused on barrel toasting techniques of early coopers. Jack Daniel’s makes their own barrels, which is an extreme rarity among the major distilleries.
For this release, 200 barrels have been slowly heated, “achieving a deeper, richer toasted layer before being charred,” according to press materials. It doesn’t end with specially toasted barrels. The whiskey entered these barrels at a lower entry proof than usual and matured in the upper floors of one of their highest elevated warehouses. The resulting single barrel whiskey was bottled at a hearty 100 proof.
The nose here is rich with big spiced banana and vanilla notes. Maple syrup-covered pancakes and some oak show up with a little airtime. On entry, that viscous and sweet maple syrup note is quickly joined by a peppering of cinnamon, allspice, and orange rind. Charred banana and vanilla remind me of wonderful Bananas Foster. Toasted oak, and the slight astringency usually associated with it, start showing up towards the back palate. The medium finish leaves a lingering hint of spiced caramel and oak.
The slowly toasted barrels together with the lower entry proof, upper floor maturation, and high bottling proof have done wonders to the whiskey coming out of Lynchburg, Tennessee. The resulting whiskey is rich, spicy, and amplified version of the Jack Daniel’s whiskey we’re all familiar with. Heritage Barrel isn’t as spicy/astringent as Sinatra Select. Instead, it comes across as a bit more balanced. Delicious! At $64.99 a bottle, Jack Daniel’s Heritage Barrel comes with a high recommendation. 8.5/10
Thanks to Jack Daniel’s for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.