Single Barrel

Review: Jack Daniel’s Heritage Barrel

JDSB_SpecialRelease_Heritage Barrel

Photo courtesy of Jack Daniel’s.

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

jackdaniels.com

Thanks to Jack Daniel’s for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Store Pick Review: Calandro’s Supermarket 1792 Full Proof and Knob Creek Single Barrel Rye

Calandro’s Supermarket in Baton Rouge, Louisiana just released a couple of store picks they thought I’d be interested in trying. Who am I to turn down whiskey? Mark Calandro and his son Taylor taste and choose the barrels for their stores. Let’s get to tasting.

First up is 1792 Full Proof. This goes into the barrel at 125 proof. After maturation, the whiskey is proofed down to that same proof. Because that could just mean a couple of proof points, this is basically barrel proof bourbon. The nose is rich with hints of caramel, red fruit and spice. Taste-wise, we’re talking about layer after layer of decadent caramel upfront. Additionally, hints of graham cracker and red fruits develop alongside some baking spice and leather. The finish is long, with lingering notes of barrel char and sweet oak. Calandro’s 1792 Full Proof is big, rich, and worth every penny of its $49.99 cost. 8.5/10

Next up is their Knob Creek Single Barrel Rye, currently one of the first of these releases in Louisiana AND the supermarket chain’s first rye whiskey picks. Knob Creek Single Barrel Rye is bottled at 115 proof. The nose is a touch muted at first, but becomes a bit livelier with a little airtime. Aromas of rye spice, fruit, vanilla, and lightly roasted coffee abound. On the palate, a sweet brown sugar entry develops hints of toasted rye grain, cherries, and wood spice. The finish is long and warming, with hints of sweet vanilla and spicy rye. $39.99 8/10

Great picks from Calandro’s! I am excited to see what they bring into the store next.

Thanks to Calandro’s for the generous samples. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Michter’s 10-year-old Rye Whiskey (2018)

Michter’s has released their coveted 10-year-old rye whiskey for the first time in more than a year.  The single barrel expression consistently ranks among my favorite rye whiskies. Just like the last time, Michter’s 10-year-old rye barrels were selected by Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson and approved by Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann.

Though Michter’s is currently distilling at their new distillery (a place I really need to visit), the stocks that make up this whiskey came through contract distilling.  That’s different from sourcing whiskey.  Contract distilling means making your whiskey at an existing distillery to your specifications (mash bill, unique yeast strain, etc).

Bottled at 46.4% ABV, or 93.8 proof, Michter’s 10yr rye undergoes the company’s “signature filtration.”  My sample bottle came from barrel no. 18E559.

The nose on this whiskey always does it for me – dark, rich caramels with an abundance of baking spices like nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cardamom, as well as a bit of toasted oak.  On the palate, the whiskey doesn’t disappoint.  Layers and layers of dark caramel wash over the front palate as those lovely spice notes ramp up in intensity.  A little bit of toasted rye is present, as is a touch of vanilla pod.  A dark chocolate note appears mid-palate, along with a touch of leather and oak.  The finish features more caramel alongside toasted coconut,  dried fruit, and spice.

Michter’s has another winner on their hands with this expression.  It keeps in line with a richness found in a lot of Michter’s whiskies.  Decadent is a great descriptor here.  Quite lovely.  A bottle runs a suggested retail price of $160, and I think it’s worth every penny.  Nicely done.  9/10

Thanks to Michter’s for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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