Review: Uncle Nearest 1856 Whiskey

As we move forward into the future, it is important not to forget our past. After all, the past is what shaped our present. The whiskey industry has taken that creedo to heart. Countless whiskies are named after their founders or important figures in the history of the spirit here in America.

One in particular stands out as of late – Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey. It’s a tribute to Nathan Green, a name you might not be familiar with. Nathan, who went by the name Nearest, was the man who taught a young Jack Daniel how to make whiskey back in the mid-1800s. That’s important enough, but what makes this story special is that Nathan Green was African-American. CBS News produced a great piece on the story, which I highly encourage you to watch.

As for the whiskey itself, it is distilled in Tennessee, maple charcoal filtered, and bottled at 100 proof. There is no age statement on the label, but the website states the whiskey is aged for a minimum of seven years. The producers of Uncle Nearest 1856 utilize two unnamed Tennessee distilleries. The SRP is $59.95. Though the brand is growing, as of the writing of this post the whiskey’s only available in select markets.

The nose is rather robust, thanks to the whiskey’s high proof. Hints of caramelized sugar, peach, vanilla, orange peel and minerals fly out of the glass. Taste-wise, Uncle Nearest stays in the same area as its nose. Candied stone fruits and flint sit on a bed of sweet maple wood. Some spice, cinnamon stick especially, pops up mid-palate. The long finish sees that spice intensify and introduce semi-sweet barrel char.

If I was a betting man, I’d say Uncle Nearest is sourcing whiskey from Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel. The former because of Green’s impact on the brand’s founder. The latter because of the slight minerality found in the whiskey, something I usually associate with Dickel.

Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium whiskey is an enjoyable pour. Its maple charcoal filtering smooths the rough edges, making the whiskey drink more like 90 proof than 100 proof. The whiskey’s stone fruits and minerality really stand out compared to others I’ve tasted, making Uncle Nearest’s flavor profile somewhat unique. Unique, though not utterly complex. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The more complex a whiskey, the more time you should spend dissecting aromas, flavors and the way those notes evolve. Sometimes you just want to relax with a pour of nice whiskey. For those occasions, Uncle Nearest fits the bill. 8/10


Thanks to Uncle Nearest for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.