PDA

View Full Version : Jack Daniel's Black - Old No. 7 - 86 Proof



ProofPositive
01-07-2006, 13:00
I'm sure the pros & cons of 86 v. 80 proof have been covered & beaten here like a http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/deadhorse.gif in previous threads....but, my question is more in regard to availability of 86 proof Old No. 7 still in the market. Though my tastes have veered away into the direction of straight KY bourbon the last couple of years, my first love was the original 90 proof Old No. 7 over 25 years ago. Though troubled when the 90 went away, I got used to 86 without losing any sleep. I guess I've been living under a rock because I just discovered last month that JD has now been altered to 80 proof in the standard offering. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/22.gif

My local store owner pointed out that 90 & 86 proof bottlings are still available but only in JD special offers such as the Gold Medals, Scenes of Lynchburg and others. Of course, the cost is higher for any of those as opposed to the standard bottle. I find myself wondering why we now have to pay more for what Mr. Daniel's wanted us to always enjoy as his best and ONLY real Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey. However, I know the answer - $MONEY$ - pure and simple http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/hot.gif.

Looking back now, I have no idea why I did not bunker away some of the 90 proof before it completely disappeared in the early 1990s http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/banghead.gif. While I am sure it would have been long ago consumed by yours truly....at least I could have enjoyed some for a while longer.

MY PRESENT OUESTION: If one should come across bottles of 86 proof here & there, should one grab them up? Since I have not yet bought any of the 80 proof JD Black, I have no idea if the change is very noticeable.

QUESTION for the real JD experts: is there a noticeable difference? If so, then I will run back by the store I stopped at last evening where I saw 2 liters of 86 Proof Old No. 7 that was bottled back in 1999. The price is $32.49 each which is about standard in this area I have found for JD Black by the liter.

Thanks for all advice and help. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/thankyousign.gif

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

cowdery
01-07-2006, 14:57
The change to 80 proof was made a little over two years ago. Is there any old 86-proof stock still in the marketplace? It seems unlikely, since Jack turns over pretty well everywhere. It would have to be some stock that got misplaced in the warehouse or something. Anyway, it might be out there, but probably not much of it.

Otherwise, if you want JD at a higher proof, you'll have to buy the special bottlings.

ProofPositive
01-08-2006, 00:00
I agree....a very unlikely find for this spirit. However, these 2 are now confirmed 86 proof bottles. Both have "12 * 99" on the bottom of the bottles, and, both have the plain print "JACK DANIEL'S" on all 4 sides of the bottle instead of the signature names on the newer bottles. I pulled every JD bottle out of the shelf looking for more but no luck - only these two 1 liter bottles were 86 proof...the rest are all 80. It is a store with a lot of old stock of all kinds of spirits. The owners are fairly new and probably have not had a chance to go through the entire inventory as of yet.

As you pointed out. JD has always had strong turnover....maybe the best in the business. So, it was unusual to find these bottles. I am sure there are probably a few more out there scattered throughout Tennessee - which I understand was the only place that ever had 86 proof shipped for sale in the standard Old No. 7 bottling.

Maybe that is one of the reasons the execs decided it would be OK to go with 80 proof nationwide/worldwide....it was already the standard proof everywhere but here. Besides, it would only piss-off http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/hot.gif the Tennessee JD loyalists - just 1 state out of 50 and just a small sliver of land in comparison to the rest of the world.

However, the 'suits' who make all the marketing decisions way up the corporate ladder have forgotten what was most sacred and important to Mr. Daniel's & Old No. 7...... Tennessee. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/thankyousign.gif

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

Gillman
01-08-2006, 08:42
One other point, covered in earlier threads: the current JD 80 proof has older whiskey in the bottles than the old, regular 86 proof version did (i.e., I don't know if the Scenes of Lynchburg 86 proof JD is exactly like the old 86, or like the current 80 proof version except 3% ABV higher). Whiskey older than what used to make up JD 86 proof is vatted in to the current 80 proof to ensure the color does not look too light because of the drop to 80 proof, and I believe the change has deepened the taste of the product. I think whiskey expert Mike Veach has opined that the 80 proof is richer-tasting than the previous (regular issue) 86 proof. Of course, some people liked the "hit" of the old 90 and 86 proof versions.

One way to re-create the old 90 is buy the Single Barrel 94 proof and vat it with the 80 proof. 50/50 will produce 87 proof and of course adding a bit more Single Barrel will produce 90. Yes, this is a more costly way to arrive at 90 proof than when the old 90 was available because of the relatively high price of Single Barrel. But the method produces a 90 proof Jack Daniels which is likely to be better than the original 90 proof since the Single Barrel and, again, the current 80 probably contain more older whiskey than the 90 and original 86 proof versions did.

In a different area of the vatting world but still within the American whiskey orbit, I made a vatting recently which may be unique in the world. I had half a bottle left of Kentucky Vintage 1976 Bourbon (a primo Kulsveen offering that was 25 years old when bottled in 2001: this was the export 86 proof version). And recently in the Caribbean I found the same whiskey but the 94 proof version, the one that is also available in selected markets in the U.S. I vatted them 50/50 and now have a 1976 Kentucky Vintage 90 proof version. I like this 90 for straight sipping, the 94 was too high I found (although of course careful dilution would have fixed that). This vatting is very good in that while both bottles tasted almost the same (to me anyway) the vatting, as vattings are wont to do, seemed to produce a special effect which is hard to explain in logical terms.

This one or part of it might end up at Gazebo upcoming. It is (inherently) no more or less than what the Kulsveens released but in a way I hope they would appreciate since 90 proof is certainly a "classic" proof level.

Gary

TNbourbon
01-08-2006, 09:01
...I don't know if the Scenes of Lynchburg 86 proof JD is exactly like the old 86...


Gary, it's my belief that the "Scenes of Lynchburg" bottling -- issued domestically only in Tennessee -- IS the old 86-proof whiskey. I have seen bottles so-far unreleased here already in places like Europe (viewed online; the whole series appears to have been released there already) and Mexico (seen in person), so I suspect all were bottled and warehoused some time ago and are being released here sequentially as the previous design sells out. At least, there seems to be no set schedule for their release -- the first was released in July 2003, the second about a year later, but we still await the third after now 18 months, presumably because the 1/3-higher-priced others aren't moving that well and remain on many shelves.

Gillman
01-08-2006, 09:25
Tim, thanks. I saw the Scenes of Lynchburg in a store on Broadway in New York, it was the 2004 release. This was in Times Square. I may be there before April and will try to snag one for Gazebo.

A real prize for Gazebo would be a 1950's-era Jack Daniels or even 1960's - sounds like Randy may have the chance to obtain or at least taste some. That would be a real coup, while we have covered bourbons and ryes of many decades of the 20th Century, we have not seen any Jack Daniels from the 1970's or earlier.

Gary

Rughi
01-08-2006, 10:15
One other point, covered in earlier threads: the current JD 80 proof has older whiskey in the bottles than the old, regular 86 proof version did



Gary,
I remember this speculation about how JD maintains their color by using older stock, but can't remember it being more verifiable than in your previous "plausible, alternative explanation" assertion in this previous thread (http://www.straightbourbon.comhttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/35791/page//vc/1). Did anything more concrete ever surface that I'm not finding in the archives that would help us to state this as a fact, not speculation?

Roger

Gillman
01-08-2006, 10:55
Yes, I recall that a representative of Brown Forman was quoted in one of the whiskey press as stating that older whiskey was being used to ensure the color did not appear too light. It might have been Jimmy Bedford or Lincoln Henderson, it may have been in Malt Advocate or Whisky Magazine or another place. I know I am being somewhat vague and at this point I cannot put my finger on the quotation but I am fairly certain I saw this statement made. My own informal comparisons of the 80 proof (note JD as sold in Canada has been 80 proof since the 1970's) and the former 86 proof seem to confirm that the current one tastes better. I had some JD from the remnants of an 86 proof bottle kept at a relation some months ago in Providence, R.I. It seemed a little more yellow to me than the current 80 proof and less smooth and rich in taste. So this confirmed in my mind what I recalled B-F saying (because even if you try to ensure the same color, it may in practice, I thought, end up being a little darker on average). Sorry not to be more specific, I will try to find the original quotation but again I am almost certain I read this in an interview with a representative of B-F.

Gary

Gillman
01-08-2006, 17:54
Roger, see e.g., www.instapunk.com/archives/WhiskeyWater.html (http://www.instapunk.com/archives/WhiskeyWater.html)

Gary

ProofPositive
01-08-2006, 22:51
I guess my tastebuds were asleep in the mid-'80s when the proof was cut from 90 to 86 by the Brown-Forman Corp., which owns Jack Daniel's....

....Starting last year, Jack's proof was reduced again, from 86 to 80 to cater to (younger) customers (wimpy bastards) who want a lighter taste....

....When Jack cut the proof, they kicked longtime customers (like me) to the curb. My favorite relief from reality has lost about 10 percent of its punch since the mid-'80s and I feel I'm getting less than I'm paying for. The proof went down, but not the retail price. -- Stu Bykofsky http://www.instapunk.com/archives/WhiskeyWater.html

This pretty much sums it up for me as well. While I was not a business major in college, I do understand marketing & consumer demand to some degree. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clever.gif I just do not believe that a huge share of a 'new' untapped market wanted a "Lite Jack Daniel's". If so, then why not just issue a bottling under that name to appeal to the yuppie crowd?.....and, leave the original the way Mr. Daniel wanted it always to stay. They have already spent a ton of money on the yuppie crowd coming out with the tooty-fruity 4-pacs of J.D. with kool aid mixers. Was that not good enough for the weak-tummy crowd? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

It's not like B-F barely scrapes by selling the #2 most popular whiskey in the world...and, by now may have passed Johnnie Walker to become #1. Surely with the profit margin B-F enjoys, a lite product could have been born. To my thinking, this is quite obvious from the resurrection of the 86 & 90 proofs in special J.D. bottlings. To top it off, the 'special' offerings cost more! IMHO the world is just upside down at B-F. Instead of making a "Lite Jack" the special offering, they make the original recipe that way and charge more for it! If this was not a thinly disguised ploy in the name of the almighty dollar, there never was one! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smiley_acbt.gif

The last thing B-F should have done is to slap the face of the longtime J.D. loyalist by doing such a thing. I thought a maxim to good business is "if it ain't broke then don't fix it". Obviously, the bean counters at B-F just don't follow that or any other logical & common sense line of reasoning. After all those years of success coming out of Lynchburg, Tennessee, let's 'improve' our flagship product....Yeah, Right!!! That made a whole lot of sense. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smilielol.gif Maybe B-F should change their name to http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bs.gif .....because they are waist-deep in it!

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

TNbourbon
01-08-2006, 23:03
Customer demand, crap! -- the tax savings on 9M cases is $13 million. Straight to the bottom line. All the rest is 'purty' words. 'Nuff said.

ProofPositive
01-08-2006, 23:20
Customer demand, crap! -- the tax savings on 9M cases is $13 million. Straight to the bottom line. All the rest is 'purty' words. 'Nuff said.



Probably a drop in the bucket for Brown-Foreman Corporation........but, you're right > "'Nuff said".

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

chasking
01-09-2006, 09:19
"JD Lite" would not have worked. Think about it: JD is a pretty strongly-flavored whiskey, yet it seems that much if not most of its market is not whiskey drinkers. I suspect that most of the JD consumed is not savored for its flavor, but either knocked back in shots or drowned in Coke, methods which will eliminate much of the distinctions between JD and any bottom-shelf bourbon costing half as much.

So why do the people who drink JD drink JD? Because it's cool. Because it's a rough, tough, take-no-prisoners whiskey! Because it's the subject of collegiate shared-ordeal rituals.

But, to fulfill that purpose, it has to be Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Black Label. That's the icon. JD Lite, no matter how good or how appropriate for the intended purpose, would not be the same thing.

Perhaps more to the point, JD already offered Green Label, which was 80 proof before the proof dropped on the black label version, and it wasn't flying off the shelves.

Meanwhile, BF has probably noticed that people who actually drink whiskey for the taste are willing to pay more for the good stuff, so they put out JDSB at nearly double the cost of the regular stuff. Although they would never be so blunt as to actually say it, I'm sure the response in BF's collective mind to complaints about dropping the proof is, "Hey, if you care so much, pony up the bucks for the good stuff!" Their indifference to our opinion regarding the regular JD is total. If everyone on this board bought a case of JD every week we still would be insignificant to them.

ProofPositive
01-09-2006, 12:00
You make some excellent points....which for the most part I cannot disagree. I cannot agree in full with your taste evaluation. It definitely is not a flavor to necessarily "savor".....but, IMHO is still a sizable cut above all the bottom shelf bourbons and can hold its own with many of the middle shelfers. Of course, everyone's tastes are different and that is just a reflection of mine.

It is undeniably a cultural icon. I have no clue as to why anyone would buy J.D Green - especially now since both are 80 proof. Isn't the green label really just black label reject - having failed to meet the black label taste profile? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/puke.gif Why/How does it survive? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif Maybe only due to a small following or the ignorant masses.

The indifference is definitely total from Brown-Forman. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/cry.gif So, I guess if I ever go back to being a J.D. regular again, you'll find me holding a JDSB in the checkout line at my local store.

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

chasking
01-09-2006, 13:09
I have no clue as to why anyone would buy J.D Green - especially now since both are 80 proof. Isn't the green label really just black label reject - having failed to meet the black label taste profile?



The difference is age: green is younger, by about a year if I recall correctly. In fact, as I understand it, the green label is the original Jack Daniel's whiskey; the black label version, older and stronger, was introduced to commemorate the death of Jack Daniel; the green label is closer to what he actually sold during his lifetime.

I've been meaning to get a bottle of JD Green for a while, to side-by-side with JD Black. I'm sure it's a little less refined, but it's also less expensive. Does an extra year in the barrel justify the extra price? Inquiring minds want to know.

ProofPositive
01-09-2006, 13:15
...the black label version, older and stronger, was introduced to commemorate the death of Jack Daniel; the green label is closer to what he actually sold during his lifetime.

I've been meaning to get a bottle of JD Green for a while, to side-by-side with JD Black. I'm sure it's a little less refined, but it's also less expensive. Does an extra year in the barrel justify the extra price? Inquiring minds want to know.

[/QUOTE]

Very interesting. I did know the green label was older in terms of being closer to the original recipe but did not know when/how/why the black label arrived on the scene.

Never been interested in trying JD Green....that is, until now. You have perked my interest.....and inquiring minds do want to know. Maybe someone already knows - ? And can save us a few bucks.

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

TNbourbon
01-09-2006, 16:11
...Isn't the green label really just black label reject...



Well, yes and no. Somewhere in my email archive I've got the response to that directly from the distillery, and I'm too lazy to go search for it, but the gist is this:
Sometimes they miscalculate just how many barrels of this age from that warehouse they need to marry together to get a batch of JD #7 Black Label. The pulled barrels they don't use (often too young) are replaced, then dumped into a batch which become JD #7 Green. They were not rejected because of any inferiority; they just pulled too many too-young barrels.
We sell both in the store, and the green-labeled one is consistently lighter in color, so presumably younger. Mostly 'old-timers' buy it, which lends credence to Chuck's point about it being the original 'recipe' and older. And it's only a dollar or so cheaper per bottle at the 750ml and liter sizes, so B-F ain't givin' it away.

Virus_Of_Life
01-09-2006, 23:11
It definitely is not a flavor to necessarily "savor".....but, IMHO is still a sizable cut above all the bottom shelf bourbons and can hold its own with many of the middle shelfers. Of course, everyone's tastes are different and that is just a reflection of mine.




While I agree it has a good flavor, I'd take Evan Williams Black label at about 1/2 the price over JD any day, which if I recall correctly is still 86 proof. And as for a more pricey mid shelfer Knob Creek IMHO blows JD off the shelf. Anyway, you are right everyone's tastes are different I just stopped drinking Jack, well, back before I was legal but after my older brother turned me onto EW http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drinking.gif...

ProofPositive
01-10-2006, 00:12
While I agree it has a good flavor, I'd take Evan Williams Black label at about 1/2 the price over JD any day, which if I recall correctly is still 86 proof. And as for a more pricey mid shelfer Knob Creek IMHO blows JD off the shelf. Anyway, you are right everyone's tastes are different I just stopped drinking Jack, well, back before I was legal but after my oder brother turned me onto EW http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drinking.gif...

[/QUOTE]

EW Black has been an alternative for me when the wallet is light....and, it is a good one. As for KC, I have mixed opinions at the moment. My first bottle was polite and enjoyable. The last couple have been rather harsh and unpredictable. I doubt I will buy any more for some time to come.

I have not ever really stopped drinking JD altogether. Like many, my tastes have evolved & matured thru the years. It has reached the point that for the last couple of years, I have become a bourbonian 95% of the time when I have a pour. That has left little time for JD - which is probably how I missed the 86 to 80 proof reduction until just recently. However, I still have a special place in my heart for JD and absolutely love it with soda.

You cannot live in Tennessee and not tip your hat & glass in honor & respect to Mr. Daniel. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif Not to do so is just outright dishonorable for a Tennessean in my book....IMHO bordering on blasphemy http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/pope.gif.

While not gone or forgotten, I just have not the time or money available for as much of ole Jack as in the past.
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif

Virus_Of_Life
01-10-2006, 01:11
You cannot live in Tennessee and not tip your hat & glass in honor & respect to Mr. Daniel.



Amen to that and I agree 100%

Even being from Oregon, temporarily lost in California, I'll always respect that man!

ProofPositive
01-12-2006, 00:23
...Isn't the green label really just black label reject...



Well, yes and no. Somewhere in my email archive I've got the response to that directly from the distillery, and I'm too lazy to go search for it, but the gist is this:
Sometimes they miscalculate just how many barrels of this age from that warehouse they need to marry together to get a batch of JD #7 Black Label. The pulled barrels they don't use (often too young) are replaced, then dumped into a batch which become JD #7 Green. They were not rejected because of any inferiority; they just pulled too many too-young barrels.



You are much closer to Lynchburg than me....and, the owner of a Southaven, MS store who told me something today I find impossible to believe. He said J.D. Green is going away soon. I told him that he must be joking and I would consider it only rumor and utter nonsense. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smilielol.gif

However, he swore it was the truth. The basis for the decision he said was due to the fact that both Black & Green are now the same proof (80)....in other words, Green is hurting the sales of Black. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bandit.gif

Now, I never was one to think Jack to be hurting in any facet of their sales. Any basis to believe such a thing? You heard anything like this? I have not heard this elsewhere nor on here. Therefore, unless you tell me otherwise, I am going to dismiss this as pure rumor and nothing more.


http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/thankyousign.gif

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/usflag.gif Wayne

Ghoste
02-16-2006, 03:09
An interesting point was made about non bourbon drinkers mixing JD with soda because whenever I just want to drink whiskey and not think about it, I'll frequently pull down a bottle of JD and mix it with Coke. I just like the sweetness of it. My version of the whiskey-KoolAid cooler I suppose.
I never realized I was following a yuppie trend though.

ThomasH
02-21-2006, 15:53
I took a tour of the JD distillery last April and the tour guide told us that Brown Forman pays the government approx. $9 million a month in alcohol taxes attributed to the production and sale of Jack Daniels. This business of the proof reduction being consumer driven is garbage. It is purely money driven, plain and simple. In Ohio, JD black is 19.80 a 750ml bottle for the 80 proof. I remember buying my last bottle of the 86 about 3 years ago for 17.75 and that included a 50 cent markup to cover the cost of the shotglass that came with it. Anyone who can withstand a shot of 80 proof Jack can handle an 86 or even 90 proof drink as well. same thing with WT Russells Reserve being reduced to 90 proof. If I order a shot of Wild Turkey in a bar, I fully expect one that is 101 proof. I have never been served one that was the "lightweight' version of 80 proof. I don't recall even seeing a bottle of 80 proof WT on a bar back!

thomas

camduncan
02-21-2006, 21:18
An interesting thread :)
I've got a bottle of JD at home that has been in my cupboard for years - I wonder if it is 80 proof or 86 - I'll check tonight.

I've also got one of the large glass Jack Daniels bell bottles from the 80's that is relatively untouched. This thread makes me wonder what proof it is as well....:skep:

barturtle
02-21-2006, 22:33
This business of the proof reduction being consumer driven is garbage.

I wouldn't call it consumer driven, more like the consumer doesn't care enough to complain-of course most JD consumers aren't exactly the most whiskey conscience people, so they probably wouldn't notice the difference...think about it, you go to the store(or more likely the bar) the only whiskey you ever buy is JD, you know you want the black and not the green;Gentleman and SB are for special occasions: are you gonna check the proof(or ask the bartender) every time, hell you might not notice it for years!


I have never been served one that was the "lightweight' version of 80 proof. I don't recall even seeing a bottle of 80 proof WT on a bar back

I remember visiting a beer bar with a good bourbon selection in NYC about 3 years ago, they had Bookers, several VW, but WT80-no 101:hot: .

camduncan
02-22-2006, 00:20
Hmmm, my bottle of JD Black Label is 43% ABV, so I guess that makes it the 86 proof. The stamp on the bottom is 03 95 - so I'm guessing it's from the mid 1990's?

Interestingly, both Australian web sites I checked both list the ABV of JD Black Label as 43%.......

Slightly off-topic -
The JD Bell that I spoke of is actually the JD Inaugural bottle - commisioned to honor the 80h anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt's election as President. There's no mention of what whiskey is inside of it.

brian12069
02-25-2006, 13:06
An interesting thread :)
I've got a bottle of JD at home that has been in my cupboard for years - I wonder if it is 80 proof or 86 - I'll check tonight.

I've also got one of the large glass Jack Daniels bell bottles from the 80's that is relatively untouched. This thread makes me wonder what proof it is as well....:skep:

I wonder if it's 90!!!???