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  1. #11
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    Re: Why is Jack Daniel Woody?

    Well, I've never been inside the Dickel plant, but to my knowledge they steep the char. I may be incorrect, of course.

    I would also think that the proof of the new make would have an effect as it related to extracting wood compounds. Do JD and Dickel introduce the whiskey to the char at the same proof?

    It is one of my favorite spirits to make. The white dog, to my taste, is simply awful and out of balance. But if you let those phenols that come from charring the maple oxidize and blend with the barrel sugars, you've really got an interesting whiskey.

    Not surprisingly, I'm quite fond of JD and Dickel. There's more going on in those whiskies than some give credit, IMHO.

  2. #12
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    Re: Why is Jack Daniel Woody?

    In my opinion its the mashbill and the toasting of the barrel before charring, and the relative youth. According to the "whiskey tree" JD is 80% corn in the mash. Corn is basically a neutral grain which gives way to more barrel influence. Also, it isn't old which means the woody flavors will come through first before the sweet barrel flavors.

    I just finished a bottle of JDSB and I loved it. It did have that strong wood note at first but after a couple of weeks and half the bottle gone, it gave way to more balance with the sweet. Overall I thought it was great and I'm keeping on my "buy again" list.

  3. #13
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    Re: Why is Jack Daniel Woody?

    I'd have to go back through my notes to verify, but I thought I heard Jeff Arnett state that the SB barrels sit highest in the warehouse and so, due to the greater variations in temperature exposure, moves in and out of the wood the most of all of the JD products. If what I remember is true, could that also be contributing to the woody taste?

  4. #14
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    Re: Why is Jack Daniel Woody?

    I'm gonna add my two cents, or possibly a nickels worth here.

    As far as barrels go, Brown Foreman has it's own cooperage. Do they use the same barrels for all the different whiskeys in their lineup, or do they age the wood differently and/or use different chars for their different whiskeys? Might make a difference.

    I agree that the "charcoal mellowing" process does impart flavors in JD. I've heard many descriptors of JD flavors. Most have already been mentioned. Banana is a one often associated with JD. I readily agree with the exception of a bottle of JDSS I recently acquired. No banana flavor, but there was a definite taste like maple syrup to me. I think the Lincoln County process is one of the reasons for the wood, banana and maple flavors people describe.

    I also agree that placement of barrels in the rick houses also has an affect. I'm a Tennessee Squire and I receive news, updates and all kinds of information from Jack Daniel's from time to time. I can't remember if I read it in one of their communications or somewhere else, but barrel placement does have a bearing on whether the barrels will be regular Jack Daniel's, Gentleman Jack or their Single Barrel. I may be wrong, but IIRC, barrels for regular Jack Daniel's are selected from the middle floors, Gentleman Jack from the lower floors, and Single Barrel from the upper floors. Or, at least something to that effect. I do have CRS, so I sometimes have a tendency to forget things or get them mixed up from time to time.

    Climate and age. Nothing to say here that hasn't been brought up already.

    The one thing I think everyone might have missed here is water. Yes, water. I think we all know that when water is added to a whiskey, it changes the taste. Sometimes it can be dramatic. I've tasted things that I thought were pretty good, but when water was added, they became terrible. Conversely, I've had things I thought were just mediocre, but when water was added, they blossomed into something great. Now, Jack Daniel's and Gentleman Jack are both 80 proof, (the Gentleman Jack is charcoal mellowed twice, thus imparting it with another different flavor) Jack Daniels Single Barrel is 94 proof, and Single Barrel Select is 100 proof. I believe that the amount of water added to Jack Daniels (as with all whiskeys) to bring it down to it's bottling proof changes the flavor. Just my opinion, but what can I say? Case in point FWIW, I recently found some semi dusty 86 proof Jack. I bought a couple of bottles for some bowling buddies of mine that just love their Jack. Even though they drink Jack and Coke, they all swore that there was a difference, and that the 86 proofer was a lot better. I was skeptical, but all three of them could pick out the difference in a blind Jack and Coke taste test. Sure surprised me.

    So to close out my long winded reply to this thread, I think that the combination of all the factors listed above (and as suggested by others) are what gives Jack it's unique, oft considered woody flavor. So as not to create the wrong impression, part of my answers are fact, part are opinion, and part some semi-educated conjecture. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Cheers! Joe

    Now I'm gonna go have a pour or two of some Jack Daniels.
    Last edited by fishnbowljoe; 08-26-2012 at 19:20.
    " I never met a Weller I didn't like"

  5. #15
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    Re: Why is Jack Daniel Woody?

    Interesting and barrel placement is important of course especially for SB but I must say I get the woody taste in all JD even Gentleman.

    The point about water is interesting too and reminds me that Jack Daniels uses as a part of its reducing water water used under pressure to rinse out whiskey from inside the barrel after normal dumping. I wonder if that is a factor as well.

    Gary

  6. #16
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    Re: Why is Jack Daniel Woody?

    Gary - can you describe the woody taste your referring to? I assume your not talking about the maple sweetness but about a woody tingly effect.

  7. #17
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    Re: Why is Jack Daniel Woody?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnbowljoe View Post
    As far as barrels go, Brown Foreman has it's own cooperage. Do they use the same barrels for all the different whiskeys in their lineup, or do they age the wood differently and/or use different chars for their different whiskeys? Might make a difference.
    I've reviewed several videos and web site references on Brown-Forman cooperage and there is no talk of a different char level than #3 for all the barrels. But there is specific mention on this site that there is a difference for each whiskey in how long the wood planks are dried and aged. Woodford Reserve is stated to be nine months but nothing about Jack. This site also talks about the first step "toasting" and that the amount of time it is done is a trade secret.

    http://www.drinkspirits.com/whiskey/...barrel-making/

    As always an interesting thread started by Gary that once again highlights all the complexities, nuances and mysteries of each different whiskey even the often maligned Jack Daniels. Of all the factors discussed, Todd's own experience with the white dog and flavors the charred sugar maple imparts to it still seem the most significant in that woody flavor, to my mind.
    Thad

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  8. #18
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    Re: Why is Jack Daniel Woody?

    That toasting may be part of it, e.g. if the process is prolonged for Jack Daniels beyond what they do for the bourbons, that could be a factor.

    Steve, by woody I mean a slightly smoky taste of wood fibre, not the aromatics I'd associate with maple syrup, say, although that seems part of the palate as well (plus yellow fruit flavors as a by-product of yeast fermentation IMO).

    It's like a fresh forest scent where you can sense some smoke in the air from a wood fire somewhere. (Sometimes some earth is wrapped up in it: I find this more with regular Jack than with SB. I agree with Joe too some Jack has very little if any banana, even Black Label sometimes, but generally it does I think).

    I don't get that same taste in any bourbon, but then Dickel - which has some of the maple sweetness - doesn't really have it either. My best guess, which is all that it can be, is that some aspect of the barrel treatment is the reason.

    The only other factor I can think of (not mentioned) is the microclimate around Lynchburg. Is all Jack Daniels aged there or is some aged in barrelhouses in different parts of the State?

    Gary

    P.S. It has been a while since I've had Green Label Jack but generally it seemed younger than Black Label, or less complex anyway. To my best recollection, the woody note I get in Jack is lesser there: this may point to an effect imparted by the barrel the longer it is stored and/or is "active" through placement high in the ricks.
    Last edited by Gillman; 08-27-2012 at 09:06.

  9. #19
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    Re: Why is Jack Daniel Woody?

    Just another point to pick up on Thad's last comment about Todd's post: is the maple charcoal completely carbonized in the firing of the logs? If not, i.e., if white or darkened wood survives and it isn't all carbon, that would go a long way to arguing that the charcoal imparts a certain wood taste. (With Dickel, the method of making the charcoal or subjecting it to the whiskey, not to mention considerations of the volume of white dog exposed to the charcoal as mentioned by Todd, would presumably explain why the effect is different for that whiskey).

    Gary

  10. #20
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    Re: Why is Jack Daniel Woody?

    But there is specific mention on this site that there is a difference for each whiskey in how long the wood planks are dried and aged. Woodford Reserve is stated to be nine months but nothing about Jack.
    Reference the Woodford Seasoned Oak that seems to have a lot of extra wood flavor. Along with all the variables mentioned, the length of time the wood used for the barrel is seasoned will play a part.

 

 

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