Chuck - you are da man The Chuck Cowdery Blog
(edit: kant spel for crap)
Chuck - you are da man The Chuck Cowdery Blog
(edit: kant spel for crap)
Last edited by tanstaafl2; 01-17-2013 at 16:19.
Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
Ne Illegitimi Carborundum
I'm happy to give you one and I apologize for not asking. I was in a gloating haze.
you can gloat all you want. helps to be crochtety sometimes.
Some random thoughts:
I grabbed a bottle up in TN back in December, and yes, as previously posted, with photographic proof, the label has been changed. I believe Mr. Cowdery may be more correct in gloating that he "made the TTB allow JD to change the label" than "made JD change the label." One would have difficulty imagining the folks up in Lynchburg were very happy about labeling anything "grain neutral," especially when flavor-wise it is far from that, and that they had to have been happier being allowed to go with the current label...even if it possibly meant a massive re-printing bill (at $50 per bottle they can afford it LOL). Regardless, I am happy the change was made and kudos to Mr. Cowdery for whatever role he played in that happening!
While no one has released any hard numbers, statements of intent, etc., at least as far as I know, I suspect at least from the language on the label this is intended to be a relatively limited release (hype? income stream while most of the rye is aging? both? none of the above?) and won't be around forever, or perhaps even much longer. In that regard, the $50 price tag is *somewhat* justified. On its own merits, is this a $50 bottle of booze? No. Does the price tag come closer to being justified when you know this might be a narrow window to obtain a sample of this product at this stage in its production life, one that will close before long? Perhaps. Could JD bottle horse piss with their name on it and sell some? Yes...but cartainly not in the quantity they move this and their other higher-priced and limited bottlings. The law of diminishing returns is definitely at work, though.
Among other things I am a fan of unaged, predominantly corn-based whiskeys (that's a polite way of saying moonshine). Yes, I enjoy drinking a well-crafted 'shine, an unfortunately very rare event (and those of you who have proclaimed with surprise how much you've enjoyed Mellow Corn or Dixie Dew are a lot closer to sharing that trait with me than you might like to think). That leads me to two points...first, what makes an enjoyable unaged whiskey is not necessarily the same thing that will lead to an enjoyable aged product. For example BT makes many fine bourbons but their White Dog...while perhaps another example of an interesting window into the process, is not something I'd care to experience ever again. Second, if you feel a need to look at it through this particular lens, JD's unaged white rye is one of the better, perhaps one of the best, *commercial* white whiskeys/white dogs/moonshines I've tasted.
"Turpentine," "kerosene," and "raw tequila" are some common terms you'll hear to describe harsher unaged corn/rye whiskeys. That component is there to a lesser degree in the JD white rye, but it is obvious both that (a) it has been charcoal filtered and a great deal of that flavor component (I'm guessing due to the oils that get stripped out) is gone, but not all, and (b) they will be relying on barrel time to get the rest out.
Aside from the thought that it is a good commercial white whiskey, my two most immediate thoughts on tasting it were that it will likely mellow into a very enjoyable if sweet and mild rye whiskey with aging, and that it is *WAY* too weak at 80 proof. It should have been released at 100 proof or more if the intent were to make something enjoyable on its own merits. As it is, I suspect one intent (aside making money) in releasing this stuff is to offer a comparison to the final product once available, which will almost certainly be offered at 80 proof...unfortunately.
Just because many of us, even those who live in "the right parts of the country," don't know anyone who makes 'shine, or don't have a source, or whatever, does not mean it isn't happening...a lot...still in this day and age. One of the cardinal rules, however, is not to let anyone that you don't trust with your life know you're doing it; it is still a felony with some pretty stiff penalties so letting word get out is doing exactly that...trusting your life, livelihood, and freedom to all who know.
Finally, if I may, a little constructive criticism for some of the more vocal of this site's membership: I'm glad to see some folks here are so open minded (insert rolling eyes smilie here). But then I consider myself more a fan and student of American whiskey than a bourbon connoisseur, so I guess my outlook on these matters is a little different than many of you. Regardless, I appreciate the fantastic source of information this site and its membership offer, what I don't appreciate is the self-righteous scorn heaped on any product that isn't the latest-big-thing-23-year-old-hard-to-find bourbon...it just makes folks look like an ass.
It is limited but they plan to keep doing it, so there will probably be more. After all, this is something they can make to demand. The only limitation will be how frequently they want to stop everything down to run a batch of rye. Even the producers who already have an established straight rye business only make rye maybe four or five days a year, a couple in the spring and a couple in the fall. Presumably, Daniel's will run another batch of the rye in the next couple of months, and will adjust according to how well this initial release does. If there's a lot of demand for the unaged product, at $50, you may see more of it and a lower price.
I think they did it for a few reasons. (1) To test the 'white whiskey' waters, (2) To start to build interest in the Jack Daniel's Straight Rye that's coming in a few years, (3) to determine if Jack loyalists want or will accept a Jack Daniel's Straight Rye, and (4) to see if people really will pay $50 for an unaged, 80 proof spirit.
They're all important, but I direct your attention to number 3. Remember Jack Daniel's 1866 Amber Lager? People didn't want it. Remember Black Jack Hard Cola? Ditto. Not everything Jack Daniel's touches turns to gold. Better to find out now how Jack's fans feel about a straight rye, than after you've laid down four or five years worth of production. Sure, they could have just announced it, but putting an actual product on the market generates a lot more awareness.
As for self-righteous scorn, there's plenty of that heaped on the latest-big-thing-23-year-old-hard-to-find bourbon too. Some people here specialize in self-righteous scorn. Since you are new here, fivedime, I direct your attention to the "Ignore" list, which spares you from seeing any post by the persons you place on that list. I use it sparingly, but it has done wonders for my blood pressure.
Last edited by cowdery; 01-27-2013 at 22:06.
Just from a technical standpoint, I want to say that there is nothing wrong with turpentine and kerosene flavours and in fact bourbon would not be what it is without them. What occurs is, these flavours get transformed with barrel aging into the unique and excellent drink bourbon is - you need those oils and acids to turn into fragrant esters and other compounds. Plus, some of them are not transformed and lend character to the final product.
If you start with too light a spirit, the end result may be too bland. I like Jack Daniels Black Label and SB, and indeed they have improved in recent years (the Green Label tastes more like Black Label used to, if I can put it that way). Still, Jack Daniels is noticeably lighter in palate, less complex, than most bourbon, because it undergoes that charcoal treatment before barreling. That is a good thing for white dog, which generally is not to my taste but I make good use of it in blending, but as was mentioned below, it may make for a light straight rye, maybe too light especially at 80 proof if that will be the bottling proof. We will have to see.
P.S. Dickel too, while having its own profile, is lighter and less complex than bourbon, IMO.
Saw this in my area today. $48.70 a 750. If it were 90 proof maybe, 100 proof probably, 80 proof, never!
The fact that they went to the trouble to get it listed in Ohio suggests to me that they intend this to be an ongoing product, not a one-off.