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  1. #1
    Guru
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    Sep 2004
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    Jackson, MS
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    11,535

    An Old Friend came to visit

    After the conclusion of a long, tiring several days rounds of negotiations a group of lawyers were sitting in my office after hours and needed to unwind so I offered drinks. Whatcha got I was asked, oh, just about anything you want, we have a fairly complete bar. Ok, I'll have some Jack Daniels. Don't have any I said, but I do have some very good Bourbons to choose from.

    She looked at me and in a level voice said, "Most people think of Jack Daniels as whisky, but to me he's an old friend".

    Poured her a Van Winkle expression which she liked but her comment stayed with me. To the Country at large What more quintessential expression of Southern hospitality is there than a glass of Jack Daniels.

    So we had some dinner guests last night who like Jack for a pre dinner cocktail and I got some for them. Finals were over yesterday, the kids are scattered, I have a day or two of solitude so I thought I would sit down and get reacquainted with Jack in the geeky way understood here. This is not a review, just some observations.

    This is a more robust whisky than one would think given the initial heavy charcoal filtering. Due in part I believe to Daniels using several yeast strands to bring out more esters (I'm probably using the incorrect technical term, just saying moreish something) but it has a thickish body with multiple slow legs, The initial aroma is caramel sweet which surprised me, thought I'd get the oak and charcoal influence first, but also got the sweetness on entry and mid palate before the old familiar kicked in. Not what it once was but still recognizable to those who know it, like an aging star athlete who past middle age can still show flashes of prowess on the tennis court.

    Clean, straight forward, well made stuff that should stand up well to mixers which is how I expect most folks take it. There's been some posting around here about Jack recently, so I'm glad I had the opportunity for a revisit though I won't be buying the black label for my own use, the green perhaps but that would be a small bottle just to see if rumors of additional copper influence impact my taste buds enough to notice a difference.

    Like my Father before me, I prefer Old Grand Dad.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
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    9,043

    Re: An Old Friend came to visit

    Good notes. I always keep some Jack around. It is good that Brown-Forman saw the wisdom finally of reintroducing 86 and 90 proof versions via various limited or special editions, however the regular Black Label still offers a good example of what Jack is. (I too will seek the Green Label to see if anything different can be detected).

    As is my wont, I blend my own Jack, I keep at it until I get the required full rich creamy taste - estery is good but I like the banana shake thing kept at a minimum. Cherry and coconut are fine. I use all the expressions and currently I have one with 80, 86 and Silver Select. My next additions are Single Barrel and Gentleman Jack. Ultimately possibly Green Label.

    I had the chance to taste some JD from 30 years ago a couple of years back and it was recognizable to the current one as The Squire says but much better I thought. It actually was more restrained in flavour: all the same elements but less which suits the drink I think. I wonder what has changed. I know B-F has some way of toasting and then charring the barrel and I'd doubt this was done 30 years ago and more. I think it is intended to bring out the sweetness but the drink doesn't need extra sweetness IMO.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 12-14-2013 at 05:15.

  3. #3
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Northern CA
    Posts
    1,041

    Re: An Old Friend came to visit

    Hahaha. Gentlemen Jack is definite my good old friend as well. That was my start of whiskey drinking. Back then it was Gentlemen Jack and coke back when I was young.

    Funny, this past Monday, at a restaurant I had many Gentlemen Jack with some friends and it was good - with the memories and connections tied to it.

    Cheers,
    Hugh

  4. #4
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Harrisburg, Oregon
    Posts
    404

    Re: An Old Friend came to visit

    You know my introduction to whiskey was really through Jack Daniel's, I remember my dad having a nice pour over ice after work and smelling it on his breath. I really need to sit down and contemplate it, I'm not sure I've ever had a neat pour of it.

    Should I just start with the regular black label or one of the more limited expressions?

  5. #5
    Disciple
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    NWGA
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    1,646

    Re: An Old Friend came to visit

    Never drank a lot of Jack because it's the only whiskey my said she couldn't stand on my breath.

  6. #6
    Guru
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    Sep 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MS
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    11,535

    Re: An Old Friend came to visit

    Quote Originally Posted by suntour View Post
    Should I just start with the regular black label or one of the more limited expressions?
    The best way to drink Jack is out of a half pint bottle followed by a slug of coke at a football game.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Greenwood, IN
    Posts
    668

    Re: An Old Friend came to visit

    The last time I had regular Jack was a little bottle on an airplane. I was flying on Thanksgiving day. The airline offered everybody a free drink. The only time I've had Gentleman Jack was at a wedding. It was the best American whiskey they had. There was no bourbon around. In both cases, I was happy to choose the Jack over light beer, table wine, or cheap Scotch.

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    9,043

    Re: An Old Friend came to visit

    Jack and light beer go very well together! (Must be the corn connection).

    Tasting now my current JD vatting: 2 Black Labels, 1 86 proof, 1 Silver Select.

    Yellow fruit/maple/earthy - the typical JD complex of flavours. Some white dog in there too, the "rooty" notes of Chuck noted in his book are apparent but I like that, that is its whiskey DNA coming through, not wiped out by the charcoal filtration or barrel wood.

    Very distinctive taste is Jack, quite different to Kentucky Bourbon IMO. Perhaps less full-bodied but more flavourful, sort of a Dr. Pepper vs. Coke and Pepsi.

    Gary

  9. #9

    Re: An Old Friend came to visit

    A lot of folks on this board like to dis Jack, but that might be because it is very popular with the masses. And true, most of it's popularity is label/brand recognition over quality. Most of the folks that say "jack is Best" have never had anything better. But, with that said, Jack is a solid, respectable, decent sip. I was reminded of that when making some pecan pies that called for Jack. Recipe said Jack so I put Jack in it. Of course I had to sip while pouring it in, and enjoyed the sip, and the next one, and the next one...

  10. #10
    Disciple
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    MOLINE,IL
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    1,738

    Re: An Old Friend came to visit

    Vosgar and I went to a PGA tour event this summer and we were in a hospitality suite with the usual suspects and settled on JD for our pour of choice for that given day.I have to agree it is a solid pour and is beat up quite a bit,but it is consistent and readily available and sells like hell so they must be doing something right.
    "To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human."
    Larry Wachowski

 

 

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