Review: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye

Review: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye

JD Single Barrel Rye BottleIt’s no secret that Jack Daniel’s has been working on its rye for the better half of the decade. The company has been putting out works in progress since the beginning. “Unaged Rye” came in 2012; a brash “Rested Rye” hit in 2014. Now, in 2016, the finished product is finally here.

My math pegs this about 3 1/2 years old. The mash hasn’t changed — 70 percent rye, 18 percent corn and 12 percent malted barley — and the rye undergoes the same charcoal filtration as all expressions of JD (and other Tennessee-based whiskies). It is worth noting that this final release has a significantly higher abv than either of the preview bottlings — and it is, curiously, a single barrel product.

On the nose, the new rye offers nutty, roasted grains at first, backed up with sweet caramel, some chocolate, menthol, and a little red pepper. Over time, a bit of that characteristic JD charcoal emerges. The big baking spice aromas of a typical rye aren’t immediately evident, but the nose isn’t atypical, at least, of a younger, rye-heavy bourbon.

The palate paints a somewhat different picture, offering a nutty character at first, fading into more grain with a fairly heavy toast. Dark caramel, licorice, some barrel char — elements of a fairly young but relatively indistinct whiskey — are all strong on the somewhat racy body. But the whiskey, at this age, remains a bit shapeless, offering a variety of muddled, barrel-driven flavor components but little to distinguish it from a young bourbon or blended whiskey.

That said, I found the spirit enjoyable and worth a look, though it adds little to the growing universe of rye. It’s clearly a young product — and probably still quite a bit ahead of its time — that will fare best as a mixer in a more intense cocktail.

Fans of Old No. 7 will wonder what the fuss is about.

94 proof.


Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Rye




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Dave Zanko on June 21, 2016 at 9:34 am

    “My math pegs this at about 3 1/2 years old.” Being that it has no age statement, that means it’s a minimum 4 years, as anything less needs an age statement. Mind you, it’s probably not more than a day over four years, but that’s probably what it is.

  2. MoreTears on June 21, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    @Dave Zanko — Wrong. They DON’T need to put an age statement on it if it is less than four years old. You are thinking of a rule that applies only to American whiskey labeled as “straight.”

  3. Christopher Null on June 21, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    The rules are quite complex and have changed of late: — discuss amongst yourselves.

  4. Bernardo on November 1, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    I found this to be a bit better than what the review said, maybe they are releasing some that has a bit more age to it. Usually I’ll only spend this much on a Scotch but the release of the new standard Jack Daniels Rye had me interested in this one. I get a nice complexity with some black tea and brown sugar on the finish. B+ at least

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