Last year’s Jack Daniel’s Heritage Barrel bottling was clearly enough of a hit to merit a reprise. To wit, it’s Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Heritage Barrel 2019, which is made with the same concept in mind.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel “Heritage Barrel” will return to shelves for a limited run this fall. Fewer than 200 barrels, aged in barrels crafted in the classic style used by Jack Daniel himself in the company’s earliest days, have been hand-picked by Master Distiller Jeff Arnett and his team of whiskey makers for this special release. Last year’s edition was named one of the top three whiskeys of 2018 by Whisky Advocate.
With an extra year aged at the highest altitude of the Jack Daniel Distillery’s warmest barrelhouse, this year’s iteration of Heritage Barrel will have a greater depth of color and character for fans of the original run to enjoy. The rich vanilla, oak spice and sweet caramel flavors are derived from a unique barrel toasting you won’t find in any other Single Barrel expression. Each heritage barrel is slowly heated to achieve a deeper, richer toasted layer before being charred, evoking the barrels of the distillery’s earliest coopers.
“The second release of Heritage Barrel will be everything that the first issue was, and then some,” said Arnett. “As the angels share grows, each drop becomes more precious and this whiskey is guaranteed to not disappoint.”
Jack Daniel’s is the only major whiskey company in the world to make its own barrels, crafted from American white oak and hand raised by our expert coopers. The unique barrels crafted to mature “Heritage Barrel” take a trip back in time to Jack’s humble beginnings and celebrate the vital maturation process that takes Tennessee whiskey from the distillery, to the bottle.
So, the implication here is that if you take last year’s Heritage Barrel and add another year of age to it, you’ve got Heritage Barrel 2019. How’s that panning out? Here we go:
Heritage Barrel 2019 offers an interesting spin on the JD formula, and when placed side by side against the 2018 Heritage Barrel there are some clear differences. It starts on the nose, where there’s definitely more of a wood influence, as one would expect from the extra year of aging. Savory and fat with black pepper and beef jerky, it’s got more of a frontier style than we usually see from JD. Underneath, notes of allspice, cloves, and some cherry add a bit of nuance.
On the palate, the whiskey is again initially quite savory, though notes of dark chocolate, cherry, and ample spice percolate up quickly. Butterscotch is a clear element on the palate, as well. That meaty edge is largely absent in the 2018 version, which is much more fruit-forward. The two whiskeys do however feature a somewhat similar finish, with notes of pepper, ginger, and a slightly smoky edge.
All told, I prefer the liveliness of the 2018 over the more brooding character of the 2019 edition, but fans of Jack will find this a worthwhile experience (that’s not too expensive, as well).
B+ / $65 / jackdaniels.com