Jack Daniel’s has been making headlines for its latest bottling, the first whiskey with a 10 year old age statement in more than 100 years. (You can see an old bottling of JD at 10 years old in the photo above.) Most JD carries no age statement at all, of course, so it’s unusual to see something with an age statement of any kind from the distillery. The plan is for this to be an annual, limited edition release, dropping into the market each fall.
A little backstory, and some more detail about the product:
Master Distiller Chris Fletcher evolved the distillery’s previous aged methods by maturing Jack Daniel’s iconic Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey in oak barrels that were relocated throughout the barrelhouse to extend the aging process over the past ten years. The result is a more complex, hand-crafted whiskey with a rare flavor profile. Bottled at 97 proof—a first for the Jack Daniel Distillery—Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey 10-Year-Old features notes of dry fig and raisin laced with oak on the nose, warm butterscotch alongside soft fruit and smoke on the palate, and an incredibly long finish with sweet tobacco and spice.
We tasted a sample of the new JD 10 with Fletcher and Assistant Distiller Lexie Phillips over a Zoom media event. Thoughts on how the whiskey acquits itself follow.
Fans of Old No. 7 will find a lot of familiar notes here to get things going. It’s got the same mashbill — 80% corn, 12% barley, 8% rye — and undergoes the Lincoln County charcoal mellowing process before hitting the barrel. There’s more wood on the nose, which is to be expected, tempering some of the whiskey’s classic popcorn and peanut character, and mellowing Old No. 7’s greener elements. The bones of Old No. 7 are still there, however, alongside a lot of fruit that emerges from the glass — applesauce, namely, studded with cloves. While initially hot, a little air time is instructive in helping to soften the whiskey and allowing its charms to materialize more fully. Fresh caramel and apple slices, baking spice, and a hint of red wine all lead to a finish that brings us full circle, showing some light peanut and cereal notes plus ample brown butter, leaving a lick of dessert-like sweetness lingering on the palate.
Jack Daniel’s 10 Years Old is certainly a big step up from the standard bottling, taking the best of JD and elevating it with some extra barrel time and (importantly) a significantly higher abv. If you’re not already a fan of JD to some degree you probably needn’t apply, but those who, say, appreciate the Single Barrel bottlings will find this a worthy addition to the catalog.