Review: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Special Release 2021 – Coy Hill High Proof

Review: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Special Release 2021 – Coy Hill High Proof

Jack Daniel’s has been putting out special release whiskeys for a few years now, and its 2021 release is a doozy: Coy Hill High Proof, aged on the top ricks of its oldest barrel houses, which are located on Coy Hill, the highest hill on the Jack Daniel Distillery property in Lynchburg, Tennessee. These barrels were actually aged in the “buzzard’s roost” of rickhouses #8 and #13 — essentially the attic, right up against the roof. (In other words: Where it’s extremely hot.)

About 200 barrels have been aging there since August 2012, making this a 9 year old whiskey. Each bottle is drawn from a single barrel and bottled uncut, at full strength; proofs range pretty widely, from 137.4 to a whopping 148.3 — the highest proof whiskey ever released by JD and one of the highest proof straight whiskeys ever released by anyone in the U.S. (If you’ve seen anything higher, please advise in the comments.) JD has another 35 barrels that are even higher in proof, approaching 160, which master distiller Chris Fletcher says he’s still trying to figure out what to do with. (By the way, JD notes: “Due to the high barrel strength, the bottle should remain upright at all times unless being poured into a glass for drinking in a responsible manner.”)

The liquid, mind you, is the same classic Old No. 7 recipe of 80% corn, 12% malted barley and 8% rye, charcoal mellowed before it is barreled. My sample is drawn from the highest proof — 148.3* — though a barrel number is not indicated on the bottle. Roughly 27,000 bottles have been produced.

Making sure to extinguish any nearby flames, let’s give it a try.

First, the color is as dark as I’ve ever seen in a bourbon: mahogany-hued coffee. The nose is as hot as you’d expect, but it’s surprisingly approachable: richly nutty, peppery, and showing a big pop of maraschino cherry. The palate surprisingly doesn’t destroy the tongue, offering an immediate note of caramel corn, coffee with cream, and dark chocolate. Plenty of fruit is here, and it’s brooding: macerated maraska cherries and raisins, all laced with vanilla. The finish sees some lingering heat — cinnamon and red pepper — and a belly-warming coziness.

Immersive and intense, I went through a full glass before realizing I hadn’t even tried it with water. While it’s certainly more universally approachable this way, watering down the Coy Hill release ends up giving you something akin to Coy Hill Lite: All the flavors are still there, just not nearly as powerful and pungent, fading just a bit into the background. If you do add water to this whiskey, and I won’t judge you for doing so, do it one eyedrop at a time.

Fabulous stuff; it’s one of the best releases from JD since at least the Sinatra Century bottling. If you can find it anywhere close to the MSRP, grab it immediately.

148.3 proof as reviewed.

A / $70 /

* My sample also indicates 73.65% abv, which is actually 147.3 proof; JD says it’s probably 148.3 proof and that the abv is an error — but that there is a bottle at 147.3 proof out there, so…

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Special Release 2021 - Coy Hill High Proof





  1. Tyler H Fox on November 5, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Christopher: does this mean- each bottle is drawn from a single barrel- mean that, like the JD single barrel uncut (one of which I bought in 2020) that whatever bottle i get may be different from the one that you got, with different proof, tasting notes, etc.?

    • Christopher Null on November 5, 2021 at 9:52 am

      Yes, each bottle will be different, they are single barrel releases, not batched — though Fletcher says they were going for a reasonably consistent taste profile across the release.

  2. Tyler H Fox on November 8, 2021 at 10:41 am

    sounds great! love to purchase on in boston and/or new hampshire area asap! any ideas?

    thanks. tyler

    • Christopher Null on November 9, 2021 at 9:26 am

      Per JD: “The Coy Hill is available at local retailers in a limited number of bottles across the United States.” Sorry….

  3. Roxy on November 12, 2021 at 10:17 am

    How can I get a couple bottles?

  4. Pavel on November 26, 2021 at 2:19 am

    Hi, which shop in EU selling this bottles please?

  5. David Vota on December 18, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    $70. Yeh right.

  6. Paul Winebrenner on December 23, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    Mr. Null, Just read an article stating that Kings County Distillery (Brooklyn, NY) has bottled a bourbon at 150.8 proof [review was of barrel #1392 for reference]. Be well. thank you for your insights and reviews.

    • Christopher Null on December 23, 2021 at 3:03 pm

      Yeah, I’ve heard of this one… the only higher I’ve uncovered to date.

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