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Unread postby Strayed » Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:19 am

I think that the REAL Jack Daniel's (pre-Pro) was probably much more like the brand Lem Motlow put out as his own. In a world of non- or "not very"-aged whiskey, the Lincoln process makes a big improvement in drinkability, and Lem Motlow (brand) added about three months of barrel aging to that. Other brands of that era also offered "quarter-whiskey", meaning three months (a quarter of a year).

The Jack Daniel's, and also the George Dickel, we are familiar with is really bourbon, run through the Lincoln process, and aged the requisite (only for bourbon) four years or more in new oak barrels. I don't believe it was ever like today's single barrel. There was once a special bottling, available only at the distillery, called Barrelhouse #1, which was the precursor to Single Barrel. Made pretty much the same way (i.e., from barrels stuck up in the "rooster's perch" on the top floor of the warehouse), it was an answer to the (perhaps over-)aged whiskeys that were all the rage when it was introduced. I don't think they've ever realized just how good a whiskey it really is.
=JOHN= (the "Jaye" part of "L & J dot com")
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Unread postby gillmang » Wed Jun 22, 2005 7:22 am

Interesting thoughts, thanks. I do believe though Jack Daniel's was red-colored in the late 1800's since its "beautiful red color" is mentioned in some late 1800's literature (quoted in a number of books discussing Jack). It is possible that the post-Repeal Jack, until relatively recently, was more yellow than red and this may have been a hang-over from the re-start-up of production in 30's when they needed to get whiskey into the market and weren't too particular about age. Jack today is darker than ever though because when the proof dropped to 80 older Jack was mingled with the regular batch to ensure the color did not look dilute in relation to the 86 proof Jack (and maybe that was done when the 90 proof Jack became 86, so one can see how in recent decades the product became darker). I guess one question is whether Jack used new charred barrels in the 1800's. I assume it did because of that "beautiful red color" and Mike has said the original Cascade whiskey also was that hue. But not all Tennessee whiskey surely was like that, most was probably fairly young and sold confidently because the sugar maple leaching took out the "hog tracks". Where the story gets confusing in my view is to suss out why Jack Daniel's today tastes very robust and has a relatively high congener content. This seems at odds with the leaching process and at least 4 years in new charred wood, one would think after that the whiskey would come out like milk. I think this must be put down to the particular nature of the Jack Daniel mash and its yeast. In contrast George Dickel (all versions) is a much milder whiskey although made in a similar way. The factors of yeast, distilling plant and aging environment must be the factors that separate the two in flavour. But anyway my original point was that Pride of Tennessee and also Lem Motlow must be a survival of the kind of whiskey that was legion in Tennessee in the mid-1800's. That was the Chevvy and Jack's whiskey and Cascade's were the Caddy, that's what I think.


P.S. Interesting that of all the whiskeys brought to Gazebo no one as far as I know has brought a historic (even 1950's-1960's) Jack Daniel's. This would be interesting to try because the current flavour may be different to what it was at different periods in the past.
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