Jack Daniels Today

Talk about Tennessee, American and Rye Whiskey here.

Moderators: Brewer, brendaj

Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby gillmang » Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:20 pm

Recently on a trip to Nashville, I tasted (regular) Jack Daniels in a few bars or restaurants. The whiskey struck me as excellent: good body, nice flavour, but lacking the banana-like edge Jack has had these last 10 years and more. I thought it might be the location, i.e., I was on vacation and perhaps suggestible and malleable, Jack being the local drink and all that.

Well, I just bought a bottle in Toronto and it tastes the same as those in Nashville. No banana pudding. Since the banana taste was one I never warmed to, I am happy with the change, if it is a change.

Did B-F read comments on boards like this going back 5-7 years and start to take this flavor out of Jack? I don't know. Could it be just an effect of recent batches? Maybe. Since Jack is about 5 years old or so, the change would have to have been made that long ago for it to be noticed like this. Unless the result is achieved by mingling. But if so, where do the "banana barrels" go? Maybe the green label or Gentleman Jack?

Whatever the explanation I like this current Jack. It reminds me of the one from the 1970's save for the proof and tastes like a mild-ish, good quality bourbon. I would challenge anyone to pick this out as Tennessee whiskey in a blind tasting.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2140
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby independant » Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:35 pm

I have not had the standard JD in about five years and that is saying something seeing as I am only 26. There was always something about it that rubbed me wrong. I have bottles of GJ which is ok and JDSB which is very good but after reading that I may have to pick up another bottle.
User avatar
independant
Registered User
 
Posts: 332
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:45 am
Location: Lynchburg Va

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby gillmang » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:37 am

Jeff, in my experience, Jack Daniels, in all iterations, had a notable banana estery-like taste. This was particularly evident in Gentleman Jack although it seemed light and sweeter due to its second filtration in stacked maple charcoal. SB always had some of the estery taste but is a richer Jack Daniels which helped to balance it, plus recent bottlings seemed to me often less estery than before. The current Old No. 7 seems now, judging by this recent production as tasted in Nashville and where I live, "cleaner" than before and in particular I can't detect much if any of that banana-like taste. The drink is on the light side to be sure, due in part to its proof, but also the famous initial filtration probably. I think it is a better whiskey than in years past. It tastes to me like a cross between say Maker's Mark and VOB, or perhaps somewhat like Virginia Gentleman (Fox). It is an excellent product to take neat, whereas before I would not have consumed regular Jack this way (with cola it was okay). Now it is good either way. I think it has gone back to what I recall from the 1970's.

All bourbons and I include Jack broadly in that description change somewhat over time IMO, whether intentionally or as a result of cumulative small changes (agricultural, technological, etc.). Old No. 7 is quite excellent and it will be a standard in my bar from now on. I wouldn't have said that a few years back.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2140
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:23 am

Gary,
After doing the Woodford Bourbon Academy with Chris Morris for several years now, I can tell you the "banana" flavor comes from the yeast and is in the white dog. I will say that Gentleman Jack is strongest in the flavor and I think that there is probably something that is stripped out of the whiskey when filtered the second time, that allows the banana to come through, rather than something that increases the banana flavor in the charcoal.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4079
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby gillmang » Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:28 am

Mike, very good points. However, regular Jack Daniels also showed this flavor strongly in the last 20 years. These current samples do not, and I am wondering if something was done to ensure this. If so, it is a good move in my view, because that strong banana note, while mixing well with cola, was not - again in my opinion - a taste that lent itself to neat sipping. The effect was not as noticeable in the single barrel because other things were happening as it were (more sweetness, more alcohol, more wood extract), but still, I personally don't think JD can be a great whiskey and retain that top-note.

I am very glad with this current palate of Old No. 7. I don't much care about Gentleman Jack (because I don't see the point of filtering it again after dumping) but if the single barrel will follow suit it will propel that version to ever higher quality IMO.

I have a clear recollection of drinking Jack Daniels in the 1970's and I do not recall the banana-like notes (or if they were there, they more more subdued, more a light accent than a top-note). I do recall smoky and earthy notes sometimes - mentioned by Michael Jackson in his 1987 World Guide to Whiskey - but not a strong estery taste. So this current palate seems to me perfectly in tune with how it was 30 years ago.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2140
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:46 pm

Gary,
I have had the white dog three times this year at the academy and the banana was still there as strong as ever. The only thing I can think of is the lowering of the proof has changed the flavor that you detect. They have to filter the product more at the lower proof and that could be taking out the banana flavor.

For the record, the Old No. 7 tasted at the academies had plenty of that banana flavor in it, but they could have been using older bottles of 86 proof. I never noticed the proof on the bottle and I am sure Chris uses bottles from their supply room and I don't know when the last time they bought new whiskey for the academy.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4079
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby gillmang » Sat Jul 11, 2009 7:57 am

Mike, buy some off the shelves in Louisville and give me your honest opinion.

Perhaps it has to do with how the batches are put together for Old No. 7.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2140
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby bourbonv » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:49 pm

Gary,
I don't know if I will invest in a whole bottle, but I will try a drink the next time I am in the Bourbon's Bistro or Jockey Silks. I will report back then.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4079
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby gillmang » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:03 am

Okay good idea, I am sure their's would be from current production.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2140
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby BostonEnthusiast » Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:58 pm

I took the Jack tour last month and thought there was still some banana ester in the whiff we took from under the lid of the charcoal vat (but that could have been psychosomatic!)

I have a 90-proof faux tax strip bottle from the 80s in my cabinet... I'll go back to it this week and report on the "historical" flavor profile.
Kevin

There's bourbon on the breath of the singer you love so much
User avatar
BostonEnthusiast
Registered User
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:11 pm
Location: North Shore Boston, MA

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby gillmang » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:50 pm

I am going to do a blind tasting of regular Jack Daniels and some bourbons with a group of friends to see if they can pick out the JD. 4 years ago we did a tasting like this and people picked up the JD no trouble. I believe they will not be able to do it this time, but we will see. Anyway I like this current Old No. 7, excellent stuff!

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2140
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby Mike » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:29 pm

I bought a small bottle of regular JD today to see if I agreed with you, Gary.

Around a year or so ago, I found the JD Single Barrel to be an improved whiskey............and absent that off flavor that I had found to be objectionable in the past. Now, I find the same improvement in the regular 80 proof JD............no off notes, no banana. In fact, I get some very nice maple notes this time that seem in the past to be barely discernible. This came as a surprise to me as it did to you.

It is hard for me to believe that my palate has changed that much, but I guess that is certainly possible!

I must add that, like other 80 proof American whiskies, I must only drink it or drink it only with other 80 proofers........against a 90 or 100+ proof whiskey it, in my opinion, lacks character and depth.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
Mike
Registered User
 
Posts: 2106
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:36 pm
Location: Conyers, GA

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby gillmang » Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:23 pm

Thanks for this Mike and I concur 100%, down to the mapley notes you note that pleasingly seem in evidence (although not in a way that one can "place" them I think).

I am going to wait a bit and then buy some JD SB (i.e., bottled as recently possible). If the SB has the profile of the Old No. 7 - and I agree again that in the last year SB is much improved - it will respond to the point you have made about proof. But even if it doesn't, I will be happy with this current Old No. 7 provided it stays like this.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2140
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby BostonEnthusiast » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:36 pm

Tasted my 80s 90-proof JD black label against a 50ml mini from a flight last month:

The first thing I can say is that the older version did not have the banana notes -- if anything, there are more ketones than esters (there's more burn in the nose than warranted by 90 proof) -- and also some kind of "Christmas spice", pepper or coriander? Enjoyable, but very different than today's Jack.

The new bottle was lighter in color, thinner in mouthfeel and less robust on the tongue. Don't know how long ago it would've been produced (I know they do minis in batches) but I detect some banana -- more peel than pudding.

(Just because it caught my eye on the next shelf, third in the flight was an older bottle of MM gold wax 101 proof. No fruit whatsoever in the nose nor on the tongue! Only the proof and the char saved it from being more one-dimensional than the current JD, but one ice cube opened up some caramel...)
Kevin

There's bourbon on the breath of the singer you love so much
User avatar
BostonEnthusiast
Registered User
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:11 pm
Location: North Shore Boston, MA

Re: Jack Daniels Today

Unread postby BostonEnthusiast » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:37 pm

(And Mike, I still strain to find the maple in any JD expression, though it presents nicely in Dickel No. 12!)
Kevin

There's bourbon on the breath of the singer you love so much
User avatar
BostonEnthusiast
Registered User
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:11 pm
Location: North Shore Boston, MA

Next

Return to Non-Bourbon Whiskey

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests