I have not had any regular Jack Daniel's whiskey in a long, long time. I drink JD Single Barrel quite often and find it to be excellent whiskey. Gary Gillman has praised JD regular several times recently, so when I came across this bottling, I decided to give it a go. It cost $26, which is $8 more than the regular JD Old No 7. This special bottling is likewise Old No 7, but it was released at 90 proof instead of the normal 80 proof. I got a 100 ml bottle of the 80 Old No 7 as a control sample.
Both these Old No 7's have less smokey char than I remember and lack what in the past I perceived as an off taste (some have called it a banana taste). In both I pick up a whiff of the maple and of leather, along with some rye and some lemon peal.
Like the JDSB, both these whiskies are on the soft side, with an almost delicate sweetness and a mild but distinct spicy character. There are slight hints of the char and of the oak, but no tannins to speak of. The sweetness is both from corn and just a hint of caramel/maple and barely detectable vanilla and citrus.
Both whiskies are excellent and like Gary Gillman, I find them to be much better than I did in the past. Find a bottle of this special release if you can and see what you think.
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