Friday, February 19, 2021

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Special Release Barrel Proof Tennessee Rye Whiskey

- $70
- 132 Proof
- Barrel No. 20-06945
- Tennessee

It's been a while since I've been truly excited for a new release to the point that I put my feelers out there early that I was after a bottle. It was to the point that even my local liquor store guy commented that he hadn't seen me chasing after a bottle quite like I did for this one. But, those efforts paid off, as he let me know as soon as this came in and he set one aside for me.

I've had the Jack Daniel's Heritage Barrels in the past. That was their typical annual limited edition release, and that was absolutely delicious! For 2020, it is almost as though Brown Forman had been listening to its fans, who have been clamoring for the Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Ryes to be released at cask strength. Even before I got my hands on my bottle, I saw a lot of hype and love for this bottle, so I was pretty amped to give it a try.

On the nose I got a lot of pine notes along with a healthy amount of soft vanilla. It had a certain sweetness to it as well, like honey. But it also had a darker, richer sweetness as well, like molasses, which I thought was kind of interesting. I also got a darker cherry note, kind of like a Luxardo cherry. It smelled good, but nothing mind-blowing here.

However, what it may have lacked on the nose it made up for in the flavor. I immediately noticed the nice, thick, viscous texture of this whiskey. My mouth was immediately coated with an almost oily residue of flavor. I also immediately noticed that this rye was on the sweeter end of the rye spectrum, but yet it still had that punchiness that I love.

It was a very caramel forward rye. I got some of those pine notes from the nose, as well as a rich cinnamon note that you'd expect from a good rye. But the caramel note seemed to take centerstage and the other flavors were complementary. I also got a consistent undercurrent of soft and not really sweet vanilla.

On the finish the spice really came through. The sweet caramel seemed to take more of a back seat and I was left with delicious notes of cinnamon and black pepper spice. It wasn't anything that burned or was offensive in any way, but rather it simply made my mouth water a bit and made me eager for that next sip.

On later pours, some of the more traditional rye flavors seemed to pop a bit. I got a bit of a tannic oak note, and the pine and cinnamon seemed to come forward a bit. But it always had that undercurrent of soft caramel to balance everything out.

This really was everything I look for in a rye--nice viscous mouthfeel, high proof, and a great balance of spicy and sweet. In fact, after opening this bottle and trying it, I made it a point to track down a backup bottle, something I rarely do. But I just had to have one of these in reserves, it was that good.

Grade: A

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