Weekend Sip: Jack Daniel’s returns to its roots with longer-aged whiskeys

The bottles

Jack Daniel’s 12-Year-Old Tennessee Whiskey, $80.00; Jack Daniel’s 10-Year-Old Tennessee Whiskey Batch 2, $70.00

The back story

Jack Daniel’s, the great name in American whiskey, has been in the news of late for something most bizarre — a Supreme Court case in which the brand is essentially asserting its trademark and waging a battle against the manufacturers of a dog toy that’s shaped like, well, a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.

We here at Weekend Sip will let the legal scholars debate that matter. Instead, we’re here to talk about some serious stuff — as in some new bottles of Jack that carry noteworthy age statements.

To understand what’s going on here, you need to go back several decades, when Jack Daniel’s whiskey was released with such statements — as opposed to today, when the standard Jack (Old No. 7, as it’s called) carries no such information about how long the liquid has been sitting in the barrel. (And for the record, Jack is Tennessee whiskey — similar to bourbon in some respects, but different in that it goes through what the brand describes as a “charcoal mellowing” step that highlights the flavor and complexity of the spirit.)

Specifically, the brand says that between the early and mid-1900s, Jack had bottlings of 10-, 12-, 14-, 18- and 21-year-old whiskey. And now, Jack, which is under the ownership of spirits giant Brown-Forman BF.B, +1.88%, is going back to its roots with the addition of these 10- and 12-year-old whiskeys. In fact, the process started back in 2021 with the release of a first batch of a 10-year-old.

Jack Daniel’s master distiller Chris Fletcher told MarketWatch that “each year we identify about 1,000 barrels…across the distillery that we want to hold back.” He also didn’t rule out releasing even older whiskey in the future. “The aging process will tell us when (the) liquid is ready to be bottled,” he said.

The age-statement whiskeys are clearly part of a push to broaden Jack’s footprint. In the past year alone, the brand has issued several new whiskeys, ranging from a Toasted Maple Barrel Rye to an American Single Malt (akin to a Scotch).

What we think about them

I’ve always been a big fan of Jack — it has a smoothness that beats many a bourbon. The new aged versions have a bit more oomph to them. The 10-year is marked by what the brand describes as notes of dark fruit and bittersweet cocoa — the latter is especially pronounced. But the 12-year is the real treat. It’s deliciously complex, with a mouthful of sweet, intriguing flavors (think coffee with a couple of sugars) to my palate.

How to enjoy them

These are not whiskeys to be mixed into a cocktail. Enjoy them neat or the preferred Jack method — with two or three ice cubes.

This article was originally published by Marketwatch.com. Read the original article here.

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