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Bottled in 2010, this edition celebrates the Gold Medal won in 1981 at the Brussels-based Monde Selection Institut Pour Les Selections De La Qualite, held that year in Amsterdam. Hmmmm....I wonder what Jack Daniel's tasted like in 1981?
The colour is a reddish amber. On the nose this is very herbal, with sage, thyme and rosemary. Thin caramel. Vanilla extract. Coffee grounds. Cumin. The oak is there, but takes a backseat. Surprisingly malty. Gentle and complex but there is an odd sourness to it (which is accentuated by water).
On the palate it is a little bit nondescript: overripe banana, tobacco, oak, vanilla and burnt toffee. Oakier in the mouth than on the nose. Again, a bit on the sour side. The elements are there, but they seem to be muted. Water tames everything down even further, except for the spice. Not bad but not great.
The long finish is spicy with charred oak and creme brûlée. In many ways, this reminds me of the White Rabbit Saloon bottling, but it has a few off-notes that are surprising. Which doesn't mean I dislike it, but it does not have the balance of the better editions out there (or even the balance of the Old No. 7).