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Jack Daniel's Master Distiller No.4 - "Jess" gamble

Cherries and Brazil Nuts

3 586

@RianCReview by @RianC

8th Aug 2018


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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I've had a couple of these bottles now (the 2nd and 3rd editions) and have always been pleasantly surprised. This was a 'family' bottle purchased for our holiday in St Ives last week and mostly consumed by my brother and I. Whilst clearly gimmicky, the idea is to release batches of JD under the name of each distiller from Jack himself (no.1) up to the present day (I assume?). Fair enough. What's quite pleasing though is that I find these bottlings a definite step up from the Old No.7 and, as such, I have a couple more stashed away. So how will this one stand up?

From a snifter glass, neat and down to the last couple of pours.

Nose: Sweet, banana spirit, soft 'nutty' (Brazil, maybe?) oak, rose water, faint hint of glue. Some sour cherry and smoke/char notes. Some slight charred vanilla and a touch of cinnamon starts to emerge. Easy and light but very appealing.

Taste: Banana and cherry straight up then a very gentle warmth fills the mouth, going slightly dry but the sweeter side dominates. Strong cinnamon as it develops and that hint of glue persists.

Finish: Medium - it goes on longer than you might expect, actually. Your left with a sweet syrupy residue that balances very nicely with the dry spice notes and a little char flavour.

My brother had also brought a litre bottle of old No. 7 (which he pretty much polished off on his own - but that's another story! :) Compared to that this is just so much more appealing. It's not that it stands out hugely above the no.7 but it just has more spice/wood, less of a prickly nip and the flavours are simply more defined and rounded. My glass to compare was my first and last . . .

This is such a great summer bourbon and it is THE perfect accompaniment to a BBQ! It's easy to sip and the sweetness, which is nicely tempered by the spice but never overshadowed, keeps you coming back for more. It's well made stuff and goes down all too easy if you catch my drift! Apologies for a longer summary than usual but just want to add that I've seen many on-line reviewers say they don't really see much of a difference between this and no.7. Well, that's their view, but to me this is a good step up and, in the UK at least, is usually only a £1 or £2 more! Recommended.

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OdysseusUnbound commented

Thanks for the review. This one looks interesting. Too bad they didn’t bottle it at Cask Strength, or at least 100 Proof.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

paddockjudge commented

@RianC, nice review! These special releases are different from the standard Jack Old No.7, that is for sure, beginning with higher abv at 43%. I emptied a couple of bottles of Master Distiller No.2, Jess Motlow, 2nd in the series of 7. Very nice and at a fair price, under $40CDN.

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

RianC commented

@paddockjudge - Thanks! Yeah I've had one of the 2nd Edition bottles as well and it was possibly my favourite of the bunch so far (not that there's been much in it). Another lurks in the cupboard under the stairs . . . mua ha ha smile

edit - there's a review somewhere on YT where the fella says a rep told him that these MD editions are just standard no.7 at 43%. If true I'd find that surprising. Perhaps some more choice barrel selecting going on?

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

RianC commented

@OdysseusUnbound - Indeed! Someone on here mentioned trying JD SB at cask strength. I believe that could be absolutely excellent (as was inferred!).

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

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