Jack Daniel's Old No.7 is the best selling American Whiskey in the world. It's a pop culture icon synonymous with rock and roll, working-class drinkers, and America.
Is Jack Daniel's a bourbon? Well the short answer is "YES" and the longer answer is "legally and technically yes, but 'officially' no". Before you get worked up and call me a brain-dead idiot, I'll just say that Jack Daniel's own Master Distiller, Jeff Arnett, has stated on the record that Jack Daniel's could be labelled a bourbon if Brown-Forman wanted to market Jack as one.
Semantics about labelling aside, this whiskey is a big seller but serious connoisseurs tend to turn their noses up at them. There's nothing wrong with having preferences, but I've never been accused of being a serious anything, so I'm game to have a little fun every now and then. For the sake of this comparative review, I'll taste the whiskeys neat as well as with Coca-Cola and with Ginger Ale since these are the two most common mixers people use.
Jack Daniel’s Old No.7 neat from a Glencairn
- Nose: banana, toffee, fresh corn, vanilla
- Palate: light bodied, slightly creamy texture, more bananas and toffee, a hint of pears, a touch of maple fudge
- Finish: medium length with vanilla, toffee, vanilla, cinnamon, a bit of pineapple, and a touch of smoky barrel char (yay!)
- Comment: This is one of the most consistent whiskies on the market. There is always some batch variation, but the "worst" batches are simply inoffensive, while the better batches are downright pleasant. At first sip, this appears to be the latter.
- Rating as a neat sipper: 80/100
MIXED WITH COCA-COLA
Is there a highball more famous than Jack & Coke? I doubt it. The combo was popularized by THE most bad-ass hard rock icon himself, Lemmy Kilmister. In fact, some Motörhead fans petitioned to have the Jack & Coke officially re-branded "The Lemmy" after Kilmister passed away in 2015. So what do I think of the Jack & Coke combination? It's not bad, but it's a bit too much sweetness for me, to be honest. There's a bit of creaminess from the Jack cutting through the sweetness, but this combo leaves me a bit flat.
MIXED WITH GINGER ALE
Ginger Ale was always my preferred mixer when I drank rye. Maybe it stems from an affinity for drinking flat ginger ale as a kid when I was sick and stayed home from school. Maybe not. Jack & Ginger is a lovely, synergistic mix. It's a case of 1 + 1 = 3. The ginger ale combines with the banana and toffee notes in Jack to make the whole thing really satisfying. It's better than either one on their own.
Pretty sure the last time I drank JD No. 7 was at the old King Eddy hotel in Calgary watching/listening to Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. Drinking "Boiler Maker's", circa 1985/86.