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Say what you like about Jack Daniel's but they are a big (slight understatement) distillery that still do things in as much of a traditional way as possible. They make their own barrels, charcoal and, well, that's about it; but they also have a lot more in their line up than the world famous Old No.7. This relatively new single barrel rye offering is, I believe, the first addition to the standard Jack mash bill recipe since, well, Jack was in diapers - so fair play to them for applying some innovation.
The big question then, just how the darn heck is it, boy? This bottle has been open well over a month now and is about 4/5's full. Review is from a neat pour (I don't find this one likes water but time and patience are certainly its friends!).
Nose - No mistake, it's definitely Jack! There's that glue and synthetic banana note I always get along with some fresh oak. Cherries, yes, rose water, check, and, with time, a little charcoal char comes out. So what's new? Well, even though this screams JD, it's not. Well, not quite. There's something else there that gives a distinctly different take on the experience. What could that be? Spice! Like taking a whiff in the baking spice cupboard. Slight menthol, something slightly floral and Juicy Fruit gum (I'm getting the hang of this 'ere lingo ;)
Taste - Pretty much as above really. It starts sweet (banana and cherry) starts to go sour (cherry, again) and the spices emerge, then a dryness with oak and sweet char notes. Mouthfeel is always a little thin in Jack products (I find) but this does have a touch of 'chewyness' and an ability to coat the mouth a tad. So far so good.
Finish - Medium length and quite dry. The oak comes to the front more and verges on plankishness but just about holds the line. There's also a slight, semi-cloying (but in a good way), cherry and spice residue that hangs in there with the oak.
In summary, this is an unusual rye and an unusual Jack Daniel's but a very enjoyable one. I think if you like rye and JD you'll get a grin out of this, if not, one may find it to be too sweet and perfumed. It's very easy drinking stuff (never a bad thing, is it?) and the dry finish keeps you coming back for more.
I feel I should also apologise to my American friends for the outrageous linguistic stereotype offered above. I assume all Americans speak like the locals in Deliverance you see? Well they do, don't they? Yee Haw, same again, Lloyd.