So here comes another JD review where the first thing the writer does is apologise for drinking JD ;) OK? Right, now that's out of the way let's crack on . . .
Before I got heavily into whisky (or became a nerd?) JD no.7 was undrinkable. Even now, I still find it barely passable and there's huge variation as far as I can tell. The Master Distillers' editions though have been quite enjoyable and I've a couple bunkered as they were sold cheap as chips in the UK last year. My enjoyment, and relative surprise, with them made me consider getting a SB offering. Along come the sales and here we are:
This is from a 2/3 full bottle that has been open about two months. A neat pour but added to the last sips of a previous dram.
Nose: Classic JD. It's unmistakable, right? I'd bet I could pick out JD blindfolded in amongst other TW and bourbons it's that unique. Turkish delight, rose petals, airfix glue, parma violet sweets, banana (fresh and toffee) and some charred fresh oak. Maple comes out with time.
Taste: Fairly thin mouth feel, sweet banana, then sour cherries, violet sweets which fades to maple and oak. More vanilla comes out as it sits. Nice balance of sweet, sour and dry.
Finish: Short - medium. A pleasant cloying sweetness remains. Some drying slightly bitter oak. Sour cherry jam on an old tea bag.
I saw a YT vlog where Luning, Horst Luning's son (name _____?) visited the distillery and had a tasting with the head distiller, iirc. He reckoned that JD barrels tend to produce either a more woody style, a sweeter style or one that is more balanced. He admitted that with the SB's you take a chance (but they're all great etc etc!). I would wager this is a more balanced to sweet barrel, which is fine with me, as I find too much wood/nuttyness in bourbon a bit of a turn-off. Very decent stuff and I'd grab again in the sales. I can also see why JD has so many fans; when I'm in the mood the sweetness of this is very enjoyable. It's the kind of whisky you'd have with a few mates playing cards.
@paddockjudge Sorry, I didn't mean better than this, rather I meant including this. Not knocking the JDSB at all.
Thanks for the review. I have no idea what “violet sweets” are, but this sounds lovely. No need to make apologies for drinking JD. You are correct about wild batch variation, at least in the Old No.7. I’ve had amazing No 7 that smelled and tasted like fresh banana bread (as you’ve identified) and some awful No7 that tasted like paint thinner, even when mixed with coke. Roll the dice I guess. Single Barrel offerings are a roll of the dice as well. Thanks for including the batch/lot number.