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Since I'm in a compare-and-contrast mood, let's try two different single barrels of Jack Daniel's. Our first opponent comes from Rick No. R-18 and Barrel No. 13-6633, and was bottled on November 19 2013.
The colour is a dark reddish copper. The nose starts off very salt-and-peppery (emphasis on the pepper) and is more floral than expected. The caramel is deeper and darker than the standard, and is entwined with rich vanilla. Cotton candy? Or is it something else that is putting dirty, grimy CNE-type carnivals into my head? Maybe it's the humidor note. Tons of oak, spicy and very herbal. Water adds a little smoke.
On the palate, more pepper (little salt) with the deep, rich caramel and vanilla. Oily mouthfeel. BBQ chicken, overripe banana and a hint of barely sugar. Ironically, water dries out the whisky and makes it even richer. Lip-smacking.
The finish has more BBQ, with the wood smoke and sweet heat, adding gently into leather and tobacco. Surprisingly complex finish. I quite like this, finding it superior to the standard. I reviewed another Single Barrel a couple of years ago that I ranked lower than I would either Old No. 7 or this one. To me, this one takes the traditional, overly familiar notes and adds a few layers of complexity. With the exception of a George Dickel Single Barrel 9 Year Old I had earlier this year, this could be the best Tennessee whisky I've had yet.