- Brand: Uncle Nearest 1856
- ABV: 50%
This is a new release, sourced I suspect from George Dickel distillery (based on the nose and palate of the whiskey, not from any actual info I'm privy to). Nathan "Nearest" Green was a former slave of Dan Call, a Lutheran preacher from Louse Creek, Tennessee. As it so happened, Call was the guardian of a young runaway by the name of Jack Daniel. Green worked as a distiller for Call, and so taught Daniel, who - at the age of fourteen - took over the business. This whiskey brand is meant to honour him, a forgotten figure in the history of whisky-making (given the past and current racist attitudes of the state, it is no surprise that Green is never discussed). Check out Fawn Weaver's research and writing about this unfairly shunted, major figure in the history of American whiskey.
Curiously, the promotional material makes no mention of Jack Daniel nor his whiskey, which is a clue that the liquid is not originating there. Nor is it made by the Nearest Green Distillery, as it does not open until 2020. Those are some of the reasons I suspect this comes from Dickel.
The colour is a dark amber. The nose is very subtle with maple, vanilla fudge, roasted corn, chili pepper and melted butter. The more time this sits in the glass, the more corn-forward it becomes. More spices show up - both peppery and briny, with some nutmeg to boot. Again we have a sour-beer note in the background. Water adds woodsmoke and more salinity. Subtle and complex.
On the palate we have more corn oils (and yes it is quite oily) with liquorice, vanilla, baked apples and your typical thick caramel. With time that sourness comes back, rounding things out and adding dimension. With water - pop! Everything cranks up to 11 and adds the brine - fantastic. Really good stuff.
The long finish is mouth-drying and grassy with growing spices (pepper and cinnamon), malt and delicate oak. This is excellent whiskey, if you like this style you will love this. Doesn't quite hit the complexities of Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Barrel Proof (but obviously tilts toward George Dickel Barrel Select) but this is lovely stuff.