10 August 2011

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel "A Coming of Age Dram"

When it comes to drops of liquid Americana you won’t find a more established brand than Jack Daniel’s. Though despite its mass worldwide domination in the spirits market, its somewhat become a victim of its own success with regards to dramming snobbery.

Much like the two dominating Glen’s of the single malt whisky world ‘Fiddich and Livet’, there is a perception that just because you’ve become a huge global player producing on a mass scale, that the whisky is somehow deemed inferior compared to those bottlings from smaller distillers.

As with that other great dramming misconception of single malts being superior to that of blended whiskies, I can assure you that it’s nothing but a load of bigoted nonsense.

Undoubtedly the one expression of Jack Daniel’s that we’re all familiar with is their Old No: 7 bottling. Now it may not be one of the biggest batters on the liquid Americana playing field, but by golly it’s an honest, honorable, hard working and tenacious Tennessee whiskey.

Now the question is, what do you get when you fill barrels with the same spirit that goes into producing Old No: 7 and then store them at the highest reaches of a warehouse. The answer is quite simply Jack Daniels Single Barrel, which in my mind is a real coming of age bottling that is capable of swaying the mind of even the harshest JD critics.

The nosing dramanagins kick off with rugged yet refined bouts of toasted oak, cedar wood and burning newspapers crashing through infused waves of spiced maple and corn syrup. Followed by a subtle whiff of black Columbian coffee that’s been sweetened with yet more syrup, but this time of the hazelnut variety.

A mound of mashed avocados and a trio of stoned fruity wonders in the form of apricots, peaches and nectarines make for the next set of sensations, along with a cored and chopped bramley apple and a big slice of bitter orange infused frangipane tart.

A vivacious and voluptuous infusion of vanilla, sweet rye, star anise and something rather demerara rum-esque then pounce and protrude their way into the proceedings, followed by the aroma of some freshly made and exceedingly moorish toffee popcorn.

The palate is as equally exciting and as exuberant as the nose, kicking off with some overly ripe baked conference pears infused with star anise and drizzled with a couple of nips of sumptuous sweet rye and a 15 year old demerara rum.

A generous glug of cherry cough syrup and the aftertaste from some coal smoked, satay sauce covered barbecue ribs makes for the next set of palatable pleasures, along with a trio of toasted tenaciousness in the form of pecans, oak and maplewood.

There’s a reappearance of the aforementioned avocado, which has now pretty much evolved into a full blown guacamole, followed sharply by a refreshing big twist of orange and something subtle and very spearmint-esque.

A toasted Belgium waffle covered in the last few dregs from a bottle of maple syrup, served with a scoop of Green and Blacks vanilla ice cream make for the final set of scintillating sensations, before this dramstravaganza concludes with a rather zingy sweet lingerette of a finish.