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Jack Daniel’s grows up — with a new (and pricier) 10-year-old whiskey

The bottle

Jack Daniel’s 10 Years Old Tennessee Whiskey, $70

The backstory

Jack has gotten a little older — and perhaps a little wiser with age.

We’re talking Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, the beloved American brand that is best known for its Old No. 7 classic recipe. That version doesn’t carry an age statement, but Chris Fletcher, the brand’s master distiller, says it is generally aged a little more than four years in the barrel.

Now, the brand, part of the Brown-Forman
BF.B,
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spirits and wine conglomerate, is pushing things to a new limit, with a 10-year version that carries a premium price. “This is about honoring what Jack did,” says Fletcher, noting that the brand’s namesake and founder, who died in 1911, did experiment with aging whiskey — even up to 21 years.

Still, Fletcher says the brand was careful with how far it went and how it monitored the liquid at all stages, because there’s always the risk of an aged whiskey picking up too much of a woody taste from the barrel. “This was not just about putting 10-year-old whiskey in the bottle. It was about putting the best 10-year-old whiskey in the bottle,” he says.

Jack Daniel’s has benefitted from innovation in recent years. The brand now encompasses many styles and varieties and some of its product launches in the past decade have proved quite successful. For example, a honey liqueur, dubbed Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, now sells in excess of two million cases annually, according to the Brown-Forman annual report. Overall, the Jack Daniel’s line saw a sales increase of 4% in the past year.

What we think about it

We’ve always been fans of Jack’s Old No. 7 and of Tennessee whiskey in general. (The Tennessee style is similar to bourbon, but must be filtered through maple charcoal, which gives it a special taste and mellowness.) The 10-year version of Jack adds a depth of character and bit of spiciness to the whiskey’s profile — it’s a grown-up Jack, literally and metaphorically. In all, a most welcome sip that arguably merits the higher price.

How to enjoy it

This is a whiskey to be savored neat and sip on its own terms. If so desired, add a cube or two of ice. But don’t think about this for whiskey-based cocktails — use Old No. 7 for that.

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