Jack Daniel’s just announced the eighth and ninth entries to its Distillery Series line of experimental whiskeys: Toasted Maple Barrel Rye and Toasted Barrel Finished Rye. They’re available now, but only in Tennessee. Here’s everything you need to know about the toasty new entrants.
You already know the Lynchburg, TN, distillery produces the most popular American whiskey on the planet. Adorned in its classic black label with white lettering, Old No. 7 is immediately recognizable on bars and bottle shops from Nashville to Nairobi. Nevertheless, the brand has been a victim of that runaway success.
In an era when more and more drinkers are thirsting for craft, some connoisseurs are quick to dismiss Jack Daniel’s as basic and mainstream. But those who do are denying themselves something truly special.
Over the past several years, Jack Daniel’s has been playing from strength to strength with a parade of high-end bottlings and limited-edition releases. Among them, the Distillery Series is a line of liquids devoted exclusively to experimentation—showcasing boldly flavored whiskies that they’ve never done before and likely won’t ever do again.
The latest additions tinker with the toasting of barrels in order to achieve this result. It makes sense, as majority of the flavor in your favorite whiskey comes from the casks in which it rested. For American whiskey drinkers, that involves charred oak: Coopers burn the hell out of those suckers until the interior of the barrel is black as midnight. These two new ryes, however, were finished in barrels that only saw a mere toasting, allowing more subtle flavors to emerge.
“At Jack Daniel’s, we take pride in controlling every aspect of the whiskey-making process, from cultivating our own yeast to crafting our own barrels,” explains master distiller Chris Fletcher. “Having [our own] cooperage gives us an unmatched ability to experiment with specifications to see how different materials and techniques can impart new flavors and aromas.”
Toasted Maple Barrel Rye was originally barreled in march of 2017, then entered into high-toast maple wood barrels four years later. Bottled at 101 proof, it confidently carries butterscotch and s’mores to the palate. Perhaps it’s the power of suggestion, but the slightest hint of maple syrup seems to follow through in the finish.
Toasted Barrel Finished Rye was selected by Fletcher’s assistant distiller, Lexie Phillips (her husband, in-house taster, Josh Phillips was actually responsible for selecting the former, No. 8). It was laid down in the summer of 2014 and re-barreled in toasted oak in the fall of 2019. Also bottled at 101 proof, this one sips spicier than its maple wood counterpart. It coats the mouth in a rich molasses that mingles effortlessly alongside Tennessee BBQ.
“[Both of] these barrel-finished rye whiskeys are a result of experimentation,” adds Fletcher. “We think they stand out as truly unique offerings that reflect the spirit of craft and innovation we have here at the Jack Daniel Distillery.”
That’s exactly where you’ll have to go to get them.
In addition to a few select stores across the Volunteer State, almost the entirety of the stock will be sold through the White Rabbit Bottle Shop, on-site in Lynchburg. These bottles sell for $42 each. Whether or not you’re headed here expressly for the Distillery Series, you’ll want to plan a pilgrimage at some point. Any self-respecting American whiskey enthusiast owes themself that much.