While I blind tasted a collection of American whiskies, one in particular cried out with the smoothness and strength of rhythm and blues. I did not know what it was, but for the first time I tasted a whisky that was ridiculously smooth and yet outrageously powerful with no harshness or burn. I later discovered that this whiskey was the Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select.
The Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select is just smooth – silky smooth with a bright warm glow – like a Johnny Cash tune playing softly on warm spring day. It has no harshness or burn, but this softness is somehow balanced with intensity and power giving a velvety whisky with clout.
This whisky is not blended but taken from single barrels hand selected by the distillery master tasters “for its unique taste and smooth and aromatic character”. This means that each bottle reflects the character of the individual barrel from which it is drawn, so a bottle filled from one barrel may have a different character to a bottle filled from another barrel. The distiller also hand labels each bottle marking them with the number of the barrel from which they are drawn. My bottle is from barrel number 12-0798. These barrels are exposed to “extremes in temperature” resulting “in barrels which yield whiskey of uncommon smoothness, aroma and flavor” (quoted text in this paragraph is taken from the product box).
This whiskey is definitely superior to the standard Jack Daniel’s (No 7). During my blind tasting of the two, the No 7 was a gruff character giving a harsh delivery and a dull nose. The Single Barrel Select is, in my opinion, a much better whiskey.
Immediately I could smell the waft of vanilla and oak which was enlivened with the sweetness of brown sugar and light licorice with hints of biscuit all combining to give an energetic and vibrant nose.
This whiskey is like velvet on the tongue with a silky texture that bursts with oak and maple, sugar cane, and, cigar smoke. Butter and scones developed on the tip of the tongue, as it gave way, though not entirely, to smokiness.
Initially met with a powerful punch of flavour, this whiskey graces the tongue with a strong warm glow that recedes as soon as it returns like a gentle tide. With no burn, this whiskey has a very long finish that is extremely pleasant.
Different flavours jump out of this whiskey, from bittersweet fruit, oak, vanilla, licorice to cigar smoke!
Pure rhythm and blues, this whisky offers power, grace, smoothness and a fabulous story bound together by creative Tennessee style. This whiskey is a little on the sweet side, though (even for a bourbon).