Variety is the Spice of Life: Varieties of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey

Old No. 7.
The recipe that made Tennessee whiskey famous. Its distinct bottle and flavor are known around the world and have become iconic of American liquor. But did you know that the Jack Daniel’s Distillery actually makes more than just Old No. 7? They have branched out in recent years to include three more Tennessee whiskey products in their repertoire.

Green Label

In the Barrelhouse at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, they have something like 20 levels of shelves for the barrels. The lower the shelf, the less volatile the temperature.

The 15 lower shelves house essentially the same brew, but the bottom three shelves are rotated out much quicker. These barrels are bottle with a green label, providing a much younger (and much cheaper) whiskey to the public. Since this whiskey only ages for about 3 years, without the temperature flux from the higher levels, you are left with a lighter, less flavorful, harsher whiskey. Green Label was designed to be a cheap alternative to the traditional Old No. 7, so if you can afford a bottle of Old No. 7, forgo this option completely.

Gentleman Jack

While he was alive, Jack Daniel was fixated on adding a second charcoal filtration into his distillation process. He tried it several different ways, but was apparently never satisfied with his experiment since it was never added.

Though he never got it right, Jack kept the notes on his experiments, and in 1988 the distillery perfected it, adding a second charcoal mellowing after taking the matured whiskey out of the barrel.

Instead of changing the age-old recipe for Old No. 7 (and possibly alienating Jack drinkers everywhere), the distillery released it as a new product called “Gentleman Jack’s Tennessee Whiskey.”  The second charcoal filtration mellows the flavor even further, resulting in a smoother, more refined taste.

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Whiskey

As with most whiskeys, Old No. 7 is a blended whiskey.  Ultimately derived from a number of individual barrels blended together to ensure that every bottle of whiskey has that distinctive Jack Daniel’s flavor.

When a whiskey manufacturer sells a single barrel variety, they are making a statement that every single barrel they produce will be consistently good without the need to blend.  It’s a bold statement to be sure, but the Jack Daniel’s Distillery takes it a step further.  They store the barrels dedicated to this product at the very top of the barrelhouse, exposing it to the most volatile temperature extremes, and allow it to sit for a few more years.  This means that this whiskey will be darker, with much more barrel flavors than Old No. 7.

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