donderdag 14 september 2023

Exploring the World of Jack Daniel's Bonded Whiskey

From the time I hit my mid-twenties, my passion for collecting all things Jack Daniel's has grown steadily. Over the past three decades, I've amassed a collection of bottles, glassware, and branded bar paraphernalia. My affinity for retro and vintage items has always been my guiding light in this pursuit.

So, imagine my excitement when I received the news that Vincent, the Belgian brand ambassador for Jack Daniel's, was dropping by my office to discuss the new addition to the Jack Daniel's family - Jack Daniel's Bonded Whiskey. After a neat sip of this remarkable whiskey, I set out to create a new edition of my previously published popcorn Old Fashioned. What sets this version apart from my previous attempts? Well, for starters, the whiskey itself boasts a robust 100 proof, and that alone makes a world of difference. Additionally, the choice of barrels for this release is something special. They've hand-selected barrels with a deeper colour, richer flavour, and an aroma that's more oak-forward.

Now, you might be wondering what exactly bonded whiskey, or Bottled-in-Bond, means. It's a set of stringent rules designed to guarantee the quality of the whiskey, including:
  • It must originate from a single distillery.
  • Distilled in a single season.
  • Bottled at precisely 100 proof (50% ABV).
  • A minimum aging period of four years in a federal warehouse.

Jack Daniel's Belgium
The key distinction between the iconic Old No. 7 and this bonded whiskey is that the latter has earned its place in the permanent range as a super-premium product. The mash bill remains consistent with the same blend of 80% corn, 12% malted barley, and 8% rye.

Notably, this Jack Daniel's expression isn't just bonded; it's still quintessential Tennessee Whiskey. It undergoes a unique process of dripping for six days in 10-foot vats, passing through charcoal made by burning maple wood saturated with 140 proof Jack Daniel's whiskey, before being placed in new charred oak barrels for a minimum of four years.

Now, let's delve into the tasting experience:
  • Nose: A captivating burst of sweet caramel, vanilla, and hints of banana. Subtle notes of cookie dough intertwine beautifully, with the barrel's distinct influence making its presence known.
  • Palate: Caramel continues to shine, now accompanied by the delightful flavours of marshmallow and cookie dough. Banana comes into play, crowned with a medley of popcorn and waffle notes.
  • Finish: A dash of spice emerges, followed by a harmonious encore of caramel.

You might be wondering if there's a notable difference from the 'Bottled-in-Bond' release of a few years ago. I embarked on a quest to unearth differences and tasting notes, but they proved elusive. My search led me to an informative tasting video by Task Force Bourbon, which I already shared on our Facebook page. In a nutshell, it appears to be pretty much the same excellent product, with Vincent hinting at grooves carved into the charred wood, similar to what they did with the JD Sinatra barrels, to influence the final result.

In conclusion, my journey as a Jack Daniel's enthusiast and collector has led me to this exceptional bonded whiskey, which seamlessly blends tradition and innovation. With each sip, I'm reminded of the rich history and dedication that goes into every bottle of Jack Daniel's, making it a timeless classic for connoisseurs and collectors alike.

As promised, I’ll share my updated Popcorn Old Fashioned recipe, but I’m looking forward to experiment and share more recipes with this new Bonded spirit. Since the complete month of September is considered Mr. Jack’s birthday (because nobody really knows the exact date), we have many reasons to raise a glass of Jack. Spoiler: my second drink will be the Jack Daniel’s Bonded Boulevardier… I’ll try to do a reel with that one. 

Popcorn Old Fashioned – Bonded edition

50ml Jack Daniel’s Bonded
10ml Monin Popcorn syrup
2 dashes of Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters

Add everything to a tumbler with ice. Stir for 15 seconds. Garnish with a cocktail cherry. Close your eyes, have a sip and get transported to a typical American Fun Fair. 

Disclaimer: All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Consulting unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

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