Visit the Jack Daniel’s Distillery
One of my best friends Michael Suggs is avid Jack Daniel drinker and loves all things, Jack Daniel. The Jack Daniel’s Distillery is the oldest registered distillery in the United States but ironically Lynchburg, TN is in a dry county which means that no alcoholic beverages are allowed to be sold. This is the story of Jack Daniel and how his whiskey became a staple in households across the world.
Who was Jack Daniel’s?
According to company histories, sometime in the 1850s, when Daniel was a boy, he went to work for a preacher, grocer and distiller named Dan Call. The preacher, as the stories went, was a busy man, and when he saw promise in young Jack, he taught him how to run his whiskey still. However, on June 25, 2016, The New York Times reported the company’s view that Daniel didn’t learn to distil from Call, but from a man named Nearis Green – one of Call’s slaves. During my tour, I was waiting on the guide to acknowledge Daniel received the recipe from a slave instead of Dan Call but there no mention of Nearis Green.
Though Jack never married or had any children, my tour guide assured us he had plenty of lady friends and Jack was somewhat of a ladies man. There are two wrought-iron chairs placed at his grave at the cemetery in town, where his mistresses could sit and mourn over his death.
What gives Jack Daniel’s that famous taste?
Only the enhanced tour which is what I took includes a stop at the grinding room, where they pulverize the burned wood that they eventually filter the whiskey through to produce that famous, mellowed taste.
The main reason that Jack chose this location for his distillery was because of Cave Spring. This natural spring comes right out of the Tennessee mountains provides all the water needed to make their product. Even more important, the limestone surrounding the water absorbs iron, therefore, the water coming out of the spring is completely iron-free, a very important and unique element in this whiskey.
“Members of Society”
We passed through a dark room with walls blanketed by hundreds of brass plaques bearing peoples’ names – the “Members of Society,” Our tour guide said for around $10,000 anyone can buy an entire barrel of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, earning a spot on this wall and an abundance of whiskey that might last a lifetime.
Finally, it was time for the taste testing!! Everyone took a seat and in front of us were 5 shot glasses each filled with a third of an ounce for each us to sample. The first with regular Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, another with Gentleman Jack, and a third with the superior single-barrel product, which gets its mellower, sweeter flavor from being stored on the warmer, top floors of the barrel house, Sinatra Select which was my personal favorite because of the Oaky smokiness, subtle sweet notes, and the hint of vanilla, and lastly the Single-Barrel Rye.
“Now remember,” Amber my guide reminded me. “This is Tennessee sippin’ whiskey. “Don’t just throw it back. You gotta sip it.” This was my first time tasting whiskey so I wasn’t going to throw it back anyway nor could I
Just as I have done on wine tours in Italy, I swished the samples around my mouth, trying to discern the differences in the five samples.
I was asked if I can taste the difference that three extra feet of charcoal make?” referring to the additional filtering that Gentleman Jack receives and of course my novice palette could not taste the difference.
Touring Jack Daniel’s Facility
Last year, over 265,000 people visited the Jack Daniel’s distillery. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic places. Even if you are not a whiskey fan, which I am not I would still suggest visiting the distillery. I was so impressed with the passion and dedication that goes into each bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey that I will never view again as the brown stuff in the bottle.Address: 182 Lynchburg Hwy, Lynchburg, TN 37352-7452