When I was a young (and under-aged) teenager, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey was one of my favourite libations. However, after a few mishaps with overindulgence, I eventually distanced myself from it. After all these years, I figured that I’d give it another try with a detailed review.
Therefore, I’ll be discovering Jack Daniel’s Old No.7 Tennessee Whiskey all over again as I cover the following topics:
- Spirit Overview
- Nose & Aromas
- Palate & Mouthfeel
- Ideal Pairings
- Overall Experience & Value For Money
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Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Overview
- Distillery: Jack Daniel Distillery
- Expression: Old No. 7
- Variety: Tennessee “Sour Mash” Whiskey
- Region: Lynchburg, Tennessee
- Age: NAS
- Casking: Virgin Oak
- Cask Strength: 40% ABV
- Parent: Brown-Forman Corporation
Although proudly labelled as a “Tennessee Whiskey”, regulations imposed on its production mean that it is also technically a straight bourbon whiskey. However, Jack Daniel’s continues to use the term.
Similarly, Jack Daniel insists on only ageing its distillate in virgin oak barrels despite modifications made to legislation in 2014 allowing their reuse.
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Tennessee Whiskey’s Robe
- Hue: Homemade Marmalade
- Transparency: Faint Haze
- Body: Mild
When served, Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 shows itself to have a dark caramel colour with a slightly orange hue that evokes homemade marmalade.
Overall, it’s quite thin and light in body. When swirled in my Peugeot Les Impitoyables glass, the whiskey legs were relatively thick but quick to roll down the sides.
Old No. 7’s Nose
- Notes: Solvent, Raisins, Vanilla
- Nosefeel: Warming, Eucalyptic
Admittedly, my first whiff of Old No.7 is quite nostalgic. Immediately, I’m whisked away to sticky nightclub floors, Lynx body spray, crowded dance floors, and questionable mid-naughties fashion sense. However, I’ll put that aside for the purposes of this review!
Overall, the nose is quite accessible with a warming yet oddly eucalyptic sensation that tingles the nostrils. One of the notes that strike me the most is the overt scent of solvent, which is reminiscent of Airfix glue. However, this is mostly noticeable with the nose deep into the glass.
Otherwise, I’m picking up some sour raisin aromas whose sharpness are counteracted by a soft vanilla finish.
Jack Daniel’s Palate & Mouthfeel
- Primary Tastes: Sweet, Sour
- Mouthfeel: Astringent, Oily
- Opening: Caramel, Williams Pear
- Heart: Acetone, Banana Bread
- Finish: Short [Oak, Maple Syrup, Vanilla]
Needless to say, my first sip was as whimsical as when nosing the glass. In fact, it prompted me to play my favourite Ministry of Sound compilation, Anthems II, on Spotify while I write this. There are some absolute classics in there if you were born around the 1980s, but I digress…!
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey offers an overall sweet and sour profile with an oily mouthfeel that dries the mouth during the finish. Its opening is sharp notes of Williams pear that is softened by a somewhat artificial caramel flavour.
Shortly afterwards, the heart reveals a yeasty banana bread note that is accompanied by hints of acetone, which are a little harsh but not as entirely unpleasant as I remembered. A short finish of oak, moist maple syrup, and soft vanilla notes soon follow, leaving a dry texture in the mouth.
Best Pairings With Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
Jack Daniel’s is often regarded as a whiskey that’s cheap and easy to drink. However, I wouldn’t quite put it so simply. Indeed, it’s quite affordable but it isn’t the most enjoyable whiskey to sip at this price point.
Nevertheless, it’s much more pleasant when served chilled or with ice. In all likelihood, though, it will probably end up being mixed with Coca-Cola. Still, there are plenty of other, more creative ways to enjoy it. Indeed, there are a variety of cocktails that you could make using JD rather than simply cutting it with Coke.
Similarly, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is actually a great ingredient for cooking. I’ve found that it works well in marinades and adds a intriguing kick with a number of dishes.
If you’re adamant about drinking it neat, you might want to consider pairing it with a cigar. Generally, bourbon whiskies work well with creamy Connecticut shade cigars like the JC Newman Brick House pictured. However, I would actually opt for something a little bit more full-bodied.
For instance, the Nub Habano is a sun-grown blend that would probably offer a more pleasant contrast when paired with Old No. 7.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
Jack Daniel is probably one of the most recognisable whiskey brands in history. It’s black label and white text is the subject of both genuine and counterfeit merchandising all over the world.
Meanwhile, the square bottle is nothing short of iconic and can be easily recognised by even the most novice liquor enthusiasts. There’s a lot to be said for Jack Daniel’s branding and its presence is nothing short of impressive.
As mentioned earlier, Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey is quite affordable and rarely goes above $35 for 75 cl. We searched around online and the lowest price online was through Drizly.
Drizly works with local retailers to deliver alcohol to your door under an hour. Therefore, its price can vary depending on where you live. Otherwise, Reserve Bar is a more traditional online retailer. They have a partnership with Jack Daniel and sell it for $31 through their website.
Although it was quite challenging to remain impartial, I admit that I quite enjoyed revisiting Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey. Had it not been for this review, I would probably have never touched it again.
Despite being Frank Sinatra’s personal favourite, it still wouldn’t be my first choice, and I doubt that I’ll be buried with one in my casket like him. Nevertheless, it’s still a perfectly acceptable liquor that can be sipped neat. That said, it’s probably best enjoyed in a cocktail.
However, if you’re looking for something to sip neat on this budget, perhaps you ought to consider Johnnie Walker Black Label instead? Although it’s a blended Scotch, it offers an excellent experience for around $36 when on sale through Reserve Bar.
"Perfectly acceptable. Jack Daniel isn't quite a rich tasting experience. However, it's far better than I remember."Rating: 3.0 ★★★
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