Two years ago Jack Jack Daniel’s released its first age-statemented whiskey in a century — Jack Daniel’s 10 Years Old — and now it’s back with a second back, plus a friend. Today we check out JD 10 Batch 2 as well as the first batch of an older sibling, Jack Daniel’s 12 Years Old.
Both will be annual releases that we hope to cover regularly in the years to come.
As for what’s in the bottle, master distiller Chris Fletcher has said that the 80% corn, 12% malted barley, and 8% rye Tennessee whiskeys (which have undergone charcoal mellowing before aging) are essentially drawn from barrels that would have otherwise ended up as JD Single Barrel releases. JD also notes that fans of last year’s 10 year old should not expect “more of the same” with this year’s release, which came from different production runs and different warehouses.
While we bemoan the fact that the secondary market has already driven the prices of the 12 year old to the moon (current prices are reported below), let’s give them a taste.
Jack Daniel’s 12 Years Old Batch 1 – This is immediately an exotic, unusual expression from JD. The nose is fruity and a bit sharp, melding notes of apple, cinnamon, and pink peppercorns with an orange peel quality that curiously evokes oloroso sherry. Many of these elements appear on the palate, which builds on the sherry quality by folding in more of a Christmas spice character. Increasingly oaky and a bit tannic as it develops, the whiskey continues to diverge from the JD formula, culminating in a vanilla bomb laden with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Again, had I tasted this blind, I would never have guessed it was a Jack Daniel’s product — for better or for worse. 107 proof. B+ / $650 (700ml)
Jack Daniel’s 10 Years Old Batch 2 – A wildly different whiskey from the 12 year old, this exploration of the dessert cart runs to black forest cake, vanilla cream, and lots of milk chocolate — influencing both nose and palate. The creamy body takes on a creamy quality, bursting with baking spices and moderated sweetness. The chocolate notes emerge as the most evocative character, then diverge to showcase elements of coffee and toasted coconut, finishing with a reprise of maraschino cherry. So drinkable and lovely, it’s one of the most personable and user-friendly expressions from JD ever. (And you can generally find it for a much more reasonable price.) 97 proof. A / $72 (700ml) [BUY IT NOW FROM FROOTBAT]