Jack Daniel's Gentleman Jack

I’m on vacation this week and am giving you a little bit of whiskey content while I’m off galavanting around the Rocky Mountains. Tonight I should be arriving in Estes Park to spend the rest of the week so if I don't get to approving your comments right away, my apologies. 

I’d like to bring up a little pet peeve of mine. Jack Daniel’s. Not the company, they are what they are. For marketing reason Jack Daniel’s chooses not to call their product bourbon. That’s fine by me. They could be the best selling bourbon in the world should they choose, but they don’t they leave that to Jim Beam. 

No, the people who bother me are those who make a big deal out of whether it is a bourbon or not. On one side you have folks who claim that it is bourbon in all but name since Jack follows all the same rules as bourbon, they just run it through a big pile of charcoal before they put it into the barrel. The claim is that there is nothing in the rules for bourbon that prohibit this. The other side likes to say that the very act of running it through the charcoal is enough to flavor the whiskey. Some of these, at times, include the folks pouring you a sample of Jack Daniel’s at your local liquor store. They claim the maple charcoal adds sweetness or smoothness or whatever. 

Personally, I tend to lean toward the could be bourbon side as, to quote a former Kentucky Master Distiller, “ I never saw a filter add anything to anything.” But honestly, whatever. It’s really none of my concern. It seems to be working out for them so who am I to judge.

Due to the aforementioned pre-filtering, Jack Daniel’s is known for it’s smoothness. The charcoal essentially jump-starts the aging process by getting rid of some of the chemicals that the barrel would end up removing. Regular Jack is pretty gentle. A little too gentle for me. So it was only because I had never reviewed it and because it was on sale that I even picked up the bottle of Gentleman Jack that I am reviewing tonight.

Gentleman Jack is crafted to be even gentler than regular Jack. It is still run through the charcoal filter before aging, but then it gets a second round through it after aging as well. What this does, is strip out a lot of the barrel flavors that they were patient enough to wait for the barrel to put into the whiskey. Most American whiskey is filtered after dumping. Some lightly, some very heavily. When used heavily, it’s often a way to try to remove some of the off-flavors from a whiskey that has become a bit over-aged. But what does it do to a whiskey, that presumably, was similar to the stuff they were putting into another bottle? Let’s find out.

Gentleman Jack

Purchase Info: G-Will Liquors, Andover, MN. Regular price: $21.99 for a 375mL bottle (on sale for $10.99).

Details: “Double Mellowed” 40% ABV

Nose: Grain forward with delicate spearmint, a light fruitiness and just the tiniest hints of oak.

Mouth: Thin and a tad peppery. Fake banana flavor, grain, mint and just a touch of oak.

Finish: Short with banana bread, mint and a rougher burn than I would have expected from something labeled “Double Mellowed.”

Thoughts: While I will admit to not being a fan of regular Jack Daniel’s, there have been a few of their higher-end products that I have really liked. This is not one of them. In fact, I don’t like this at all. I just can’t get past the fake “banana candy” flavor (though for the record, I don’t like banana candy either).

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