Jack Daniel's Red Dog Saloon is a limited release whiskey from Brown Forman's Jack Daniel's distillery. The brand tells us that they released it to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the opening of a saloon by Jack Daniel. A casual Google search of the subject brings up no mention of Jack Daniel's saloons. Well, none that are not either from the Jack Daniel's website or liquor stores/reviewers talking about this product. Still, not knowing much of the history of Lynchburg, Tennessee, I have no real reason to doubt that statement as it seems plausible enough that a whiskey maker in a small town might have a saloon or two as well during the late 1800s.
Of course, we all know the history of Jack Daniel's well enough. Taught how to make whiskey by a local slave, Jack Daniel launched a distillery (and it seems some saloons). He passed the business to his nephew. Along the way, Prohibition forced the distillery out of Tennesee and then out of business. The family eventually sold the brand and business to Brown-Forman who grew the brand into the number one selling American Whiskey in the world. During the American whiskey slump of the 80s and 90s, they lowered the proof from 90° proof to 86° and then from 86° proof to 80° in the early 2000s. Today they still sit at 80° proof, but they've started to give a nod to folks who want a bit more by doing barrel strength versions, rye whiskey versions and limited releases like Red Dog Saloon.
Jack Daniel's Red Dog Saloon
Purchase Info: $24.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN
Details: 43% ABV, non-age-stated.
Nose: Caramel rolls, spearmint, banana, and baking spice.
Mouth: Mint, subtle spice, banana, and caramel.
Finish: Warm and of medium length with lingering notes of mint, spice, and caramel rolls.
Thoughts: Hands down, better than the standard Jack. The flavors are similar, that Jack Daniel's Banana note is still there, but in this case, it is supported by more caramel and spice. I don't know if it is the six degrees of proof difference between this and standard Jack or if it is barrel selection, but it makes me wish that they hadn't lowered the proof way back when. But they are the largest selling American Whiskey brand, and I'm not so what do I know? As long as they keep putting out affordable options such as this, I guess it'll be ok.
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