May 14, 2019
Distillery: Jack Daniel’s (Brown Forman)
Type & Region: Tennessee Whiskey, Tennessee, USA
Composition: 80% corn, 8% rye, 12% malted barley
Aged: NAS, aged in virgin American white oak
Price: $25-35 (750mL)
From the Jack Daniel’s website:
‘Inspired by the original gentleman distiller and our founder, Gentleman Jack undergoes a second charcoal mellowing to achieve exceptional smoothness. Its balanced flavor is perfect for celebrating life’s extraordinary occasions, plus all the moments along the way.”
There’s not much to say about Gentleman Jack, a Tennessee whiskey made by Jack Daniel’s, that hasn’t already been said about the original Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7. While both are maple charcoal filtered / mellowed prior to barreling, Gentleman Jack is charcoal filtered again prior to bottling, supposedly adding complexity and mellowness to the whiskey. Not much is publicly known about whether Jack Daniel’s selects specific barrels to turn into Gentleman Jack or they just divert some percentage of regular Jack. Let’s find out if the second charcoal filtering does for Gentleman Jack.
True to the marketing, Gentleman Jack starts with moderate honey and graham cracker sweetness followed by charred wood, crushed peanuts, and uncooked rice. It’s a sugar and malt-forward whiskey accented with wood, nuts, and floral, grassy, and minty notes, as well as minimal alcohol. Fruit notes, that are usually found in more complex whiskeys, are absent. Swirling releases the same honey and vanilla sweetness, as well as slightly under-baked bread, grain husk, charred oak, and crushed peanuts. The alcohol gets gently stirred-up, but stays very calm.
The nose isn’t bad, but it’s not good either. It’s just generally fine and inoffensive.
Gentleman Jack is also very calm on my mouth. There’s the same gentle honey and caramel sweetness with a dash of wood, pepper, mint, and alcohol. It’s neither complex nor terrible. You could do worse, but that’s not much of a ringing endorsement. “Chewing” improves the flavors, bringing up-front sweetness from honey and vanilla, supplemented with peanuts and macadamia nuts, gummy mint, pepper, burnt wood, and corn. Gentleman Jack is bright and light, and possibly one of the mellowest whiskeys that I’ve had in a while. Honey caramel sweetness remains on the finish with charred wood and mint, with a slight fruitiness that quickly disappears. “Chewing” reveals faint banana notes that appear very late.
I really hate to use this term, but Gentleman Jack is “smooth”. For me, it means that it’s neutral and not challenging to drink.
Jack Daniel’s wasn’t wrong in their marketing, Gentleman Jack is a smooth and calm whiskey that I can imagine people wouldn’t mind drinking. The problem is that it’s also inoffensive and boring to sip neat. The scents and flavors are light, plain, and unmemorable, lacking complexity that would make me want to take my time to appreciate it again and again. Don’t get me wrong, I’d drink it if offered, but there’s no reason for me to buy this again, although it may be good as an introductory whiskey or mixer. If you’re looking for a Jack Daniel’s that’s interesting and worth drinking, I recommend that you start with Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel.