jack daniel's single barrel barrel proof review

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Barrel Proof Tennessee Whiskey 18-8288

Jack Daniel's Barrel Proof 18-8288

Distillery: Jack Daniel’s

Type & Region: Tennessee Whiskey, USA

Alcohol: 64%

Composition: 80% corn, 8% rye, 12% barley

Aged: NAS

Color: 1.5/2.0 on the color scale (auburn, polished mahogany)

Price: $60-70

From the Jack Daniel’s website:

“It’s whiskey as nature intended it—bottled straight from the barrel at its full proof. Intense, smooth, and remarkably varied, Barrel Proof is bottled at anywhere from 125 to 140-proof, taking Jack’s trademark vanilla and toasted oak flavors to bold new levels.”

Company Website

jack daniel's single barrel barrel proof overview

You probably know Jack Daniel’s, so you probably have your own opinion of it already. Don’t worry, I’m like that too. There are a number of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskeys out there, and for better or worse, I’ve reviewed most of them already. Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof Tennessee Whiskey, their barrel proof / cask strength Tennessee Whiskey offering, happens to be one of the few I haven’t reviewed yet. 

The 47% ABV version of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey is actually quite good and one I recommend to any Jack Daniel’s lover. It’s one of the best whiskeys that Jack Daniel’s offers, so the barrel proof version is quite an interesting proposition. Let’s find out if the extra proof and barrel selection take Jack Daniel’s to new heights in this Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof Tennessee Whiskey review. 

jack daniel's single barrel barrel proof smell

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof comes off dark and just a little dusty with caramel, dried grassy nuttiness, freshly baked banana bread, peeled banana, very ripe apples and dark cherry, dried citrus, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The nose is pretty dark and actually quite nice. Then again, this has been sitting in a bottle less than half full for a few months and has sat in the glass for 40 minutes so the 64% ABV has had a lot of time to mellow. At first sniff, I’d guess that this was 6-8 years old, but I certainly don’t know for sure.

 

After swirling, I smell lightly musty banana nut bread coated in honey, caramel, more banana, vanilla, apple, walnuts, cinnamon, dried citrus peel, cherry extract, and maybe a little raspberry. There’s also a little mint and a faint doughiness to it, but caramelized banana and vanilla lead the pack. The heat definitely wakes up with swirling, but dissipates after a minute and settles into being noticeable in the background but out of the way. I really like the nose, so points for Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof.  

jack daniel's single barrel barrel proof taste & aftertaste

The flavors start off with a lot of caramel, ripe banana, a bite of gala apple, vanilla, oak, and cinnamon. Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof is big on flavor with a solid kick, with the heat coming in way less hot than EH Taylor Barrel Proof at 65.15%.

 

“Chewing” brings more caramel, honey, roasted banana, apple, vanilla, roasted oak, just a little dough, cinnamon, and nutmeg with a little spiced and candied walnut. The apple and banana notes especially become more pronounced with “chewing, and the flavors lean a little darker from the caramel, roasted banana, and oak. The alcohol still feels right, but can still bite at times. I do have one knock on Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof though. While it offers a big wave of flavor all at once, and I certainly enjoy that, it doesn’t ever really evolve or get better over time, so the flavors lack complexity. It’s very good still , but doesn’t wow me.

 

The finish has brighter honey, apple, banana, oak tannins, cinnamon, and mint. The banana notes really linger for a while, making this a banana-forward finish. After “chewing”, the finish has more lingering alcohol with caramel, vanilla, banana, citrus, oak, and cinnamon. Over time, it turns into honeyed citrus, banana, and just a little vegetal banana peel. The forward banana notes are very on-profile for Jack Daniel’s and Brown Forman. 

Place on the Whiskey Shelf

Mid shelf+

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof is a strong “Mid Shelf+” whiskey and the best Jack Daniel’s I’ve had by far. The nose is fantastic – resembling banana nut bread with a little extra citrus and cherry, but the flavors fall a little short. Don’t get me wrong, it’s flavorful, but it all comes in one shot and doesn’t really evolve or improve over time, so it’s not that complex and not quite worthy of a “Top Shelf” rating. Then again, Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof is a single barrel whiskey, so some barrels are going to be better and some are going to be worse. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough experience to tell you where this particular barrel ranks, but I would expect this not to be a bad one, so I bet there are “Top Shelf” barrels out there.

 

 

If you’re a whiskey lover trying to figure out if you like Jack Daniel’s, cut to the chase and try Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof first, or the 47% ABV version if the heat is too much for you. At bare minimum, its unique banana-forward personality makes it worth trying at least once. Believe me, I’ve reviewed pretty much every regularly released Jack Daniel’s whiskey, so I have some experience. The pricing is my main pain point, as it would be very compelling at $45-55, in the same realm as Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon and Knob Creek Single Barrel Bourbon. While I’m very happy to drink Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof again, the $60-70 price makes me reluctant to buy more.

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