Ah, Jack Daniel’s! The subject of the most tedious discussion in all of whiskey-dom (“is it or isn’t it bourbon?”); the whiskey of choice of people with Harley Davidson and Stars and Stripes tattoos; the whiskey so ubiquitous it can’t possibly be any good. Don’t worry this is not leading up to a review in which I will reveal that it is in fact very good. No, it’s only leading up to a review in which I discover that it’s…surprisingly decent. Why surprising? Well, because—being a whisky snob—I hadn’t actually had any Jack Daniel’s in well over a decade and had no memory of it. “A likely story,” you say, “that bottle in your ratty photograph is less than half-full”. As it happens, I have no idea as to how this bottle came into my possession. My guess is someone brought it to a party and left it behind. (It’s no crime: in my time I have foisted many bottles of dubious liquor onto other people.) Anyway, I thought I’d reviewed it a while ago but it turns out I’d only meant to review it but hadn’t actually gotten around to doing it. Well, now I have.
Jack Daniel’s (40%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Corn, aniseed, dusty wood; maybe a bit of dill. Quite pleasant. Not much change over time. Water brings out a bit of vanilla and emphasizes the herbal note.
Palate: It doesn’t make as much of an impression here at first. On the whole, I’d say a thinness characterizes both the texture and the flavour. There’s a bit of that corn sweetness, some charcoal (or something acrid at any rate), and then some wood. With time there’s a menthol coolness. Gets spicier as it goes. Indeed, it’s soon more wood-driven than corn-driven. With more time there’s a bit of an astringent chemical note but it’s not overbearing. Water blanks almost everything and makes it sour.
Finish: Medium. Longer than expected given the thinness of the palate. Nothing new here but it also doesn’t fall apart. As on the palate with water.
Comments: I have to say that this is quite drinkable, pleasant bourbon. It doesn’t pose any challenges or offer any complexities and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Hell, I’d drink it happily if it was the only available whiskey. And if the palate were on par with the nose I’d recommend it strongly at the price. As it is, it’s fair value—though I’d take the regular Evan Williams over it when it comes to sub-$20 square bottles with black labels. Diluting it further is not recommended.
Rating: 78 points.