Over a quarter million people per year make the pilgrimage to the Jack Daniel’s distillery, and I’m one of them!
Day drinking, yes it’s glamorized in song and more than likely you’ve done it while on vacation. Yet, day drinking can be educational. But, only if you do it right, or incorporate a tour of the Jack Daniel’s distillery along the way.
The time between Christmas and New Years I don’t travel much for business. Last year (2016) I took a tour of the Jack Daniel’s distillery. It’s located in Lynchburg, TN, which isn’t close to anything, but it’s worth the journey.
I’ve been a Jack Daniel’s fan since I was in my teens, yes we could drink at 18 back then. We were responsible and so were our parents, google it.
Here’s a tip, leave your purse in the car. Slip your license (you’ll need it) and a debit card in your pocket.
Once on the property, we were greeted with manicured foliage. As well as a giant whiskey barrel Christmas tree.
The visitor center is full of memorabilia and details that cover the Jack Daniel’s story. The distillery offers 5 different tours, which can all be booked online. I went with The Angel’s Share since it included samples. It cost me $22.00, and was well worth it.
The tour starts with a bus ride up the hill to the “Rickyard” The “Rickyard” is where maple goes to die. One of Jack Daniel’s selling points is that its charcoal mellowed. That charcoal comes from the “Rickyard”. During the process, the whiskey is dripped through 10′ of “Rickyard” charcoal. That charcoal mellows the whiskey as well as adds to the color. For each tree, harvested Jack Daniel’s plants eight new trees. The charcoal remnants are recycled, then sold as Jack Daniel’s Charcoal, complete sustainability.
That’s Jason in the front and Jack in the back. Jason was our tour guide and he had more adventures than a bowl of Alpha-Bits cereal. Do yourself a favor and wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be doing lots of walking.
My favorite part of the tour was the Single Barrel Society room. Here’s the skinny…. let’s say you’re enjoying that bottle of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7. Guess what there’s no other bottle in the world that tastes exactly like that one. The reason is that they combine a multitude of distilled barrels into a run. The temperature, age and humidity of each barrel influences the taste of that run. It can’t be reproduced again. That’s where the Single Barrel Society comes in. If you have between $10,000.00 and $12,000.00, depending on your states taxes and legislation. You can buy your own barrel with that consistent taste.
The question now becomes, “What do I get for 10k?”
- The entire yield of your selected barrel. On average, that’s around 240 bottles of 750ml/700ml whiskey shipped in six-bottle cases.
- Personalized bottles, including the barrel number, barrelhouse, rick number, and bottling date, plus any name or occasion you choose to provide
- Personalized gift boxes (optional)
- Crystal decanter with rocks glasses
- Personalized framed certificate signed and authenticated by our Master Distiller
- A special plaque in the Jack Daniel’s Personal Selection Room in Lynchburg to commemorate your selection
- Personalized barrelhead from your selection (entire barrel not included)
10k is too rich for my blood, and my liver. Yet, I did leave with a single barrel bottle, engraved for an extra $15.00. It’s still intact 11 months later, a “Holy Grail” leave behind for the Chateau’ Relaxo children.
The tour ended, thank God, in that tasting room. This is where Jason shined as he stepped us through all 5 of the samplings. I’m a whiskey/bourbon guy and Jason described the mouth and throat feel as we sipped each offering. The Sinatra Select, at close to $200.00 per bottle was my favorite.
If you happen to be near Nashville, TN or Chattanooga, TN the Jack Daniel’s distillery is a great stop. Take the tour, and you might learn a few things….
- You can’t buy Jack Daniel’s at the distillery – The county is dry so you can’t buy whiskey. However, there is nothing prohibiting the sale of commemorative bottles. A bottle that’s around the same price as a bottle of Gentleman Jack, and just happens to come filled with the same product.
- The trees on the property are covered in a black moss – That’s because the trees have been tainted by Baudoinia compniacensis — a whiskey fungus that’s found near distilleries.
- Frank Sinatra was buried with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s – And they offer a Frank Sinatra bottling in return.
- The difference between bourbon and whiskey is the charcoal – That’s what the “Rickyard” is for.
- Duty-free shoppers buy a bunch of Jack Daniel’s – Over 880,00 cases each year.
- No dates needed – No one knows when a batch is ready for bottling, except for the master distiller. He goes by look, taste and smell, a job I’d love to have.
I’m a sucker for whiskey, beer or wine tours and Jack Daniel’s didn’t disappoint. The neighboring town of Lynchburg, TN is as welcoming as it gets.
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