Food & Drink

The Old Is New Again: Jack releases first aged-stated whiskey in over 100 years with new 10-year

Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Chris Fletcher shows off the distillery’s latest bottle, the first aged-stated whiskey to come out of Lynchburg in over 100 years. (Photo Credit: Jack Daniel’s Distillery)

By Tabitha Evans Moore | Editor & Publisher

It’s Tuesday and Jack Daniel’s Distillery Master Distiller Chris Fletcher sits in an office once occupied by his grandfather, Frank Bobo, who served as Master Distiller from 1966 to 1989. Behind him are paths once walked by Jasper Newton Daniel himself. As he begins a virtual tasting for lucky media folks like me, he talks about the single thread that one could pull from Jack’s days in The Holler to the bottle he holds in his hand, the new Jack Daniel’s 10-Year-Old Tennessee Whiskey. And that thread is the DNA of Old No. 7.

“This 10 year-old whiskey is based on the traditional Tennessee whiskey recipe that we do here, which is 80 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, and eight percent rye,” he explains. “Everything is made the same as Old No. 7 all the way through except for the maturation.”

Fletcher says the project is meant to be a nod to the generations of whiskey makers that came before him while using innovation to make the best whiskey possible. It’s first aged-stated whiskey to come out of the Lynchburg in over 100 years.

“This wasn’t about chasing a number. It was about recreating a product that Jack himself would have done and putting the best liquid in the bottle that we possibly could.”

A Long History of Aged-Stated Whiskey

Aged-stated whiskies are not a new concept at Jack Daniel’s just one that hasn’t been visited in a while. Anyone who’s ever walked the halls near the Master Distiller Chris Fletcher and Assistant Distiller Lexie Phillips offices has passed shelves lined with historic bottles from Jack’s time labeled as 10-year, 12-year, even 21-year whiskey.

“I think leaning into our history is very interesting,” Fletcher says. “When you see all these older bottles with these age statements that are also labeled Old No. 7, it made me think if Jack could do it then, why can’t we do it now? I would love to recreate a whole series that mimics exactly what Jack did.”

The new bottle looks like something that might have come from Jack’s days. In fact, the label on the new iteration pays tribute to those first age-stated bottles. Each label of the new 10-Year-Old features a hand-drawn version of the original cartouche that appeared on those early bottle over a century ago. The distillery also plans to make the aged-stated bottles an annual release and each will be labeled with a batch number.

The 10-Year-Old bottle design is also inspired by the brand’s history, featuring a hand-drawn iteration of the original cartouche that appeared on Jack Daniel’s aged-stated bottles a century ago. (Photo Credit: Jack Daniel’s Distillery)

The Mother Culture of Jack Daniel’s

It took 10 long, hot Tennessee summers to produce the new whiskey. Fletcher says the he and the team managed to hand-craft the new product from whiskey aged in oak barrels that were relocated throughout local barrelhouses to extend the aging process. The 200 barrels used for the limited edition whiskey were all fermented here in Lynchburg from the yeast strain folks in The Holler refer to as the Mother Culture — yeast that’s been used continuously to make every bottle of Jack Daniels since 1938.

“Traditionally, if you weren’t making your own yeast, you weren’t making whiskey,” Fletcher explains. “When my grandfather started here in 1957, we kept it in the creek behind me. We don’t keep it in the creek any more. It’s cared for by our microbiologist but it’s a very historical piece of our process.”

The new 10 year-old pours a deep, rich amber, which hints as it’s smoothness. After maturing in the top floors of local barrelhouses where the heat would have evaporated the water giving the whiskey a higher proof, warehousing staff moved the barrels to the lower, cooler, more humid floors — a move that slowed down the maturation process and softened the whiskey.

Even if you were blindfolded, you’d recognize the whiskey as Jack Daniel’s by it’s sweet, fruit forward nose but where traditional Old No. 7 hints at ripe pears and apples this 10-year smells more like raisins or figs covered in molasses. The unmistakable charcoal heat that makes any Jack a bottle of Jack is present but it’s a slow, mellow burn. The finish reminds you of dried oak or even a note or two of tobacco.

I tried it neat, with a cube or two of ice, and in a Manhattan and all three were exceptional.

Will Hit Local Shelves in September

Early September is an apropos release date for a whiskey meant to honor Jasper Newton Daniel more famously known as Jack Daniel because September is his assumed birth month. Born the youngest on 10 children to Calaway and Lucinda Daniel, Jack’s real birthdate is unknown. Local lore contends that his birth certificate was destroyed in an area courthouse fire.

The new 10-Year-Old Tennessee Whiskey will experience a wide release across the U.S., however, even folks who work locally at the distillery have so far had a hard time getting their hands on a bottle, and the buzz with this one (pun intended) is strong. This batch comes from just 200 or so barrels that came out at 97 proof, so if you see a bottle, you should definitely snag it while you can.

“The current state of American whiskey is that people are really interested in trying something different,” Fletcher says. “And so far, folks have been very interested in trying a 10-year old whiskey that hasn’t been around since Mr. Jack himself was walking around outside this window.”

According to a press release, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey 10-Year-Old will retail for $70 in a 750ml size with the first batch hitting shelves in limited quantities in early September across the U.S. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only daily newspaper in Lynchburg. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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