Gentleman Jack Whiskey
When I started blind tasting whisky, I looked forward to being pleasantly surprised by whiskies that I normally wouldn’t give a chance. Gentleman Jack is one of those whiskies! I don’t know how many times I’ve glanced past a bottle without even a second look. I even remember visiting Siz in Nashville and he was drinking some Gentleman Jack. He asked if I had ever tried it and I just sort of scoffed at him. I know, not my finest moment. Man was I wrong about this whisky!
Gentleman Jack is a Tennessee whisky that is produced at the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The distilleries namesake, Jack Daniel, was born around 1850 (no exact date is known). After his father died in the Civil war, he ran away from home and was eventually taken in by a preacher and moonshine distiller named Dan Call. How awesome is that? Mr. Call naturally began teaching the teenage Jack Daniel how to distill. When Jack Daniel eventually received his inheritance, Mr. Call joined him in founding what would later become the Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow Prop, Inc. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Call left the company and Jack Daniel took over.
The second half of the company name comes from Jack Daniel’s nephew, Lem Motlow. He ended up inheriting the company from his uncle. During prohibition, Mr. Motlow had actually became a Tennessee State Senator. When prohibition was repealed by the federal government, it was still in effect at the state level in Tennessee. Because he was both a State Senator and a distiller, Mr. Motlow was a driving force in the state prohibition laws being repealed. Now that’s what I call a politician! The Distillery stayed in Jack Daniel’s family from its inception until it was sold to the Brown-Forman Corporation in 1956.
The nose is where this whisky really shines. This is one of the most pleasant aromas that I’ve experienced. Talk about a fruity nose! Green apple and pear is the most dominant aroma that I pick up. I was surprised at how distinct these notes were. After you get past the fruity notes, you begin picking up some of the aromas from the barrel such as vanilla and honey. I really can’t say enough about the nose on this whisky. I could spend all night nosing this whisky! It makes me want to get to the tasting, so let’s see if it lives up to the nose.
Before I get into the actual tasting, I feel like I should give some information on what makes Gentleman Jack different from Old No.7 because it has a drastic effect on the taste. All Jack Daniel’s products use what’s called the Lincoln County Process. This is just the name for the process of filtering the whisky using sugar maple charcoal. What makes Gentleman Jack different is that it is charcoal filtered not only before barreling, but also before bottling. This style of filtering removes impurities from the whiskey and mellows it out. While this definitely produces a smoother whisky, it can also strip some of the complexities from the whisky if overdone.
While this may not be the most complex whisky out there, it is one of the smoothest and easiest drinking whisky’s I’ve had. It was so smooth that when I first blind tasted it, I thought it was a blended scotch. This may be a bit too presumptuous, but I feel that’s what Jack Daniel’s was going for when they created Gentleman Jack. If that’s the case, I think they did a great job!
As far as the actual tasting notes, I get much of the same notes as in the nose, only not quite as pronounced. The green apple is still there but the more mellow taste of pear is what I get the most of initially. There is also some vanilla and honey notes there, as well as just a hint of spice.
Just like the rest of the experience, the finish is mellow as well. You get the usual wood notes and also some leather. This comes on as smooth as is leaves. Although it doesn’t linger too long, it is a pleasant finish to a surprising whisky.
This is a twist on a classic mint julep cocktail, but for a gentleman (or gentlewoman)! To get everyone transported to a nice sunny summer day, I thought this would be the perfect cocktail.
- 2 parts Gentleman Jack
- 1 KISS Spearmint-Infused Simple Syrup
- Crushed ice
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake for a few seconds. Strain into a DOF glass. I used the Reidel H2O DOF Glass since I think it’s one of the best looking glasses I’ve seen and would showcase the cocktail. After you’ve strained the delicious concoction into the glass take a couple spoon fulls of the ice from the shaker and put into glass. Then Enjoy! It’s delicious and I’m sold on the KISS Simple Syrup. This was super easy to make and was one of the best mint julep’s I’ve had.
As you can probably tell by now, I thought Gentleman Jack was a rather enjoyable whisky. When I was looking at other reviews of Gentleman Jack, I was surprised at some people knocking it for being too mellow. I look at it this way; there is a whisky (drink) for any occasion/mood. Just as many of us tend to gravitate towards darker, more robust beer in the winter and at night, the same can be said for any drink. Sometimes we want a nice, smooth, easy-drinking whisky and that’s what Gentleman Jack is. There is nothing wrong with that!
I also feel like the fact that I blind tasted this whisky removed some of my preconceived notions of it. Next time you decide to grab yourself a bottle of Gentleman Jack, try a blind tasting for your friends and/or family and enjoy their surprised reactions when you tell them it is Gentleman Jack! This also wouldn’t be a bad beginner whisky to introduce your friends to the wonderful world of whisky. If you are looking for an easy-drinking whisky and wanted to try something other than a blended scotch, this is for you.