I feel a little like I’m going about this wrong – writing about Gentleman Jack before the standard Jack Daniels. Gentleman Jack is the middle offering in the Jack Daniel’s, Gentleman Jack, and Jack Daniels Single Barrel, so it would seem natural to start with the first rung of the ladder. Unfortunately, college provided me with too many tasting experiences of the standard Jack Daniel’s to be as unbiased as I’d like. The Gentlemanly variety, then, provides something of a fresh start for this popular brand.
The difference between GJ and JD seems to be only that the whiskey is charcoal filtered twice instead of once. Presumably this will make it a little smoother. There’s also no age statement, providing them with some flexibility with this line.
– $30 – 40
– 80 proof
– Made by Jack Daniel’s
Gentleman Jack’s bottle has a wide-set shoulder, with a slight slope on the way down to the base. The front sports a silver label emblazoned with its name and the descriptor “Rare Tennessee Whiskey”. Beneath this, embossed on the glass is Jack’s signature. Otherwise, the bottle is pretty clean and simple, showing off the stuff inside.
Gentleman Jack is very sweet to the nose – corn, fresh grass, and reasonably strong oak. It is indeed very smooth, clean start to clean finish. In the middle, though, there’s a bit of a crunchy, grainy aspect that fodes quickly to a warm char on the roof of the mouth.
Gentleman Jack is – as advertised – quite smooth. Unfortunately, there’s not too much else going on in there. I’ll give this a try with some cocktails and see how it holds up. In the end, however, this probably won’t be making too many appearances for me.
Michter’s has been one of those whiskeys that I think about buying every time I’m stocking up, but never do. It is in most liquor stores in the city that have anything approaching a decent whiskey selection so it’s easy to turn up the opportunity to buy it with the ‘there’s always next time’ rationale. Well, this past Sunday was the ‘next time’ I suppose, because I finally picked up a bottle of Michter’s American Whiskey.
What makes it American whiskey as opposed to bourbon? It seems that the difference lies in their use of “bourbon soaked” oak barrels (i.e. previously used barrels) and the use of their unelaborated “signature filtration” process. This should be an interesting counterpart to some of the other selections from Kentucky on this blog.
– 83.4 proof
– Bottled by Michter’s American Whiskey Company
Michter’s American comes in a bottle with a reasonable diameter and tall-ish neck – largely a design which doesn’t stand out and is only a step different than the standard well bottles. The front label is a blue, rough-edged oval edged by a mottled grey border. In the middle is an image of a pot still surrounded by text in ever-larger rings. The outermost of these text rings brags that MAW is distilled according to “pre-Revolutionary War” quality standards – which I have to say it not much comfort considering the fresh-off-the-still stuff they probably drank back then.
I do like the double-banded binding on the neck and cork. Adorned sparsel with stars against a dark blue, this feature exudes a restrained but nonetheless present patriotism.
The nose on this one has a bit of depth to it, fresh cream, malted barley (?), raspberries. A little confused about the malted barley here, but it could just be whatever rye elements are in the mash mixing with the other scents.
Taste: Very smooth. Initally there’s that rye undertone that’s overtaken by lemon candy, fresh corn, and then moving to a syrupy-sweet taste. It ends with a rye-like bitterness and a warm finish of moderate length.
This is not my favorite. I tend to be drawn to whiskeys that have a bit more depth to them and some sharper edges, and this isn’t exactly what I’ve got here. Perhaps contradictorily, however, I can definitely see myself drinking this regularly. It’s a fine whiskey that’s easy to get into and doesn’t provoke much thought. The lack of depth here works in its favor as an every-day sort of drink since what it does display is actually pretty good.