Whiskey price

Jack Daniel’s launches super premium whiskey

For over 156 years, it’s been hard to escape this black, square-bottomed bottle of Jack Daniel’s No. 7. It’s been a prop for Frank Sinatra and Motley Crue, a key character in movies like HUD and animal house. Number 7 has been identified in a long list of hit songs by Eric Church, Hank Williams Jr, Jason Aldean and Alan Jackson, among many others.

Jack Daniel’s sells over 12 million 9-litre cases of No. 7 a year and ships it to over 170 countries. Hundreds of thousands of visitors descend on the brand’s birthplace (i.e. Lynchburg, Tennessee) each year. Jack Daniel’s is the world’s most valuable spirits brandaccording to Interbrand.

So it’s no surprise that the name Jack Daniel’s doesn’t exactly conjure images of craftsmanship.

That’s why a new Bonded expansion to Jack’s core line aims to change that notion. With it, the brand enters the world of super-premium whiskey with more artisanal expressions of Jack Daniel’s: a Bonded Tennessee Whiskey and a Triple Mash Whiskey (a blend of straight whiskeys in the Jack Daniel’s category).

This is the brand’s first super premium range extension in over 25 years.

New mix, same old Jack Daniel’s

Although the brand has had a few related Jack bottles floating around in travel retail in the past, it’s completely different – it’s bigger and more nuanced. With a mash bill of 80% corn, 12% malted barley and 8% rye, Jack Daniel’s Bonded Tennessee Whiskey is dark and rich, with a fair amount of spice despite the calmer rye content. It will play incredibly well in cocktails.

The second novelty is a Jack Daniel’s Triple Mash. It is a blend of pure whiskeys from the Jack Daniel’s catalogue, comprising 60% Jack Daniel’s rye, layered with 20% Tennessee whiskey and 20% Jack Daniel’s American malt. The liquid is aged in new oak barrels over charcoal and brought to 50% ABV. Expect banana bread burnt on the nose, with an ample mid-palate and an elegant spice of dry cinnamon. Both are delicious – very easy to sip, with unique profiles that even whiskey nerds will nod to.

And the best part? Both bottles are under $35, making them accessible to bartenders looking to game beyond Jack and Coke and fans of the brand looking to turn their passion for the brand into a silkier sip.

Despite the more procedural process, both bottles sit at an affordable price – $29.99 for the Bonded and $32.99 for the Triple Mash. Bottles are available in the United States beginning in May, with international markets rolling out later in the year.

With these releases, Jack Daniel’s embarks on a higher level of product. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, sales of super premium bourbon ($50 or more, although technically Jack is a Tennessee whiskey) have increased from 1.5 million cases to 3.5 million, or approximately 135%, over the five years between 2014 and 2019.

A Dig into Historic Jack Daniel’s

These new expressions are inspired by the history of American distillation.

Every bottle in the Bonded Series meets rigorous Bottled-in-Bond standards. In the late 1800s, many whiskeys were of dubious provenance. Alcohol was purchased in barrels, not bottles, which made it easy to alter and taint. The government has enacted the Bottled-in-Bond designation as a mark of provenance and transparency.

It forces brands to jump through many rigorous hurdles. The spirit must be aged for at least four years and bottled at precisely 100 degrees (50% abv). It must be made by a distiller at a single distillery in one season (in this case Lynchburg, Tennessee) and then aged in a bonded warehouse.

Bonded is not an easy designation to achieve. You need complete control over your sourcing, your supply chain and your distillation process – something Jack has kept within reach despite its incredible growth over the past few decades.

“The Jack Daniel Distillery has been crafting exceptional American whiskey to the highest standards for generations, before and after the Bottled in Bond Act, dating back to the days of Mr. Jack himself,” said Chris Fletcher, Master Distiller. by Jack Daniels. “Jack Daniel’s Bonded and Triple Mash are a nod to our heritage with a touch of innovation and craftsmanship. These whiskeys are another opportunity for our friends and new drinkers to explore and experience all that Jack Daniel’s has to offer.

A new area to crown Lynchburg’s glory

There have been new products in the past for Jack in the past – a Tennessee Rye, Jack’s Tennessee Fire, plus Apple and Honey, for flavored fans. There’s the very sippable Gentleman Jack, for those in the know. But this version explores the nerdier side of whiskey history (Jack Daniel Distillery is the first registered distillery in the United States, after all).

During his tenure, former Master Distiller Jeff Arnett began digging into more exclusive expressions, including single barrel options and the fantastic Coy Hill comes out. Current Master Distiller Chris Fletcher, alongside Assistant Distiller Lexie Phillips, keeps the flame alive, further exploring Jack’s artisanal roots with these two new expressions (plus more in the pipeline, the duo clue).

Consider the number of cases the brand moves per year (hint: a lot). If you’re willing to drive an hour south from Nashville, visitors can dive deep into the charcoal filtration process that makes Jack and Tennessee Whiskey as a category unique. In this town, almost every resident is connected to the distillery in one form or another. Fletcher is the grandson of former master distiller Frank Bobo, and three other relatives of Nearest Green, the distiller who taught a young Daniel his trade, now work at the distillery.

It also means Fletcher and Phillips have a full box of toys to play with, from a custom cooperage to dozens of on-site barrels filled with products to work with. They have the power to play with everything from Lynchburg’s mineral-rich underground springs to custom yeast strains to over a century of well-cataloged distillation knowledge. The single malt will be aged in new charred oak casks – Jack Daniel’s has a dedicated cask facility just across the border from Alabama, where casks are hand-assembled and charred to specification of the brand to perfectly balance the sweetness of rye and Tennessee whiskey. In keeping with the rest of Jack’s portfolio, the malt is fermented using custom yeast strains (grown in the brand’s microbiology lab) and distilled via a copper column still. For Phillips and Fletcher, there’s a custom yeast lab with a microbiologist and brand historian to catalog the details of his Jack story.

With this toolkit, Fletcher and Phillips used their veritable whiskey playground to investigate the world of American Single Malts.

You’ll notice the Triple Mash calls American malt – specifically, a Jack Daniel’s riff on American single malt. Although the liquid in this bottle is young (about five years old), Jack has aged single malts for almost a decade. One will come later this year, promises Fletcher.

Recently, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISC
CS
US) and the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission (ASMWC) have pushed the TTB to move forward with developing rules to establish a standard of identity for American Single Malt Whisky. The coalition noted that consumers would greatly benefit from a clear definition of what constitutes a single malt whiskey produced in the United States.

While smaller brands have leaned into the American Single Malt category, Jack Daniel’s is one of the first big whiskey players to jump into the American single malt space. Stranahan’s, The Notch, Westland, FEW Spirits; all the brands that have looked at their (unofficial) vision of the American single malt. But Jack has a story and a scale – they can roll out a massive amount of high-quality product while still churning out their best-selling Number 7.

If these releases are approachable and expressive, Camp Jack is ready to show off their innovative prowess. Jack refocusing on this story is a reminder of Jack’s old and still present way of making whiskey.