Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey: The Ultimate Bottle Guide

There are few things more quintessentially American than a good glass of whiskey, and when it comes to whiskey, few brands are as iconic as Jack Daniel's. Since its founding in 1866, Jack Daniel's has become a household name and a symbol of American craftsmanship. One of the things that set Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 apart from other whiskeys is its smoothness. 

This mouthfeel comes partly due to the charcoal filtering process, but it's also because the whiskey is aged in new, charred oak barrels for a minimum of four years. This aging process allows the whiskey to mellow and develop its complex flavors and aromas. Among their many offerings, Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey stands out as one of their most popular and enduring products. Whether you're a seasoned whiskey drinker or a newcomer to the world of spirits, Old No. 7 is a bottle worth exploring.

History of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey

The history of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey is a captivating tale of dedication, craftsmanship, and an unwavering commitment to quality. Born in 1849, Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel was raised in Lynchburg, where he learned whiskey-making from a local distiller named Dan Call. When Jack was still a teenager, Call recognized his talent and entrusted him with the distillery operations. In 1866, Jack Daniel's Distillery was officially established, becoming the first registered distillery in the United States.

The exact origin of the name "Old No. 7" remains a mystery, with several theories proposed. Some believe it refers to the original distillery location, while others suggest it may have been Jack's lucky number. Regardless of its origin, Old No. 7 has become synonymous with tradition and quality.

In 1907, Jack Daniel handed the distillery to his nephew, Lem Motlow. Despite significant challenges during Prohibition, Motlow's leadership ensured the distillery's survival. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey was ready to reclaim its place as a beloved American spirit.

What does Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey taste like?

A key aspect of appreciating any whiskey is understanding its flavor profile, and Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey is no exception. As you take your first sip of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7, you'll immediately notice its signature smoothness, thanks to the Lincoln County Process of charcoal mellowing. The palate is rich and full-bodied, featuring a harmonious combination of sweet and savory flavors. Caramel, vanilla, and butterscotch are complemented by the subtle warmth of cinnamon and a touch of smokiness from the charred oak barrels.

The finish of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 is medium in length and leaves a lasting impression. As the flavors linger on your palate, you'll detect hints of sweetness, oak, and gentle spice. The whiskey's drawn flavors make it a pleasure to savor, inviting you to take another sip and discover even more nuances in its flavor profile.

While Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 can certainly be enjoyed neat or on the rocks, it also lends itself well to a variety of cocktails. Its versatile flavor profile makes it an excellent choice for whiskey-based beverages like an Old Fashioned, in a Whiskey Sour recipe, or as part of a classic Manhattan cocktail. Additionally, it pairs beautifully with cola or ginger ale for a simple, refreshing mixed drink.

Different types of Jack Daniel's whiskeys

While Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey is undoubtedly the star of the show, Jack Daniel's brand offers an impressive range of Jack Daniel's whiskeys to suit various tastes and preferences.

First up, we have Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select. This premium whiskey is hand-selected from the finest barrels in Jack Daniel's rickhouses. Single Barrel Select boasts a richer, more robust flavor profile than Old No. 7, with pronounced oak notes, spice, and fruit. There's also Gentleman Jack. Crafted as a smoother, refined counterpart to Old No. 7, Gentleman Jack undergoes a second charcoal mellowing process after maturation. This extra step results in an exceptionally silky, agreeable whiskey with delicate caramel and vanilla accents.

Another popular line is Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire, a dynamic offering that brings together the familiar taste of Old No. 7 with the bold heat of cinnamon liqueur. The combination creates a warming, piquant whiskey perfect for those who enjoy a little kick in their glass.

A special edition of Jack Daniel's whiskey called Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select was created in honor of Frank Sinatra, a loyal Jack Daniel's enthusiast. This limited-edition whiskey is aged in specially crafted "Sinatra barrels" with deep grooves carved into the staves. This process allows for more significant interaction between the whiskey and the wood, resulting in a bold and nuanced spirit.

What makes Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 unique?

One of the most defining features of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 is its unique charcoal mellowing method that involves handcrafting charcoal from sugar maple wood. The wood is burned on-site at the distillery, and the resulting charcoal is packed into large vats. The freshly distilled whiskey is then slowly filtered through the charcoal, removing impurities and imparting a smooth, mellow character.

The distinctive recipe of Old No. 7 whiskey is yet another fascinating aspect of this beloved spirit. The formula for Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 has remained essentially unchanged since its creation by Jasper "Jack" Daniel in the 1860s. The whiskey is crafted using a mash bill of 80% corn, 12% barley, and 8% rye, resulting in a sweet and approachable flavor profile that has stood the test of time.

The legacy of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey has been further cemented by its iconic square bottle and distinctive black-and-white label. The label's bold design and striking typography make it instantly recognizable on shelves worldwide, thus solidifying its status as a true icon in the whiskey world.

How is Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey made?

The production process of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey is an art form combining time-honored traditions with meticulous attention to detail. The first step in creating Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 is selecting the finest grains, including corn, rye, and malted barley. The grains are then ground into a fine meal and mixed with limestone-filtered water from the distillery's cave spring. This mixture, known as the mash, is then cooked in large vats to convert the starches into fermentable sugars.

Yeast is added to the mash, kickstarting the fermentation process. The fermentation lasts for several days, after which the mash becomes a liquid known as "distiller's beer." The distiller's beer is then heated in copper stills, separating the alcohol from the water and other impurities. At this stage, the freshly distilled whiskey undergoes the Lincoln County Process, a unique charcoal mellowing method used to produce Tennessee Whiskey. After charcoal mellowing, the whiskey is placed in newly charred American white oak barrels to mature. Over time, the whiskey interacts with the charred oak, developing its rich color, complex flavors, and smooth texture.

Once the whiskey has reached the desired level of maturity, it's carefully removed from the barrels and diluted with limestone-filtered water to achieve the final bottling proof. The whiskey is then bottled, labeled, and ready to be enjoyed by whiskey enthusiasts worldwide.

How to drink Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey?

One simple and most traditional way to enjoy Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 is to drink it neat without ice, water, or mixers. Pour a small measure of the whiskey into a whiskey glass, and take your time to appreciate the aroma, flavor, and smooth finish. This method allows you to experience the whiskey's true character, unadulterated by additional ingredients.

The classic whiskey highball is a popular way to enjoy Old No. 7 in a refreshing, easy-to-drink cocktail. Fill a tall glass with ice, add a measure of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7, and top with soda water or ginger ale. Give it a gentle stir and garnish with a lemon twist or a sprig of fresh mint. You can also try drinking Old No. 7 on the rocks if you prefer chilled whiskey. As the ice slowly melts, it will release additional flavors and aromas in the whiskey, creating a subtly evolving drinking experience.

Another iconic way to enjoy Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 is in a Jack and Coke, garnished with a lime wedge for added brightness. Whiskey lovers can now rejoice as Jack Daniel's and Coca-Cola have now released a canned Jack and Coke cocktail.

Is Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 expensive?

When it comes to whiskey, the price can often indicate the quality, rarity, or prestige associated with a particular brand. However, Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey focuses on delivering a consistently great-tasting and accessible whiskey that a wide range of drinkers can enjoy.

Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 is typically priced at a level that makes it a budget-friendly option for those looking to enjoy quality whiskey without breaking the bank. While prices may vary depending on location, taxes, and other factors, Old No. 7 generally retails for around $25 to $30 for a standard 750ml bottle. This puts it within reach for most whiskey enthusiasts and those who are just starting to explore the world of spirits.

While there are certainly more expensive whiskeys on the market that boast unique flavor profiles or limited production runs, Old No. 7 provides a solid and reliable choice for those seeking an enjoyable and accessible whiskey at a reasonable cost. 

What sets the Tennessee Whiskey apart from other whiskeys?

One factor that sets Tennessee whiskey apart is its high corn content. Like Bourbon, Tennessee whiskey must contain at least 51% corn in its mash bill. This high corn content contributes to the whiskey's natural sweetness and approachability, making it appealing to a wide range of palates. The remaining grains in the mash bill can include rye, wheat, or malted barley, each of which lends its own unique flavors to the final product.

Although not a technical attribute of the whiskey, the fact that Tennessee whiskey is produced exclusively in Tennessee adds to its uniqueness and special quality. The state has a long history of producing whiskey, and Tennessee whiskey is recognized as a distinct type of whiskey under federal law.

The Tennessee whiskey's aging process also makes it distinctive from other whiskeys. Tennessee whiskey, much like Bourbon, must be aged in new, charred oak barrels. The charring process caramelizes the wood sugars, imparting a rich, deep color and complex flavors to the whiskey as it matures. The interaction between the whiskey and the charred barrel is essential in creating the distinctive taste of Tennessee whiskey.

How to properly store Jack Daniel's Old No. 7

Once you've got your hands on a bottle of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, it's essential to store it properly to maintain quality and flavor over time. Whether you're a casual whiskey drinker or an avid collector, proper storage is key to ensuring that your Old No. 7 remains in tip-top condition.

The ideal storage temperature for whiskey is around 59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Extreme temperature fluctuations can cause the whiskey to expand and contract within the bottle, potentially affecting its taste and quality. To avoid this issue, store your Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 in a cool, temperature-controlled environment like a basement or a wine cooler.

Maintaining a consistent humidity level while storing your whiskey is also important. A moderate humidity level of 50-70% is best for whiskey storage. Too much humidity can cause the cork to deteriorate and mold, while too little humidity can cause the cork to dry out and allow air into the bottle. If you live in a particularly dry or humid area, consider using a humidity-controlled storage solution like a wine cooler.

You should also make sure to never store your whiskey on its side. The high alcohol content in whiskey can deteriorate the cork if the bottle is stored on its side, potentially leading to a tainted taste. Keeping your Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 bottle upright will ensure the cork remains in good condition and the whiskey stays fresh.

The Tennessee Whiskey won the Whiskey of the Year award in 2022

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey has long been celebrated as a benchmark in the world of spirits, gaining a well-deserved reputation for its consistent quality and rich history. Over the years, this iconic whiskey has earned numerous awards and accolades from prestigious competitions and industry experts, further solidifying its status as a true classic.

In 2022, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey was awarded the coveted title of "Whisky of the Year" by Whisky Advocate. The publication's reviewers sampled hundreds of whiskeys and looked at quality, value, and availability to determine the annual Top 20. This esteemed recognition is a testament to the exceptional quality and craftsmanship that goes into producing this fine whiskey

Jack Daniel's has also ranked 81st in Interbrand's Best Global Brand 2021 report, which analyzes the financial performance, competitive strength, and role in purchase decisions of leading global brands. The whiskey brand is valued at $6.537 billion and was also in the top 100 in the year 2020.

Jack Daniel's has a unique water source

When it comes to making a Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, every bottle starts with water from one special spring. The spring, known as the Cave Spring Hollow, is located on the distillery grounds and is the primary water source for Jack Daniel's. The spring water is the real secret ingredient in Jack Daniel's whiskeys as the water from the spring is used to create the mash, which undergoes fermentation and distillation to produce the beloved whiskey. The water is also used to proof the whiskey before it is bottled and distributed.

One of the unique aspects of Cave Spring Hollow is the limestone rock formations that surround it. The rocks act as a natural filter, removing impurities and minerals from the water and imparting a refreshing, crisp taste. In addition to its filtration capabilities, the limestone also plays a role in maintaining the optimal pH balance of the water.

Over the years, the Cave Spring Hollow has become a beloved part of Jack Daniel's brand. The spring is featured on the label of every bottle of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7, a testament to its significance to the brand.

Jack Daniel's has their own fire brigade

One of Jack Daniel's brand's most interesting and lesser-known aspects is that the company has its own fire department. The Jack Daniel's Distillery Fire Brigade is a professional firefighting team responsible for keeping the distillery safe and secure. Established in 1930, this fully equipped team is essential to the distillery's safety measures. The brigade is made up of employees of the distillery who are trained and certified as firefighters. These dedicated professionals are always on call, 24/7, to respond to any emergency on the distillery grounds.

A distinctive feature of the Jack Daniel's Distillery Fire Brigade is that it operates as a group of volunteers. Becoming a Jack Daniel's Distillery Fire Brigade member is no easy feat. Interested employees must undergo a rigorous training program and pass a series of tests to obtain their firefighter certification. Once certified, these dedicated employees become an integral part of the firefighting team and take on the important responsibility of ensuring the distillery's and its employees' safety.

The whiskey barrels are produced in-house and are used only once

The process of creating their own whiskey barrels is a distinctive and fascinating aspect of the Jack Daniel's distillery, as they use them for only one cycle of aging. Jack Daniel's barrels are made from American white oak, known for their strength and durability. The barrels are constructed at the distillery's cooperage, where the staves are cut, shaped, and assembled.

After the barrel is constructed, it is charred inside to give the whiskey its distinctive smoky flavor. The amount of charring can vary, depending on the desired flavor profile for the whiskey. Once the barrel is charred, it is filled with new make whiskey and left to age in one of the distillery's many storage houses. During the aging process, the whiskey absorbs flavor and color from the charred oak, which gives it its characteristic taste and aroma.

After the whiskey has aged, the barrel is emptied and disposed of. While this may seem wasteful, the reason for Jack Daniel's to use its whiskey barrels only once is to maintain the quality and consistency of its whiskey. Reusing a barrel can result in a loss of flavor and quality, as the charred oak has already imparted its unique characteristics to the whiskey during the first aging process. 

Static Media owns and operates Tasting Table and Mashed.