It's the Distillery's True Fans who'll Love Uncle Nearest's New Master Blend Edition

It's the Distillery's True Fans who'll Love Uncle Nearest's New Master Blend Edition
Courtesy of Distiller

Tennessee distillery's new release is distinctive.

In the new Master Blend Edition, Uncle Nearest has reached a significant milestone. The whiskey does not yet come from the new Shelbyville, TN distillery. This facility opened its doors recently, so it will be several years before we get to try any of the actual whiskey distilled there, which will be produced in small batches. However, this is the brand's first Tennessee whiskey distilled by contract.

The new Master Blend Edition of Uncle Nearest was distilled and aged to specifications set by Uncle Nearest, unlike the whiskey Uncle Nearest has previously been bottling sourced from other distilleries where it was produced and aged. There are barrels laid down in this blend in 2017, so it is around 4.5 years old. This whiskey differs greatly from anything else you've tried from Uncle Nearest.

The brand is named after Nathan “Nearest” Green, who began making whiskey in Tennessee while enslaved in the 1850s. The first master distiller for Jack Daniel's, he is now credited with teaching Jack Daniel the trade, and Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey was created by entrepreneur Fawn Weaver in 2016.

A distant descendant of Green, Victoria Eady Butler became the first Black woman to be a master blender in American whiskey history. In addition to helping Green's descendants pay for school, she is the director of the Nearest Green Foundation. As a result of Uncle Nearest's popularity, it has recently been paired with another Blackowned brand, Ten to One, to produce a rum that was aged in Uncle Nearest 1856 whiskey barrels, resulting in a very tasty rum.

It is bottled at 59.2 percent ABV, making it a higher-proof whiskey. The nose is fragrant with florals and fresh apple notes, along with some cinnamon and a whiff of alcohol. While there are some fruitiness and wood notes underneath a base of chocolate, orange, and salted caramel, this is clearly a younger whiskey. On the palate, this is clearly a young whiskey, but not immature either. In spite of the fact that the brand does not reveal where its whiskey is sourced or contracted to be distilled, the most likely location to source George Dickel has always been Cascade Hollow.

Based on the age of the whiskey in the core lineup as well as its nutty, grainy flavor profile that reminds me of Tennessee’s second best-known whiskey, this makes sense. There are none of those notes in this whiskey. Perhaps by design or perhaps due to the whiskey’s relatively young age, those notes are not present. There is no doubt that this is Tennessee whiskey. That is to say that it has been produced here in the state, and that it goes through the Lincoln County process before it is bottled, which involves filtering the spirits through charcoal that has been made from sugar maples.

There are limited amounts of Uncle Nearest Master Blend available for purchase at the distillery itself for the time being, and supplies are limited. Would it be worth your time to travel to Tennessee to get your hands on a bottle of it? Perhaps you should consider it only if you're a true Uncle Nearest fan, or if you're just interested in watching the brand grow. Despite the fact that this is a decent whiskey by itself, it is more noteworthy for what it represents, and it is a sign that things are going well for the distillery.

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