The first step into the world of packaged-in-bond whiskey is Jack Daniel's new Triple Mash
With the intriguing release, the rapidly expanding category gets off to a strong start.
With major distilleries entering the bottled-in-bond category and craft operations finally having whiskey old enough to qualify, the category has been expanding for some time now. There is now a bottled-in-bond whiskey from Tennessee distillery Jack Daniel’s, one of the world’s best-selling whiskey brands.
The basics of bottled-in-bond are as follows: the whiskey must be aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least four years, bottled at 100 proof, and made from one distillery.
Despite the fact that whiskey was often adulterated by unscrupulous producers with additives and other unsavory things, the Bottled in Bond Act was passed in 1897 for good reason. As a result, BIB whiskey was at least guaranteed to not be colored with shoe shine or flavored with leather straps when it was marked as such.
The BIB designation is viewed these days more as a marketing gimmick than as a useful indicator, given how strictly regulated alcohol is in the United States. In the end, it does mean something, particularly for small distilleries that have whiskey that's been aged more than four years instead of hurrying to bottle it at half its age. Because what's in the bottle must have been produced during one distilling season, it is also comparable to vintage.
As part of its Bonded Series, Jack Daniel's released two new expressions recently: Jack Daniel's Bonded Tennessee whiskey, and Jack Daniel's Triple Mash Bottled-in-Bond, which is the subject of our tasting. A higher proof version of Old No. 7, Bonded is a higher proof version of Old No. 7, made with the distillery's tried and true mash bill of 80 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, and 8 percent rye. However, the Triple Mash gives the distillery a bit of a little bit more flavor.
There are three components to this blend, 60 percent Jack Daniel's Tennessee Rye, 20 percent Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey and 20 percent Jack Daniel's American Malt, distilled at the Lynchburg distillery in Tennessee. There has been a Jack rye whiskey expression for several years now, but I was unaware they made malt whiskey, let alone 100 percent malt whiskey. Despite the lack of a definition for American single malts by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, I believe this component whiskey would meet the requirement.
On the nose, there are sweet banana and custard notes as well as baking spice. It is still very recognizably Jack Daniel's, but on the palate there are some elements that are not quite familiar. Jack's palate is quite a bit different from regular Jack, or at least goes off a bit from what you're used to. The trademark banana bread flavor is present, as are tannic spices, brandied cherries, leather wallets, bitter cocoa powders, and a pleasantly hot finish.
Although I am not one who drinks Old No. 7, Jack Daniel's has consistently released some interesting expressions in the past few years, regardless of what you think about Old No. Usually, Single Barrel whiskeys are pretty good, the Coy Hill release was probably the highest proof whiskey I've ever tried, for better or for worse, the 10-Year-Old was one of my favorites this year, and there have been some welcome surprises with Tennessee Tasters.
There’s no real reason a behemoth like Jack needs to keep making these comparably experimental whiskeys given its massive sales, but I appreciate the push to appeal to whiskey drinkers who probably don’t normally drink Jack. Triple Mash might not be an everyday pour for me, but it’s certainly an interesting one to try.