The Jack Daniel Distillery has added the first new permanent expression of its Tennessee Whiskey in 25 years: Bonded.
As stipulated by the United States’ Bottled in Bond Act of 1897, a bonded whiskey:
- must be distilled by a single distiller during a single season,
- matured in a government bonded warehouse for at least four years and
- bottled at 100 proof – (or 50 per cent ABV in Australia).
“Bottled in Bond” is a guarantee of a whisky’s authenticity: consumers know where it is made and who made it. And the distillers only pay tax on the whisky when it moves out of that bonded warehouse and is bottled, labelled and ready to ship and sell all over the world.
Master Distiller at Jack Daniel’s, Chris Fletcher, explained, “Regulation forces disclosure of provenance and we are proud of our heritage. Every drop of whisky is made right here in Lynchburg.”
It is one rich heritage and that really strikes in Australia we have only been making whisky for thirty years. By contrast, the Jack Daniel Distillery has weathered some fairly major storms as the first registered distillery in the US in 1866. Production at Jack Daniel has only ever been stopped three times: during Prohibition, World War I and when the grain was not up to scratch. Pretty major.
So, this latest innovation from Jack Daniel’s comes from a long line of rich stories and whisky making. Mr Fletcher describes Bonded as a “big, bold, single barrel expression; a spirit forward” liquid that works well neat or in cocktails.
He has worked at the Jack Daniel Distillery since 2001 and his grandfather, Frank Thomas Bobo, was the head distiller there from 1966-1989. His grandmother, Avalee Reed Bobo, worked there too.
Asked what he thought Jack Daniel and his father would think of Bonded, he said, “I’d like to think there are a couple of guys up in those heavens looking down on us and smiling with pride.”
Just to clarify, Jack Daniel’s makes Tennessee Whiskey, not Bourbon.
“All Tennessee Whiskey is Bourbon but not all Bourbon is Tennessee Whiskey,” says Mr Fletcher.
Bourbon must be:
- Made in the USA.
- Made with at least 51 per cent corn mash
- Distilled at no higher than 40 per cent ABV
- Charred in a new American oak barrel at no higher than 62.5% ABV
- The only additive can be water to lessen the ABV if necessary
- It must be aged for a minimum of two years.
Jack Daniel’s Bonded is made with the original recipe of 80 per cent corn, 12 per cent malted barley, and 8 per cent rye and has that higher ABV which packs a bit more of a punch in a cocktail.
What differentiates Tennessee Whiskey from Bourbon is that the new make spirit – the clear first liquid – is filtrated with maple wood charcoal (carbon) before being aged in barrels. The maple wood charcoal is also made on site. The new make flows through the carbon over 7-12 days which, Mr Fletcher explains, removes the oiliness from the corn, settling that down and bring out the fruitier flavours of the new make.
The idea for a spirit forward, big and bold liquid emerged along with the global growth in cocktail culture.
Mr Fletcher says, “Our history and heritage co-exist with a culture of innovation and research at our distillery. Years of work and thought have gone into creating Bonded and I am excited to see what the people behind the bar can do with it.”
At Sydney’s Maybe Sammy’s last week, Drinks Trade was treated to a Lynchburg Lemonade on arrival – delicious, refreshing and went down the hatch very easily – while the Hound Dog Whisky Sour (pictured above right) and the Uptown Manhattan were also a hit with those invited along to celebrate the new release.
For one of the biggest brands and with sales in more than 170 countries, it seems assured that there’ll be a surge in the popularity of Manhattans and Whisky Sours in cocktail bars right around the world.