Jack Daniel’s Old No. 07 Review

Jack Daniels Old No 7 Review 3

I get why Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 is so popular. It’s not just a whiskey, it’s a symbol of rebellious freedom and doing things your own way. It’s as American as apple pie and has a very staunch division of fans and haters that’s all it’s own. It’s also a well oiled garage rock band of flavors that make it accessible for folks to drink and enjoy with their friends without breaking the bank. It’s very easy to see why this is a daily drinker for many Americans.

As a brand Jack Daniel’s has been around since 1875 and strangely enough it exists in a dry county which means that JD can be distilled there, but it can’t be consumed there so when taking a tour of the distillery the tasting at the end has to take place in the next county over. Another interesting tid bit is that like all Tennessee Whiskey Jack Daniels is technically bourbon.

Jack Daniels meets all of the requirements to be a bourbon but they add one more step to the process involving sugar maple charcoal called the Lincoln County Process. During this process the raw distillate (called new make) gets filtered through sugar maple charcoal or seeped with sugar maple charcoal chips prior to aging. This is what gives most Tennessee whiskeys their unique flavor profile and might be why they go so well with BBQ.

Overall, I’m not a huge fan of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, but I’m not really a hater either. The taste is like a standard bourbon with some charred notes floating around in it. I think Jack has it’s place in the pantheon of American Whiskey and is a great gateway to curiosity about better whiskey. I definitely drank a fair amount of it in my early twenties and it lead to my curiosity about what else was out there in the world of whiskey. It was one of the catalysts that led to my later whiskey obsession and for that it holds a special little place in my liver.

If you’ve had jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 let’s hear your thoughts or tasting notes in the comments below

Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Review

ABV: 40%
Price: $17 (750ml)
Distiller: Jack Daniels

EYE
Dark caramel

NOSE
The second you’re sniffing Jack you know you’re sniffing Jack. There is a very strong astringent Jack spice that comes up first and foremost. Under that strong ambiguous spice are hints of oily charcoal, maple, brown sugar, wood, some soft sweet grains and overripe citrus.

TASTE
The nose is altogether not too unpleasant. All tied together it’s not bad, but for me the taste is where it all falls apart. It starts with a strong medicinal caramel followed by some soot and burnt toffee. Swimming around in that glass are also some notes of imitation vanilla, burnt cherry pie and a slight yeastiness to it that reminds me a bit of Jim Beam white. Overall there is a strange chemically taste that runs through the whole thing. On the rocks it tightens up and brings out a bit more of the caramel.

FEEL
Oily with some burn and surprisingly dry considering it’s low proof.

FINISH
Caramel syrup fades to corn and oily wood. The aftertaste sticks around for quite a while giving it a very long finish.

SCORE: 82/100

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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34 Responses to Jack Daniel’s Old No. 07 Review

  1. Josh,

    I am a big fan of your tasting notes. Again I feel you are correct in JD. I too am not a fan nor hater of JD. I find a medicinal aspect to this no matter how I drink it. On the Ricks seems to tame it better. I think I find very little to complexity to it. This is a fine whiskey to have if you don’t need to think about it. I believe there are better , more complex whiskeys at this price range to enjoy.

    I always seem to agree with your perspective on the whiskies that you have tasted and I have had the pleasure to experience. Last night I tried Woodford reserve for the first time, and was extremely pleased wit it. I can’t wait to get a full bottle of it as I bought a 200ml this time.

    Keep up the great work! Looking forward to reading more terrific writing from you.

    Cheers
    Ortiz.

  2. Hey Josh. Great review. JD is one of those spirits that is hard to pin down. All my friends from Kentucky simply will not categorize it as a bourbon. But in the letter of the law, it’s a burboun with an added step. It’s truly its own bird that spawned its own category. Tennessee Whiskey. JD has its own mojo and mystique. Jackie Gleeson introduced a small time crooner named Frank Sinatra to it at a time when it was a hard to find craft spirit and he was its biggest supporter. He is buried with a flask of it.

    I find the taste very sweet/cinnamon like and very pleasant. Corn hits hard right off the bat as a burboun should, but JD adds a sweeter note with the Lincoln Co. Process. I see the medicine-like quality a lot of tasters attribute to it. It’s a taste that you either love or hate. To me it is sweet, but not too much so. The oakey notes cut the sweetness to my taste. It totally needs to be experienced on the rocks or mixed. Neat is, to my taste, where you get the burned caramel, oily taste you refer to. Back when it was 90proof ( in Frank’s day ) you could add a splash of water to tame the flavor. Just as adding a splash of water to scotch opens up the notes, I think the fact JD decided to do this on their own irritated a lot of fans (me included) and killed the mojo they had. It’s still my go to spirit, but if you get the chance to sample the Sinatra Select or Single Barrel bottles, it’s a very different experience. Original 90 proof like in Frank’s day. It’s like if you buy a mojito in a permix as opposed to getting one at a bar in Havana in 1955.

    Cheers!

    E-Train

  3. Like the review. I may be a bit weird, but I like to taste test the cheaper offerings after a top shelf pour.sounds silly, but makes you appreciate the simplicity of jack Daniels or Jim beam white label,or Evan Williams black. The high simple corn notes are great on those I mentioned. A jack and coke is a match made in heaven, maybe even a little too sweet. I prefer to drink neat these days and that’s where jack moved down the list. It’s not bad, but for the money it’s not as good as Jim beam or Evan Williams and is priced higher. Old #7 is a great drink for 20 somethings but I think as we mature and our taste mature you just don’t hold it to the high standard you might once have. That’s my 2 cents..don’t think too much it’s whiskey/bourbon either way!

    • Definitely. It’s something I’ve noticed a lot more once I started keeping track of all the whiskey I drink. The way tastes change and evolve as both myself and my palate mature over the years. Trying to go back to some of the stuff I drank in my early 20s (Crown Royal) is really rough.

      Cheers!

  4. Jack Daniels, The Budweiser of Whiskey. With this costing around $26 in my state, why in the world would I buy this when I can get Evan Williams BIB, Old Granddad BIB, Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey 101, Old Weller Antique or even the far better Tennessee product, George Dickel 12 for the same or LESS money. Heck, chip in $3 more and get the Elijah Craig 12(‘ish)Year or Henry McKenna Single Barrel. Keep some 50ml’s around to throw in a coke when the mood strikes, but don’t waste your money on a full bottle of this.

  5. Got my first bottle of Jack and like it fine. I find it an easy drinking mid-shelf bourbon with some char notes and banana taffy nuances. Shuda got the big bottle. Unique in a good way. As a Kentucky resident, I want to hate but that’s not the case.

  6. Jack Daniels, to me, tastes like my friend’s fake ID that got me my first bottle of whiskey when my parents finally went out of town during my senior year of high school. It tastes like a Jack and Coke that was something like 5 parts Jack to 1 part Coke because I had no idea. It tastes like John Johansson’s pickup truck in my driveway and who the hell is John Johansson – I really hope my neighbors don’t call the cops. It tastes like my senior trip to the hills in the southwest of this state and my best friend and me with our sleeping bags under the stars and frost in the morning. I actually haven’t had it in nigh 15 years but I can still taste it when I remember being a kid.

  7. This was one of my favorite whiskeys for a while, along with Old Grand Dad when it was 86 proof. My current “more sophisticated” palate still doesn’t find all that much wrong with it, it’s just not as interesting as it used to be. Like an old girlfriend, maybe. I still have one on occasion (a Jack Daniels, not an old girlfriend). One virtue is that it’s found in pretty much every bar in North America. If you happen to be traversing the wilds of Appalachia after a hard days fishing or hunting, and come to a bar with deer antlers as the main wall decor and Bud Light as their premium beer, they are almost certain to have a bottle of Jack Daniels in back of the bar. You will be glad it’s there because the alternatives will be Jim Beam and off brand bar whiskey.

    • I’m glad you made that distinction between the whiskey and ex-gfs 😉 This is one of those whiskeys I like to check in on every couple of years and I think I’m about due. cheers!

  8. I’ve been a fan of Irish whiskey and scotch for years, so I always get high end, usually expensive whiskeys.

    Just yesterday, out of boredom our nostalgia I bought a bottle just to try it. The nose immediately was of sweet honey and I thought huh. This is certainly the sweetest whiskey I have ever tasted. But I am not really a fan of, “sweet”.

    I will probably never buy it again but I can see it’s lure with the younger crowd. Not at all bad as the reviewer states. I don’t hate it, it’s just not my kind of taste.

  9. I get the feeling these days that Gentleman Jack is actually Jack Daniel’s Black just a marketing tool and Jack Daniel’s Black is something lower than it used to be. I think this is the truth with a lot of Bourbons since the huge growth in popularity among yuppies 4 bourbon. Just like Elijah Craig used to be 12 years old if it is now it doesn’t say it on the bottle. Used to consider it being cheap bourbon at least the middle of the road. It was a huge increase in popularity of bourbon iT’Z prices going up like all my favorites that used to be affordable.

  10. A work buddy of mine always asks what I’ve discovered in my drinking (whiskey AND/or beer). He was incredulous, after asking what I thought of Jack Daniel’s, when I answered I have never had “Jack”. So I promised to buy a mini bottle and give it a shot—no pun intended. My review of it goes very similar to yours, except for any “burnt” notes. It does have a chemical note at first tongue hit, then sweet sensation before it burns. Seems a bit harsh for 80 proof. Slight dash of water helps a little and reveals very little of the cherry pie you mentioned. Not sure if I would rate it as high as an 82. To me, maybe 79-80 as it’s more in the “meh” range. Benchmark 8 would be preferable to me.

    • Thanks for the note Murph, now it’s my turn to say I’ve never tried something. Benchmark 8 isn’t readily available in Los Angeles so it’s something I’ve never tried> I think I need to though, lots of people bring it up as, no pun intended, a benchmark bourbon.

  11. It’s pretty obvious when you get into trying whiskey/bourbon in this price range or lower that there are so many better options like someone stated before. Evan Williams BIB and Old Grandad BIB to name couple. Jack isn’t bad but there’s better for less money.

  12. Quality review. Curious to hear what aromas & flavours you pick up in Jack D. when tasted via this new Norlan glass – you seen those yet? A gamechanger in my books, from ol’ Jack I’m nosing candied pear, overripe bananas, hint of pineapple … flavourwise the toffee’s there but less soot and burn. I look forward to see what you make of it. Until then – skál! (Cheers in Icelandic)

  13. A jack and coke was the first whiskey product I ever drank. I ordered it because it was the only drink I knew to order. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the drink, and I quickly moved away to other whiskeys, etc…. I drank ol’no. 7 neat one time several years back and I did not like it. Since then, I have expanded my cabinet to include many quality bourbons and scotches: Booker’s, Four Roses, and Wild Turkey products being my favorites. Recently, I have been drinking Dickel 12 and decided to pick up another bottle of JD7 today for the heck of trying the “other Tennessee whiskey”. I found a bottle of the 86 proof 150th anniversary and to my amazement this evening, I thoroughly enjoy it. It’s thin and on the sweet side, with a short finish….however, I find I really appreciate the flavor of the whiskey neat without cola or other mixers. Though I like the Dickel 12, I find myself currently leaning towards this JD because of the slightly sweeter profile and the charred character. There just appears to be more flavor in the JD. I am surprised by this, but this is why we drink them. There are better bourbons for $25, but if you want the flavor of a Tennessee Whiskey, the old no. 7 will surprisingly take you for a charred brown sugar ride. Daily drinker….probably not, but an enjoyable trip for my tastebuds no less.

    Just goes to show you should evaluate every whiskey objectively based on its own merits; otherwise, you just might be missing out.

  14. So I spent most of the snowed-in weekend with Jack and Larceny. Two very different bottles, both by mashbill and proof delivering a completely different taste profile. Jack’s biggest drawback is in the volume of flavor. What’s there is good, but if we could turn it up a few notches…it would be a totally different experience. I will definitely have to check out the JD Single Barrel, Barrel Proof offering.

    • I 100% agree with what you’re saying. I’ve had some truly stunning barrel proof JD Single Barrels. I’ve also had some truly horrific ones. The JD single barrels, for me, have the biggest swing in quality in the SiB game I’ve come across.

  15. This whiskey is kinda fun and makes me feel old. Jack Daniels and Coke is a surefire way to get any high school or college party going. Don’t forget the red solo cups .

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